15 Sep 2019
January 2, 2017 - Filed under: Antiques News — Harriet

Sheku Kanneh-Mason, aged 17, has been given an antique cello on permanent loan, by an anonymous benefactor.

The rare cello, made by Amati, was initially played by the young musician at the final of the BBC Young Musician of the Year, a competition which he won. The second time he played the cello was at the Royal Festival Hall, when Florian Leonhard, an instrument dealer in north London, loaned it to him. However, a secret benefactor is believed to have paid a six-figure sum for the cello, before handing it to the school boy, through Leonhard’s company, on a permanent basis.

The rare instrument dates back to 1610, when it was made by the Amati family, who are famous Italian makers of musical instruments. The Amati family are famously known for the quality of their instruments. One violin made by the family was recently bought for around £500,000 at auction. Sheku said that having the instrument handed back to him on permanent loan was “a dream come true”.

Julian Lloyd Webber, conductor, describes Sheku as the world’s “best young cellist”. Sheku was thrilled to be able to play the cello, and credits the work of Florian Leonhard for being given the opportunity. Leonhard describes Sheku as “one of the most exciting young stars we have come across”, and says that being in the audience as he plays is “pure musicality”.

To maintain the condition and security of the cello, Sheku may be considering buying an antique cabinet, so that the instrument will be protected from damage.

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