On May 19, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will finally tie the knot. Every detail of the royal wedding is sure to be beautiful, including the music. And when it comes to one musician in particular, the cellist at the royal wedding made history before even performing at this historical event. His name is Sheku Kanneh-Mason and he was named BBC's Young Musician of the Year in 2016. The classical music prodigy was the first black winner of the competition since its founding 38 years ago.
After winning Young Musician of the Year, Kanneh-Mason continued to break records He debuted his first full-length album, Inspiration, in January 2018. According to the BBC, the release was number one on the classical charts and debuted at number 18 on the UK albums chart, making him the youngest cellist to ever make it into the countdown.
The announcement that Kanneh-Mason had been selected was shared by Kensington Palace on Twitter in April. The post noted that Prince Harry saw Kanneh-Mason perform in London as part of an event for the Halo Foundation, an Antiguan charity. Harry was likely involved in the decision, but it was Markle who delivered the message to the cellist. "I’m so excited and honoured to perform at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding," the 19-year-old tweeted in response to the news. "I was bowled over when Ms Markle called me to ask if I would play during the ceremony, and of course I immediately said yes!!! What a privilege. I can’t wait!"
According to the Royal Family's official website, Markle and Prince Harry both put a lot of effort into choosing the musical guests to perform at the wedding service at St. George's Chapel. The music will be supervised by James Vivian, the director of music for the venue and leader of the Choir of St. George's Chapel. In addition to Kanneh-Mason playing the cello, Karen Gibson and the Kingdom Choir, Baroque singer Elin Manahan Thomas, trumpeter David Blackadder, and many more will perform.
Kanneh-Mason will be prepared for the high-stakes performance, as he has a lifetime of experience. He attends the Royal Academy of Music, according to his family's site, and has six musical siblings. According to the Royal Family's site, he's also passionate advocate for classical music accessibility. And on top of that, he is the Junior Ambassador for London Music Masters, a music education charity.
The cellist is also used to being in the spotlight. In 2015, he competed on Britains Got Talent with his siblings as a classical group called the Kanneh-Masons. In 2017, he performed a rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" during an in memoriam at the BAFTA awards. According to Classic fm, he was the first musician to be invited to perform at the event twice, returning the BAFTAs for a second year in February, where he performed "Evening of Roses" with four of his siblings.
In addition to these prominent television and live performances, he's also a highly decorated musician. He was the winner of the Duet Young Instrumentalist award from the Royal Philharmonic Society in 2016, and won the Times Breakthrough Artist award at the Sky Arts Awards in London in 2017, according to IMG Artists.
The Royal Wedding will begin with a traditional ceremony at St. George's Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle. It's here that the selected musicians will play, including Kanneh-Mason. The newlyweds then have a mile-long procession to greet the public, and will attend a reception with close family and friends at Frogmore House.
Many details of the royal wdding has been picked specially by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. From the flowers to the cake, the couple have personalized each piece of the ceremony and reception. This includes the music, and Kanneh-Mason is sure to be just as mesmerizing at the ceremony as he was the first time Prince Harry saw him perform.