Home Music & Film Meet Chineke! Europe’s First Professional Orchestra Of Black and Ethnic Musicians

Meet Chineke! Europe’s First Professional Orchestra Of Black and Ethnic Musicians

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The Chineke! Foundation is a non-profit organisation which has been established to provide career opportunities to young Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) classical musicians in the UK and Europe. Chineke!’s motto is: ’Championing change and celebrating diversity in classical music’. The organisation aims to be a catalyst for change, realising existing diversity targets within the industry by increasing the representation of BME musicians in British and European orchestras.

The Chineke! Orchestra is comprised of exceptional musicians from across the continent, drawn together multiple times per year.  The orchestra takes an inclusive, non-hierarchical approach to its performances, placing the emphasis firmly on the players rather than on conductors or soloists, and aims to perform a mixture of standard orchestral repertoire along with the works of BME composers both past and present.

‘I want black musicians to walk on the stage and know they belong’.

Chineke! was founded by Chi-Chi Nwanoku, who is of Nigerian and Irish descent. The eldest of 5 children, she was 7 years old when she discovered the piano at a neighbour’s, who taught her to play a 12-bar blues. Chi-chi who was awarded an MBE for services to Music in the 2001 Queen’s Birthday honours says, ‘I want black musicians to walk on the stage and know they belong’.

Chi-Chi Nwanoku, founder of Chineke!

After Chineke!’s debut performance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in September of 2015, the Chineke! Orchestra was appointed as an Associate Orchestra of the Southbank Centre, and by popular demand returned there to perform in September of 2016 at the Royal Festival Hall. Chineke! has also been featured prominently in theDepartment of Culture, Media and Sport’s White Paper on Culture published in March 2016, and was  shortlisted for a 2016 RPS Award in the Ensemble Category.

To know more about Chineke!, visit their website http://www.chineke.org/