Sheku Kanneh-Mason has been presented with the 1610 Amati cello he played in BBC Young Musician of the Year.
Kanneh-Mason collected the instrument from Florian Leonhard’s London workshop earlier this week, describing it as ‘a dream come true’.
Made in Cremona in 1610 by Antonius and Hieronymus Amati, the instrument was secured by Leonhard, and is on permanent loan to Kanneh-Mason.
‘I immediately fell in love with this cello in the spring and I am thrilled,’ Kanneh-Mason said. ‘I can hardly believe that I can continue to develop my relationship with this cello, making the sound more completely my own over time. This is a cello that will grow with me and respond to what I need to express and I could not be more happy and excited.’
Leonhard, who picked the instrument for Kanneh-Mason’s Young Musician performances, said: ‘It is so rare that we’re able to facilitate such a perfect pairing with the help of a generous anonymous sponsor based in London.
‘Sheku is something extremely special and is the most exciting young star we’ve come across – just pure talent and musicality. The cello is also very special. It was made well before Stradivari’s time and despite being over four centuries old, is still the ultimate instrument for a virtuoso soloist.’