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Romance: The piano music of Clara Schumann

Pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason has debuted at the top of the UK Official Classical Artist Chart with her album Romance, which is devoted to the music of Clara Schumann, born 200 years ago.

Isata Kanneh-Mason Clara Schumann piano pianist music

A postgraduate student at London’s Royal Academy of Music, Isata Kanneh-Mason has embarked on a successful and increasingly busy concert career as a solo artist, with concerto appearances, solo recitals and chamber concerts throughout the UK and abroad. Kanneh-Mason also continues to perform with her siblings, including regular duo recitals with her brother, the cellist, Sheku Kanneh-Mason. 
     She also has four younger sisters and happily embraces the role of championing a strong female voice in classical music. ‘What struck me most about Clara Schumann is her incredible strength,’ she says. ‘Not only did she manage to sustain a long and demanding concert career (almost unheard of for a woman during her time!), she also raised a large family and dealt with inconceivable tragedies. I also come from a big family, and I am lucky to have been surrounded by many strong and inspiring women throughout my life.’
     At the heart of Kanneh-Mason’s debut release with Decca Classics is Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto, written when she was 14 and which she premiered with Leipzig’s Gewandhausorchester, conducted by Felix Mendelssohn.

In addition to the Piano Concerto (recorded with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic under New Zealander Holly Mathieson), the album contains solo piano works, including the G minor Piano Sonata, and the three Romances for violin and piano, Op 22 for which Kanneh-Mason is joined by the former BBC New Generation Artist Elena Urioste. The record is the first-ever Clara Schumann record to chart at No. 1 in the Classical Artist chart.
     Upon receiving the news of her chart success, Kanneh-Mason commented: ‘I am overwhelmed by the news that my album has debuted at the top of the classical chart and want to extend my thanks to the team at Decca for their efforts in championing this project. I’m thrilled that the release elevates Clara’s remarkable music to a wider audience. The support of my incredible family and friends can’t be overstated, and I look forward to celebrating with you all very soon!’
     Dr Alexander Buhr, Managing Director of Decca Classics, commented that ‘Isata is an immensely talented pianist with remarkable musicality and a curious mind, always ready to explore new musical horizons. We are very happy to welcome her to the Decca Classics family with this project celebrating one of the greatest women in music history.’

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