Who is Jeneba Kanneh-Mason? 5 things to know about the young pianist

16 May 2024
By Ellie Palmer
The 22-year-old graces the new June/July cover of Pianist, but how much do you know about her? Let's get to know her!

1. She is one of SEVEN siblings

Does the ‘Kanneh-Mason’ name ring a bell with you? If it does, it might be because Jeneba’s brother Sheku, a cellist, became a household name almost overnight in 2018 when he played at the Royal wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. His performance was seen by 1.9 billion people around the globe.

Jeneba has 4 sisters; Isata (piano), Konya (piano and violin), Aminata (violin and piano) and Mariatu (cello and piano), and 2 brothers; Braimah (violin) and Sheku (cello). All are exceptionally gifted musicians. Since 2018, the siblings have grown and gone from strength to strength.

Back row from left to right: Sheku, Aminata, Kadiatu (mother), Braimah, Stuart (father), Jeneba

Front row from left to right: Konya, Isata, Mariatu


In 2020, the siblings released their first collaborative album together. Carnival was released on Decca Classics and also featured a very special collaboration between Academy Award-winning actor Olivia Colman and children’s author Michael Morpurgo.


2. She isn’t the first Kanneh-Mason sibling to appear on the cover of Pianist

Back in Oct/Nov 2019, we had another Kanneh-Mason pianist on our cover.

Older sister Isata graced that cover of Pianist when she was 23 years old. Inside, she spoke about her debut album Romance.

Fast forward four-and-a-half years and she has since released two more critically-acclaimed albums on Decca Classics, and has performed at some of the biggest venues across the world.

Jeneba's older sister, Isata, appeared on the cover of Pianist back in 2019


Content continues after advertisements

3. She currently studies under the tutelage of Vanessa Latarche

At the time of writing, Jeneba is currently studying at the Royal College of Music where she holds the Victoria Robey Scholarship. Head of Keyboard, Vanessa Latarche, is her teacher.

In her Pianist interview, Jeneba comments, “[Latarche’s teaching is] very detailed. We talk a lot about character and articulation, and I’m never allowed to play passively. She’s teaching me to play with a lot more passion as well!”


4. She made her Proms debut as a teenager

In 2021, Jeneba made her BBC Proms debut at the Royal Albert Hall… at the age of just 19! She performed Florence Price’s Concerto in One Movement with the Chineke! Orchestra under the baton of the Kalena Bovell.

Jeneba at the 2021 ©BBC Proms

She certainly made an impression. London’s Evening Standard newspaper said “she proved an eloquent advocate for the piece with her sensitive yet alert playing.”

The full performance isn't available online, but you can see a snippet of it here.


5. She has just signed her first recording contract with Sony Classical

In April, Sony announced they had signed Jeneba and also announced her debut album. Her first album on the label will be recorded later this year and released in Spring 2025. The recording will include juxtaposing works by Frédéric Chopin, Claude Debussy and Alexander Scriabin with music by under-represented composers Margaret Bonds, Florence Price and William Grant Still.

Jeneba commented, "I am so happy and honoured to join the prestigious roster of artists at Sony Classical.  I can’t remember a time when classical music wasn’t an integral part of my life, and I am a huge advocate for its positive influences and ability to really connect with such a wide range of people.

"The piano repertoire is enormous and I’m excited to be able to explore it, discovering the old, the new, and to perform pieces by more women, as well as black and minority ethnic composers."

Main image: ©Johanna Berghorn/Sony Classical


Jeneba Kanneh-Mason stars on the cover of the new June/July issue of Pianist, out on 17 May.