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Abel Selaocoe, cello

Sunday October 22, 2023 at 3:00pm

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Sunday October 22, 2023 at 3:00pm

Witness the extraordinary talent of genre-bending South African cellist Abel Selaocoe, whose programs seamlessly blend Western and non-Western musical traditions. Dedicated to broadening the horizons of classical music to reach a more diverse audience, his program will include works by Bach and Selaocoe alongside original free improvisations which combine his virtuosic solo cello playing with singing and body percussion, creating a musical experience like no other.  

Read his New York Times feature article here.

“Cellist, singer, composer, and collaborator, Selaocoe inhabits a captivating sphere of spontaneous, mercurial creativity.”
– BBC Music 

“Here’s a star in the making, a brilliant instrumentalist, an inventive singer, and an assured performer who can draw the audience into the palm of his hand, and then start playing it – getting us all to hum in C as he wove the Prelude from Bach’s Cello Suite 3 around us to thrilling effect. We’re going to hear a lot more from Abel Selaocoe.”
– The Arts Desk  

About the Artist

South African cellist Abel Selaocoe has established himself as a leading voice of reimagining classical music. Redefining the parameters of the cello, he moves seamlessly across a plethora of genres and styles, from collaborations with world and jazz musicians, to concertos and solo performances. Selaocoe combines virtuosic performance with improvisation, singing, and body percussion, and is devoted to composing works and curating programs that highlight the links between Western and non-Western musical traditions, broadening the horizons of classical music to reach a more diverse audience. In 2023 he was awarded the RPS Instrumentalist Award for his performances and collaborations which “blaze with creation, sending audiences home on a high.”  

Selaocoe thrives in exploratory settings, developing new projects with contemporaries, and enjoys close collaborations with musicians from a medley of genres, including Bernhard Schimpelsberger, Seckou Keita, Manchester Collective, Giovanni Sollima, Dudù Kouaté, and Nduduzo Makhathini. In 2016, Selaocoe formed Chesaba — a trio specializing in music from the African continent, including many of his own compositions — and in 2022 he formed the Bantu Ensemble who perform his music widely.   

Selaocoe is Artistic Partner of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Artist-in-Association with both the BBC Singers and BBC National Orchestra of Wales, performing with each several times across the season. Selaocoe also continues to perform his solo cello concerto Four Spirits widely in 2023-24 with performances with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra at EFG London Jazz Festival, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and Philharmonie Zuidnederlands.   

In 2023-24 he makes his debut at Caramoor, Edinburgh International Festival, Wiener Konzerthaus, Luxembourg Philharmonie, Konzerthaus Berlin, and with Sphinx Virtuosi, alongside returns to Carnegie Hall, Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, de Singel Antwerp, Britten Sinfonia, and tours to the US with Manchester Collective and to the UK and Europe with his Bantu Ensemble. 

Selaocoe completed his International Artist Diploma at the Royal Northern College of Music in July 2018. In May 2021, he was announced as an inaugural Power Up Music Creator participant in PRS Foundation’s new initiative to address anti-Black racism and racial disparities in the music sector. In July 2021, he received a Paul Hamlyn Foundation award for his compositional work.  

Abel Selaocoe is an exclusive recording artist with Warner Classics. 

To learn more about him, please visit abelselaocoe.com.