Diversity of classical music industry to be explored in new BBC Four documentary

Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the first black winner of BBC Young Musician, will appear in the new programme.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason, winner of BBC Young Musician.

BBC Four has announced a new documentary exploring issues of diversity and access in classical music. 

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In Young, Gifted and Classical (working title), audiences will follow the family of Sheku Kanneh-Mason in the aftermath of the grand finale of BBC Young Musician 2016, in which the 17-year-old cellist became the first black winner of the competition.

Though Sheku Kanneh-Mason's parents come from a modest background, and had no professional music experience, their seven children are all gifted musicians who perform to an extremely high level. The Kanneh-Masons were founder members of the junior and professional Chineke! orchestras founded by Chi-chi Nwanoku, which provide a performance platform for black musicians, and in 2015 competed as a family in ITV's Britain's Got Talent. (below)


'We want to be honest about the challenges to be faced by parents and children in pursuing the goal of becoming successful musicians,' said Sheku's mother, Kadiatu. 'These challenges are financial as well as cultural and we hope this programme can celebrate what our young people can achieve.'

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Young, Gifted and Classical is part of the major new 'Black and British' season on the BBC and will be broadcast later this year.