Nigerian- British double bass player Chi-chi Nwanoku just been appointed OBE in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours, this adds to her other royal honour as MBE for services to Music in the 2001.
Born Chinyere (Chi-chi) Adah Nwanoku, this talented orchestra genius who gained a reputation as one of the finest exponents of her instrument has been working to change the face and colour of classical music in the UK and around the world.
She has been running her organisation, Chineke! which is made up of senior and junior orchestras – the first in Europe entirely for Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) musicians. According to her website, The Chineke! Foundation champions change and celebrates diversity in the classical music industry through its two orchestras, the Chineke! Orchestra and Chineke! Junior Orchestra, as well as its educational and outreach work. Ultimately, the Chineke! Foundation aims to give classical BME musicians a platform on which to excel, and by such methods increase the representation of BME musicians in British and European orchestras.
She is a founding member of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and a Professor of Double Bass Historical Studies at the Royal Academy of Music, where she was made a Fellow in 1998. She is a trustee of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, Mayor’s Music Fund, Tertis Foundation. a Council Member of the Royal Philharmonic Society and worked as board member of the Association of British Orchestras (ABO) from 2008 to 2013.
Chi-chi Nwanoku also created the ABO/RPS ‘Salomon Prize’ – the prize honours “unsung heroes” working in the ranks of British Orchestras. She was appointed as an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Laban Conservatoire and awarded the Black British Business Awards, Person of the Year in 2016.
A documentary film about Chi-chi’s career titled ‘Tales from the Bass Line’ was released in 2012 directed by Barrie Gavin, you should check it out.
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