U.K.’s Chineke! orchestra, making history with Cambridge Music Festival debut

Posted on: November 21, 2017

“It’s possible historians will look back at 22 November 2017 as a pivotal moment in our cultural history,” reads an unsigned Monday (11/13) Cambridge Network article (Cambridge, U.K.). “The ancient seat of classical music, King’s College Chapel, will host a top-quality orchestra, but one with a key difference: most players are Black and Minority Ethnic (BME). What’s more, they will perform music by black composers such as Joseph Boulogne (the ‘black Mozart’) and Errollyn Wallen—as well as the actual Mozart, and Tchaikovsky. The concert is the final event of [the annual] Cambridge Music Festival…. There has been a real buzz about the orchestra, called Chineke!: the video of its recent, and first, performance at the BBC Proms in London went viral [10 million views]…. Research by Christina Scharff at King’s College London shows [that] of 629 orchestral players, ‘only 11 (1.7%) could be identified to be from a BME background’ … ‘Young black people see nobody who looks like them playing classical music,’ explains [Chineke founder Chi-Chi] Nwanoku, ‘So they assume it’s not for them.’ To counter this the Chineke! Foundation also runs a junior orchestra…. Chineke! now has 40 nationalities among its members, and includes white players too.”

Posted November 21, 2017