|Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2015-09-03 01:42Z by Steven|
Its founder double-bassist Chi-chi Nwanoku talks to Jessica Duchen
When the Chineke! Orchestra steps on to the Queen Elizabeth Hall platform on 13 September, the audience should notice something unusual. One of those uncomfortable truths about classical music is that most symphony orchestras in Europe still consist mostly of white and white-Asian people. Chineke, the brainchild of the double-bassist Chi-chi Nwanoku, is Europe’s first professional orchestra made up entirely of black and minority ethnic musicians.
The idea is to bring together and showcase the wealth of talent among these under-represented performers. “It is about raising awareness, trying to level the playing field, altering the status quo a little bit and changing perceptions,” says Nwanoku.
Born in London to a Nigerian father and Irish mother, Nwanoku has been mulling over these issues for years, from her vantage point as a founder member of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, a popular media commentator and broadcaster, and a professor at the Royal Academy of Music. Her recent programmes for BBC Radio 4, In Search of the Black Mozart, about the 18th-century violin virtuoso and composer the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, sparked wide interest in historical musicians of colour…
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