Broadcast – BBC4 explores ethnic diversity in classical music

BBC4 has ordered a documentary looking at the issues of diversity in classical music featuring BBC Young Musician winner Sheku Kanneh-Mason.

Hour-long doc Young, Gifted and Classical was commissioned by head of music TV commissioning Jan Younghusband for BBC4 channel editor Cassian Harrison and produced by Outline Productions.

17-year-old cellist Kanneh-Mason wowed audiences at the grand finale of the BBC classical music competition earlier this year and was the first black winner of the competition.

The documentary will follow Kanneh-Mason and his six musically gifted brothers and sisters in the aftermath of the competition. The seven children will discuss their dedication to classical music and the programme will look more widely at the family dynamic.

Young, Gifted and Classical also shines a light on the Chinese Foundation, which was founded by Chi-Chi Nwanoku, and follows the Chineke! Orchestra as it prepares for a special concert at the Royal Festival Hall, London.

It is produced by Outline’s director of programmes Bridget Boseley and directed by Eddie Hutton-Mills.

BBC Arts and Music executive producer Emma Cahusac said: “Sheku’s virtuosity and his family’s amazing musical achievements along with their grit, determination and passion will make for a fascinating programme to follow-on from BBC Young Musician.

“We’re also absolutely committed to exploring pertinent issues about diversity within classical music which will be touched upon within this documentary as part of our wider Black and British season.”

The observational documentary will air in November as part of major new season, Black and British.

Other programmes in the season include David Olusoga’s documentary series A Black History Of Britain that explores what it means to be black and successful in Britain.

It also features Roots Reggae, Rasta & Rebellion with British rapper, poet and cultural commentator Akala telling the story of a golden period in Jamaica’s musical history and its influence on the UK.

By Hannah Gannage-Stewart