Review: London’s Chineke! Orchestra in George Walker trombone concerto with Detroit Symphony principal trombone

Posted on: March 7, 2022

“With a growing international reputation, Chineke! Orchestra has tours to Europe and Australia in its sights this year, while its companion Chineke! Junior Orchestra will be visiting Lucerne, Berlin and Amsterdam,” writes Richard Fairman in Thursday’s (3/3) Financial Times (U.K.; subscription required). “There is no holding back Europe’s first majority black and ethnically diverse orchestra, founded … by double bassist Chi-chi Nwanoku. As always, this latest concert, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, included neglected music. Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Petite Suite de Concert, dating from 1911, adds up to a delightfully entertaining 15 minutes following in the footsteps of Elgar. The Trombone Concerto of 1957 by George Walker is a forgotten gem, light and fizzing, with short motifs being passed nimbly from hand to hand around the orchestra, as if in an agile ball game, the trombonist joining in with spiky, incisive phrases. Kenneth Thompkins from Detroit was the deft soloist and Chineke! Orchestra, conducted by Anthony Parnther, was at its nimble-footed best. Ravel and Beethoven completed the program, but it is the discovery of half-forgotten black composers that makes Chineke’s concerts doubly rewarding.”