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  • 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 2023 he received the RPS Instrumentalist Award for his performances and collaborations which "blaze with creation, sending audiences home on a high". 

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  • In April 2022, following his hugely successful debut, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra announced Selaocoe as Artistic Partner for an initial three seasons from 2022/23. He is also Artist in Association with the BBC Singers and Artist in Residence at London's Southbank Centre for the 2022/23 season with performances there throughout the season, including an exclusive performance of his debut album Where is Home? (Hae Ke Kae - Warner Classics), which was released in September 2022. Further tour performances included Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Berliner Philharmonie, Kolner Philharmonie and Antwerp deSingel, among others.

    Selaocoe premieres two new concerti in the 22/23 season; he gives the world premiere of a new double concerto for kora and cello with Seckou Keita and the Ulster Orchestra in March 2023, co-commissioned by Orchestre national de Bretagne, Ulster Orchestra and Southbank Centre, and the world premiere of his solo cello concerto, Four Spirits, with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in March 2023, with subsequent US premiere with Seattle Symphony in April ‘23.

    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, Dudu Kouaté, Famoudou Don Moye and Gwilym Simcock. He has a close partnership with Manchester Collective, with whom he devised the hugely successful Sirocco which has been enjoyed both live and digitally by audiences since 2019 and The Oracle, which toured the UK in 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. 

    Abel Selaocoe is an exclusive recording artist with Warner Classics.

    2022/23 season / 425 words. Not to be altered without permission.


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Sample recital programme

Abel Selaocoe Vukani Bo! (African song about the awakening of a village or greeting song)
Debussy Sonata in D minor for Cello and Piano
Ravel Improvisation on Habanera
Schedrin Improvisation on Albeniz
Abel Selaocoe Di Kae! for Cello and Piano (South African piece about ancestral gratitude)


Britten Sonata for Cello and Piano in C major
Sir James MacMillan Kiss on Wood
Giovanni Sollima (arr. Abel Selaocoe) Lamentatio

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