Published On: Thu, Jun 14th, 2018

Classic Brit Awards: Royal wedding cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason wins

Teenage cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason has followed his performance at the royal wedding in May by winning two prizes at this year’s Classic Brit Awards.

The 19-year-old won male artist of the year and the critics’ choice award.

Dame Vera Lynn, 101, said she was “thrilled” to receive a lifetime achievement award, which her daughter accepted on her behalf.

Michael Ball and Alfie Boe were named group of the year and their LP Together Again was voted album of the year.

The ceremony – hosted by Classic FM presenters Myleene Klass and Alexander Armstrong – returned to the Royal Albert Hall after a five-year hiatus.

Other winners included Tokio Myers and Renee Fleming, while Andrew Lloyd Webber and Andrea Bocelli received accolades for their services to the industry.

The performers included mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins, in her first televised performance since the birth of her second child.

Kanneh-Mason’s rise follows the surprise crossover success of his debut album Inspiration.

The Nottingham-born star made history in 2016 when he became the first black winner of the BBC Young Musician competition.

Former Britain’s Got Talent winner Tokio Myers, who was named breakthrough artist of the year, said he hoped his win would inspire young people to “explore a side of music they might not normally listen to for themselves”.

Renée Fleming won female artist of the year for her involvement in the Broadway revival of the musical Carousel, while The Greatest Showman was named best soundtrack.

Brit Awards chief executive Geoff Taylor expressed pride at the diversity of the winners.

“It’s wonderful to see great icons such as Dame Vera Lynn and Andrea Bocelli being rightly honoured but also very encouraging to witness a new wave bristling with talent.

“With such exciting new artists, classic music is evolving and embracing the opportunities that the streaming era offers to connect with new fans.”

Icons honoured

Speaking to BBC South East Today about her lifetime award, Dame Vera said it was “lovely” to still be acknowledged after “all these years”.

She expressed surprise because it has been a long time since she has done any singing.

“That’s something from the past unfortunately, but it’s still nice to know that I’m remembered,” she said.

Bocelli and Lord Lloyd-Webber were both also recognised for their services to the industry.

The Italian was awarded the icon award for his 20-year career and thanked the UK for its “benevolence” toward him.

Lord Lloyd-Webber, meanwhile, received the special recognition award for musical theatre and education.

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Classic Brit Awards: Royal wedding cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason wins