South African cellist Abel Selaocoe 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 concerto performances and solo classical recitals. Abel combines virtuosic performance with improvisation, singing and body percussion, and has a special interest in curating recital programmes that highlight the links between Western and non-Western musical traditions, with view to helping classical music reach a more diverse audience.
Having completed his International Artist Diploma at the Royal Northern College of Music in July 2018, Abel has already performed extensively across the UK, at venues including Cadogan Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Sage Gateshead, and Bridgewater Hall. He has appeared as soloist with orchestras including BBC Philharmonic and BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and has performed with orchestras across South Africa, including Kwa-Zulu Natal, Johannesburg and Cape Town Philharmonics.
Abel is a keen chamber musician, having made his Wigmore Hall debut in 2013 with composer Colin Matthews. He is the co-founder of BBC Introducing ensemble Kabantu, and in 2016 formed Chesaba – a trio specializing in music from the African continent, including compositions by Abel. He has enjoyed close collaborations with musicians from a medley of genres, including Tim Garland, Seckou Keita, Giovanni Sollima, Gwilym Simcock, and 12ensemble. In recent seasons, Abel has curated programmes at Kings Place, the Aldeburgh & Oxford Chamber Music Festivals, and has performed in both the late night BBC Proms, and BBC Proms Extra series.
Abel has recently been selected for Serious Music’s Take Five – a development scheme for the UK’s most talented jazz composer-performers, and has been the recipient of multiple awards, including the Standard Bank Young Artists Award and the Sir Karl Jenkins Award in association with Classic FM. He is grateful to Help Musicians UK for awarding him the Karl Motesiczky Scholarship.