Kenneth Wilson
Highway Cello

“Kenneth Wilson is a truly mellow cello fellow”
Steven Isserlis, CBE, cellist and author.

“An amazing performance, great poetry. Powerful stuff!”
Richard Farncombe, Music in the Wood.

“Perfect harmonious sweetness”
Cumberland News.

Seven Last Words – on Tour 2024

I will be performing the Seven Last Words Meditation in about thirty churches in Lent 2024. There are seven meditative poems, interleaved with the Sarabandes from Bach’s Six Suites for Solo Cello. The work is framed by other music at the beginning and the end – sometimes, but not always, more Bach.

Kenneth Wilson – Highway Cello

Kenneth Wilson playing his Highway Cello at Long Meg, a stone circle near Penrith

Hello. I’m Kenneth Wilson. I play the cello; I write poetry; and sometimes I ride a bike – which is where the name Highway Cello came from.

When I perform I usually intersperse the music with short poetical responses. The music tells a story, or evokes emotion, which the poetry then explores, teases, reveals – or maybe subverts…

“Easy, take it easy, Love,
I told him, over, often, but…
he wouldn’t listen,
foolish, foolish man…

Extract from In Sally’s Garden, by Kenneth Wilson, a response to the Irish tune, Down by the Salley Garden

The Origin of Highway Cello

The Highway Cello name began with a journey. In the summer of 2022 I cycled from Hadrian’s Wall to Rome (“from the edge of Empire to its heart”). I built a rack for the back of my old Dawes Galaxy bike, strapped my special carbon fibre cello to it, and set off.

It was quite an adventure – the length of England, through France and over the Alps to Italy, and Rome. Every day I played the cello, in scheduled and pop-up concerts, busking, and just responding to the moment.

“…Here’s a dare then: get you home
then put that cello on a bike;
pedal South, go down to Rome
Be careful where you point the spike.
Go on!

Play it every day en route
in squares and streets, in bars, on roofs;
posh restaurants where the food’s en croute,
low dives where no-one gives a F – hoot.
If you dare!

Extract from The Cello Dare, by Kenneth Wilson

Highway Cello Performances

“The play’s the thing,” isn’t it? Poetry needs performing; music needs playing. It’s incomplete without an audience – a reaction, an interplay.

There are two kinds of performance I like best – the outdoor pop-up, and the house-concert in someone’s home. The intimacy of a small house concert, where the audience is close enough to see the sparks flying from the cello… that’s very special. And there’s an extra quality to the sound of a cello in the open air; the landscape and the elements add something.


You can watch my performances on YouTube. Here are a few!

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