ISATA KANNEH-MASON | ‘ROMANCE’ A CELEBRATION OF WOMEN IN CLASSICAL MUSIC DEBUTS AT THE TOP OF THE CLASSICAL ARTIST CHART
Having hit the national headlines with the news of her signing to Decca Classics in the spring, 23-year-old pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason celebrates a magnificent feat with the news that her debut album Romance has shot to the top of the UK Official Classical Artist chart today – even more remarkably, Isata has yet to complete her postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music! The record heralds the 200th anniversary of Romantic composer Clara Schumann’s birth, which falls in September 2019, and is the first ever Clara Schumann record to chart at No. 1 in the Classical Artist chart.
Isata joined forces with conductor Holly Mathieson, violinist Elena Urioste and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra to record selected works by Clara, wife of Robert Schumann. One of the very few female concert pianists and composers of the nineteenth century, Clara’s influence on piano performance and on other composers of her day has been widely acknowledged; however, her own compositions are only now being discovered and appreciated more widely by critics and music historians.
Speaking from Napa, California, where she is currently performing with younger brother and fellow Decca artist Sheku, Isata said: “What a wonderful message to wake up to! I am overwhelmed by the news that my album has debuted at the top of the classical chart and want to extend my thanks to the team at Decca for their efforts in championing this project. I’m thrilled that the release elevates Clara’s remarkable music to a wider audience. The support of my incredible family and friends can’t be overstated, and I look forward to celebrating with you all very soon!”
On 13th September, Isata will perform at the gala reopening of the Schumann-Haus in Leipzig to mark the 200th anniversary of Clara Schumann’s birth. She will play pieces by the composer in front of special guests, who will get a first look at the newly-renovated house where Clara and Robert spent the first four years of their marriage. Isata will perform on the historic piano that Clara once played – built in 1866 by her cousin, Wilhelm Wieck. The performance is part of the official CLARA19 festivities taking place throughout the year in Leipzig, Clara’s birth town.
UK Performance highlights this summer include concerts alongside Sheku at Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh (7th August) and Snape Maltings (8th August), performing pieces by Beethoven, Lutoslawski, Debussy, Fauré and Mendelssohn. She will perform selected works from the new album at a lunchtime recital at King’s Place (29th September) alongside violinist Ellinor D’Melon. Isata will make her BBC Proms television presenting debut on 22nd August, introducing Prom 46 which features the CBSO, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, and Sheku.
Isata is currently completing her postgraduate studies with Carole Presland at the Royal Academy of Music and is signed to Enticott Music Management for worldwide general management, joining an esteemed roster of international artists. She competed in the final of the piano category at the 2014 BBC Young Musician competition, and performed with Sir Elton John in Los Angeles in 2013, having completed her undergraduate studies as an Elton John scholar at the Academy. Together with her brothers Sheku and Braimah, she performs internationally as the Kanneh-Mason Trio, and enjoys a successful and increasingly busy concert career as a solo artist, with concerto appearances, recitals and chamber concerts throughout the UK and abroad.