Posted: Friday, May 18, 2018 – 4:31 PM
(CNS) – The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra had been counting on cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason to be the guest soloist when it performs at the Alex Theatre in Glendale this weekend, but the 19-year-old British virtuoso got a better offer — from Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.
The cellist studies at the Royal Academy of Music, and last summer Prince Harry was impressed watching Kanneh-Mason perform in London. The royal couple requested Kanneh-Mason for their wedding Saturday.
“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,” Kanneh-Mason said in a statement from Kensington Palace. “What a privilege to be able to play the cello at such a wonderful event. I can’t wait!”
LACO executive director Scott Harrison says the orchestra is disappointed but understands.
“I was sad for a moment, but I was also thrilled for him,” Harrison said in remarks reported by the Los Angeles Times. “It’s such a moment for him and he’s such a wonderful musician. But more importantly, it’s such a great moment for the classical music world. This kind of visibility on a global stage for classical music is great for all of us.”
Joshua Roman will take Kanneh-Mason’s place, performing as soloist for the first Shostakovich Cello Concerto. The program, which will repeat Sunday evening at UCLA’s Royce Hall, also includes Vivaldi’s Concerto Grosso and the world premiere of L.A. composer Derrick Spiva Jr.’s “From Here a Path,” The Times reported.
Kanneh-Mason will now make his U.S. orchestral debut with the Seattle Symphony this fall. LACO is rescheduling with Kanneh-Mason for its 2019-20 season.