Classical music sensation Jeneba Kanneh-Mason to make Harrogate International Sunday Series debut

Former Festival young musician Ashley Wass is now the Director of the Yehudi Menhuin school

Pianist Jeneba Kanneh-Mason will be making her Harrogate debut this month, on Sunday 26 February, three years after her cellist brother, Sheku, accompanied by sister Isata, wowed the spa town audience.

The 20-year-old will be taking to the Harrogate International Sunday Series stage on February 26, performing a selection of works by Shostakovich, Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Prokofiev, as well as an exclusive performance of Florence Price’s Fantasie Negre for the recital.

Hosted by Harrogate International Festivals and staged in the Old Swan Hotel, the Sunday Series “coffee concerts” have been an annual fixture on the spa town’s classical music calendar since 1991.

Jeneba, the fifth of seven musically-gifted siblings and the third to establish herself as a soloist, is a former Classic FM rising star, was a Keyboard Category Finalist in BBC Young Musician 2018, winner of the Murs du Son Prize at the Lagny-Sur-Marne International Piano Competition in France, 2014, and The Nottingham Young Musician 2013.

She is also winner of the Iris Dyer Piano Prize at The Royal Academy of Music, Junior Academy, where she studied with Patsy Toh, who, along with Vanessa Latarche she credits as being a “great inspiration to me throughout my journey as a pianist”. She currently studies at the Royal College of Music, where she holds the Victoria Robey Scholarship and studies with Vanessa.

Her biggest achievement to date, she says, is playing Florence Price’s piano concerto in one movement at the proms in 2021 with the Chineke! Orchestra, which was heralded by the press as ‘demonstrating musical insight, technical acuity, and an engaging performing persona’, (MusicOMH)

Of the programme she has chosen for her Harrogate appearance, Jeneba said: “This programme has a large range of repertoire – from Prokofiev and Beethoven to Shostakovich.

“The individual pieces in the Romeo and Juliet show the importance of story-telling in music, which is something I am drawn to.”

Her brother and sister were the last performers to appear at Harrogate International Festivals in 2020 before lockdown devastated the arts world, and Jeneba admits it was not an easy time for her.

“It was difficult to not have live audiences in Lockdown. I think many musicians struggled to start performing again when the restrictions were lifted, as it became more nerve racking to play in front of people again.”

Praising the work of Harrogate International Festivals in giving young musicians a platform, Jeneba said: Festivals contribute hugely to the development of a young musician’s career. It is a great way to have as many opportunities to perform and play to friendly and local audiences.”

Jeneba’s delightful chamber programme comprises of Shostakovich’s Prelude and Fugue in D major; Prokofiev’s 10 Pieces from Romeo and Juliet, Op. 75; Mendelssohn’s Rondo Capriccioso, Op. 14 in E major; Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 7 in D major, and Florence Price’s Fantasie Negre No.1 in E minor.

Tickets can be purchased via our website here or through the Box Office on 01423 562303.