MUSICFEST Aberystwyth 2018 opened with a bang when 800 people crowded into the Great Hall at the town’s arts centre.
Cambrian News reported “The audience was there to hear Orion Orchestra, Lisa Nelsen, Simon Lane and Sheku Kanneh-Mason play four major works.
The excitement surrounding the appearance of the ‘Royal Cellist’ – Sheku recently performed at Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle – was well-founded.
His spellbinding performance of Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C brought the audience to its feet, cheering. He then delighted with a beautiful little encore solo of his own composition.
Despite the clamour for selfies and autographs, and the adoring reaction of audiences across the world, Sheku is without any vanity, and behaves as if his music was ordinary. For him, perhaps it is, even though audiences find it extraordinary.
After the concert, flute soloist Lisa Nelsen said: “Huge credit to the conductor, Toby Purser, for creating such a cohesive unity with players drawn together from across the country.”
Sponsor Carol Nixon said: “I had been dreaming about this concert for nearly two years. I was not disappointed!
“Together, Amy Tress, Will Newell, Alistair Vennart and Stephanie Tress formed The Solem Quartet, which had an important role in this year’s Musicfest, including the performances of three world premieres of works composed specially for them. Lisa Nelsen and Sheku were both soloists in the opening concert.”
Carol added: “Musicfest brings the world to Aberystwyth. This year we welcomed 17 nationalities to the Summer School, brought together by the international language of music. And yet we also had local people in abundance – truly a case of the world beating a path to this small town at the Western extremity of the known world… as it might seem to armchair travellers” here.