The Kanneh-Mason Ensemble – 7th February 2020


Image by Marian Pearson. More images below.

Audience comments:
‘What a privilege to hear such outstanding young musicians.’

‘A fabulous bunch – what an extraordinary performance from all five. The talent is unbelievable and it’s amazing to see them all encouraging each other! Wonderful!’

‘Magnificent: an inspiration to all budding performers. A wonderful evening!’

‘Our first time at one of your concerts – what a fab experience!!’

‘Absolutely brilliant! Nothing more to be said!’

Review by Clive Davies:
It was as if the Kanneh-Mason ensemble were returning to a familiar stage when they stepped out before a large and hugely receptive audience at the Outwood Academy, Foxhills. In fact the brother and his four sisters were making their debut appearance at the Scunthorpe and North Lincolnshire Concert Society. Then why the instant ease and rapport? Perhaps it was because members of this famous family are frequently to be glimpsed on TV or heard on the radio. Equally, it might be that the Society retains the fondest memory of when Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason performed here. Perhaps the younger siblings were instantly welcomed because the Society counts itself as “a friend of the family”.


The musicians lost no time in consolidating this special relationship. Aminata with Jeneba opened the proceedings with an ebullient reading of the first movement of Beethoven’s violin and piano Spring Sonata, followed briskly by movements from Prokofiev’s Sonata No 2, with Braimah, which demonstrated the sensitivity and virtuosity of the performers.



It almost defies credulity to imagine a family where seven children – say again, SEVEN – should be so richly gifted and blessed with the ability to communicate their delight in making music.

Each of the players introduced themselves brightly as they made their successive entrances, and all were wreathed in the warmest of smiles as they acknowledged the applause.


What each and all brought to their performance was a zeal, or a relish, that radiated to every corner of a capacity crowd in an overflowing auditorium. It would be somewhat invidious to nominate particular highlights in a programme so varied and so enriched with individual excellence, for this was very much an ensemble presentation, as evidence by the care and solicitude displayed by the players. Some listeners will treasure the recollection of Braimah’s mastery in the Prokofiev; also to be savoured was Jeneba’s beguiling account of a Granadoa Goyesca, or Konya’s startling virtuosity in Mendelssohn’s Variations Sérieuse and the Brahms B minor Rhapsody.


Aminata led the line boldly in Haydn’s hoppity-skip Gypsy Rondo (a pulse that was echoed when all five members reassembled for an encore and played Monti’s Czardas) and not a heart in the building did not beat faster and warmer to meet ten-year-old Mariatu, bearing a cello almost as large as herself and playing with the zest and assurance of a senior student.


There were other delights in the programme, including some boisterous Saint-Saens, measures of contemplative Massenet, Chopin studies, a Fauré Elegie and Frank Bridge’s vivacious Valse Russe. It is to be expected that these younger Kanneh-Masons will follow
the course of their older siblings and embark on glittering musical careers.. They will be very fondly remembered in Scunthorpe, meanwhile, for the visit where they brought sparkling music and a mood of sheer joy – joy untrammelled and unconfined.