Program Notes: Abel Selaocoe
Sunday, March 13, 2022
Bing Concert Hall
Abel Selaocoe, cello
About the Show
The captivating and prodigiously talented South African cellist transcends most definitions of classical music while adhering firmly to its tenets. Collaborating with orchestras, beatboxers, South African artists, and contemporary and traditional chamber ensembles as well as performing as a solo artist and the leader of his trio, Chesaba, Selaocoe’s vast repertoire links Western and non-Western musical traditions. From the nuances of Bach, Debussy, and Shostakovich to the vibrancy of Chesaba’s Ka Bohaleng to his versatility as a vocalist, Selaocoe is a young musician whose curiosity is equaled only by his unfolding talent.
This performance is generously supported by Jeanne and Larry Aufmuth.
PROGRAM SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Please be considerate of others and turn off all phones, pagers, and watch alarms. Photography and recording of any kind are not permitted. Thank you.
HEALTH AND SAFETY: Masks are no longer required for indoor performances but are strongly recommended.
About the Artist
South African cellist Abel Selaocoe is a rapidly rising star who is redefining the parameters of the cello. He moves seamlessly across a plethora of genres and styles, from collaborations with world musicians and beatboxers, to concertos and solo performances. Selaocoe combines virtuosic performance with improvisation, singing, and body percussion and is devoted to composing works and curating programmes that highlight the links between Western and non-Western musical traditions, broadening the horizons of classical music to reach a more diverse audience.
In 2016, Selaocoe formed Chesaba—a trio specializing in music from the African continent, including many of his own compositions. He enjoys close collaborations with musicians from a medley of genres, including Bernhard Schimpelsberger, Tim Garland, Seckou Keita, Giovanni Sollima, Famoudou Don Moye, and Gwilym Simcock. He has a close partnership with Manchester Collective, with whom he devised the hugely successful Sirocco programme which has been enjoyed both live and digitally by audiences since 2019. In 2020/21, Selaocoe performed at Kings Place, Norfolk & Norwich, and Ryedale Festivals, and performed with ensembles including BBC Concert Orchestra at the EFG London Jazz Festival, Manchester Collective, and Britten Sinfonia.
Selaocoe made his solo BBC Proms debut in August 2021, curating a programme with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Chesaba, and Gnawa Ensemble. Other highlights of the 2021/22 season include a tour with Manchester Collective and Chesaba of their new collaboration, The Oracle; debuts with St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and at Stanford Live; and performances both solo and with Chesaba throughout the U.K. and Europe.
Abel Selaocoe is an exclusive recording artist with Warner Classics and his debut album Hae Ke Kae on the subject of home and refuge will be released in autumn 2022.
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 and in July 2021, he received a Paul Hamlyn Foundation award for his compositional work.
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