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The world’s biggest classical music stars in concert
Teenage cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason will perform at the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 19 – and 12 months later he'll be headlining at Birmingham Town Hall. The 19-year-old from Nottingham plays a solo recital in Brum on May 16, 2019.
Royal appointment: Sheku Kanneh-Mason (pic: Lars Borges)
Sheku, who records for the Decca Classics label, won the BBC Young Musician of the Year contest in 2016 and performed at the 2017 British Academy Film Awards at London's Royal Albert Hall. This year he broke a UK chart record, scoring the biggest-selling British debut of the year to date with his classical album, Inspiration.
The concert is one of the highlights of the recently announced classical season at Birmingham's Symphony Hall and Town Hall. It boasts 18 Birmingham debut performances by international orchestras.
On February 19, 2019, the Symphony Orchestra of India will perform in the UK for the first time since their founding in 2006, in an evening that culminates in Rimsky-Korsakov's classic retelling of The Thousand and One Nights with all its glittering splendour and gorgeous colour. Adding to the occasion, tabla master Zakir Hussain also appears, making a long-awaited return to Birmingham to perform his 2015 Peshkar, a tabla concerto commissioned by India's National Centre of Performing Arts.
Debut: Symphony Orchestra of India
Amsterdam-based Amatis Trio visit Birmingham for the first time on June 25, 2019, to breathe new life into Haydn, Shostakovich and Brahms, as well as a new commission by Swedish composer Andrea Tarrodi. Other artists featuring as part of the ECHO Rising Star's season include Quatour Arod on November 26, 2018. In 2019 there will be concerts by cellist Kian Soltani on February 5, BBC Young Musician of the Year 2008 trombonist Peter Moore on March 5, harpist Anaïs Gaudemard on April 2 and baritone Josep-Ramon Olivé on May 14.
On February 27, 2019, Birmingham Town Hall welcomes the world's first professional ensemble of disabled musicians, The British Paraorchestra, who are collaborating with integrated circus company Extraordinary Bodies. With semi-improvised movement, aerial flying and physical theatre, Terry Riley's minimalist Masterpiece In C will be reimagined as the union of two very different disciplines. Extraordinary Bodies will take cues from Riley's impulsive and slow-morphing cornerstone minimalist composition, resulting in a hypnotic showcase of physical and mental dexterity.
Collaboration: The British Paraorchestra
Born without his right hand, pianist Nicholas McCarthy will share his talent with the Birmingham Town Hall audience for the first time on April 30, 2019. His graduation from the Royal College of Music in 2012 made press headlines around the world and he has subsequently performed extensively throughout the UK and internationally. Piano music for the left hand first came into being in the early 19th Century and developed rapidly following the First World War as a result of the many injuries suffered on the battlefield. As a champion of this repertoire, McCarthy's programme includes original works like Scriabin's Prelude and Nocturne Op 9, alongside transcriptions by Frédéric Meinders and McCarthy himself.
Talent: Nick McCarthy
Richard Hawley, Head of Artistic Programming, says: "In addition to providing seasoned attenders with a wealth of distinguished music, it is ever important to provide a relevant and accessible programme for new audiences. Birmingham is the youngest city in Europe and more ethnically diverse than London. This season is ambitious in attempting to reflect that with a range of astounding young and multi-cultural artists."