Chi-chi Nwanoku, the force behind Europe’s Chineke! Orchestra of minority musicians

Posted on: April 25, 2017

“For Chi-chi Nwanoku, coming up with the right name for her new minority orchestra was a stressful experience,” writes Ginanne Brownell Mitic in Friday’s (4/21) New York Times. She called it Chineke!, “a word from the Nigerian Igbo tribe, which was her father’s clan [and] means ‘wonderful’ or ‘wow.’… The Chineke! Foundation—which includes both Europe’s first professional orchestra made up entirely of minority musicians from across Britain and Europe, and also a junior orchestra—has had a strong impact not only on the musicians involved, but also on the audiences. The first concert in 2015 during the Africa Utopia festival sold out…. In May, some members who have performed with the [U.S.-based] Sphinx Organization … will appear in a musical showcase in the Netherlands.” Said 18-year-old cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, “a member of both of Chineke’s orchestras” and “the first black person to win the BBC’s Young Musician of the Year award” last year, “said that when he attended concerts while he was growing up, there were very few black or minority musicians on stage. ‘It has been inspiring to see lots of other young musicians like me.’ ”

Posted April 25, 2017