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Chi-Chi Nwanoku's Chineke! Orchestra Debuts Sept. 13 at Southbank Center

by Ian Holubiak   Jul 24, 2015 10:15 AM EDT

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The Chineke! Orchestra and Foundation has become Europe's first professional orchestra to be made up entirely of black musicians. Coming this September, the ensemble will make is performance debut at the Southbank Centre in London.

Chineke! is the magnum opus of the renowned British double bass player Chi-chi Nwanoku (MBE), who also co-founded the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment and also serves as Professor of Double Bass Historical Studies at the Royal Academy of Music.

According Sinfini Music, Nwanoku is the daughter of an Igbo father and an Irish mother and remarked on the subject:

'I've always felt as though I completely belong to the country and society in which I live and I've never gone through my life feeling like I'm a token person of colour. I wasn't brought up to be a statistic — I was brought up to be who I am, and being mixed race is not part of my agenda. But it is clear to me that there are many reasons why people like me, people of colour, are not coming through, why they're so very underrpresented in the arts in this country. And I know for a fact it's not due to lack of talent.'

For their launch date, the Foundation will feature a program of Elegy in Memory of Stephen Lawrence by the British composer Philip Herbert, alongsife other works from the popular Western canon.

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