The Royal Academy of Music Appoints Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason as Visiting Professor

As an alumni of the school, Sheku Kanneh-Mason will serve as its first Menuhin Visiting Professor of Performance Mentoring

(Photo credit: Jake Turney)


Kanneh-Mason begins his new role as Menuhin Visiting Professor of Performance Mentoring in September 2022 and joins the Academy’s roster of pedagogues — including Lorenza Borrani, James Ehnes, Steven Isserlis and Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider.

In the role, Kanneh-Mason will visit the Academy each year and will work with students at undergraduate, postgraduate and diploma levels to encourage and develop practical skills.

Initially, Kanneh-Mason will work with students on building confidence and spontaneity, in addition to improvisation techniques and tools for arranging and transcribing.

Kanneh-Mason will also give advice on spending effective and efficient time in the rehearsal room, eventually joining students for performance projects.

Sheku joined the Royal Primary Academy at age nine and continued as a junior, undergraduate and advanced diploma student. He studied with Hannah Roberts since 2017.

Within his acclaimed career, he won BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2016, becoming the first black musician to win the competition. In 2018, Sheku played at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and was then awarded an MBE in the 2020 New Year Honours for Services to Music.

"Sheku’s ingenuity, open-hearted communication, and experience as a young artist on the international stage will make him an inspirational and energetic guide and we’re delighted to welcome him to the Academy in this new role," said the Academy’s Head of Strings, Jo Cole.

"It is incredibly exciting to be starting this new role at the Royal Academy of Music," commented Sheku Kanneh-Mason. "The Academy is a place that has really shaped my musical development for so many years, from being a student at Primary and Junior Academy, through to undergraduate and advanced diploma programmes.

"It is such an honour to be invited to work with students on different aspects of performance. During my time as a student, I have had the chance to explore so much in terms of the classical solo repertoire, chamber music and collaborations with a wide variety of artists, as well as composing and arranging for my instrument. I hope to encourage students to be open, interesting and rounded musicians."

"It is also a massive honour to have this position named after one of my greatest inspirations, Yehudi Menuhin," he added. "I have always admired not only his incredibly expressive violin playing, but also his openness, interest in and dedication to a wide range of music, arts, education and wider social issues."