Meet the original Kanneh-Masons

18 Jul 2019

With the launch of new RPS Membership comes the opportunity to hear the inspirational story behind Britain's most remarkable musical family.

New RPS Membership brings a range of benefits not previously offered. Central to this is a new series of talks and events featuring personalities devoted to classical music, sharing in their own words why classical music matters. In this, we want to reflect all aspects of musical life, giving a platform to unsung heroes as well as celebrated artists – all playing their part in making Britain ‘philharmonic’.

Launching this new series, RPS Chief Executive James Murphy talks to the inspirational Kadiatu and Stuart Kanneh-Mason, two humble parents from Nottingham who wanted their children to enjoy music and play an instrument. It was a modest aspiration, like many parents nationwide, and they couldn’t have imagined where it would lead. Today, their seven children are all remarkable musicians. Their 20-year-old son Sheku famously played the cello at the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and topped charts internationally with his debut disc, after winning BBC Young Musician in 2016. His elder sister Isata releases her debut disc of Clara Schumann’s piano music on Decca this month. Their younger siblings are excelling too, appearing in concerts individually and together across the country.

While the children are usually in the spotlight, this is a unique chance to hear the remarkable story of the parents behind it all. Though not musicians themselves, Kadiatu and Stuart talk insightfully about music in their own childhood and why they wanted their own children to be musical. They offer invaluable advice to parents seeking inspiration for ways to get their own children to practice. They also talk candidly about the enduring importance of music education and all it does for young minds.

As our first talk, we are sharing a large part of it for everyone to enjoy, to give you a flavour of what’s to come from RPS Membership.

If you’d like to watch the complete unedited talk, and enjoy more like it in the months to come, you can find out more about how to become an RPS Member and all it offers. In the coming months, our events include such artists as Sir Thomas Allen and conductor John Wilson, Dame Sarah Connolly and harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani, Sir John Tomlinson and soprano Nadine Benjamin, in conversation with each other; Nicola Benedetti CBE giving a major speech on music education in Britain; and a host of performers – including baritone Roderick Williams OBE and pianist Joanna MacGregor CBE, and tenor Nicky Spence and pianist Iain Burnside – inviting you into the rehearsal room to reveal how music finds its way from the score to the stage. Next month we’ll also be releasing online an inspirational talk from teacher Jimmy Rotheram on transforming a Yorkshire primary school with the power of music.


Leslie East, Chairman of Association of British Choral Directors; Chairman of City Music Society: I support the RPS because it believes in supporting young musicians early in their careers.


The RPS is over 200 years old, founded in 1813 ‘to promote the performance, in the most perfect manner possible, of the best and most approved instrumental music'.