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(Photo credit: Mark Allan)

The UK’s Chineke! Orchestra to Tour North America  

From March 16–25, 2023, the tour will feature repertoire spanning 300 years and include works by Carlos Simon, Florence Price, and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor 

 

Founded in 2015 by double bassist Chi-chi Nwanoku CBE, the Chineke! Orchestra is Europe’s first majority-Black and ethnically diverse ensemble — created to widen opportunities for Black and ethnically diverse classical musicians who are underrepresented in professional orchestras. 

Originally planned for March 2020, the group’s first North American tour was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting next week, the orchestra and conductor Andrew Grams will perform across six cities. 

Performing at venues including Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall and the New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, the concert program includes Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Othello suite and Violin Concerto in G minor, Florence Price’s Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9. 

Young Black composer Stewart Goodyear’s Callaloo – A Caribbean Suite for Piano and Orchestra, and GRAMMY-nominated composer Carlos Simon’s Fate Now Conquers, will also feature on the tour. 

Goodyear, who is an inaugural Artist in Residence at the Royal Conservatory of Music, will join the tour in Ottawa, Toronto, and Boston, as the pianist for his own composition. Other guest artists joining the tour in various cities include the New York Philharmonic’s principal clarinet Anthony McGill and American violinist Elena Urioste.

Between March 16–25, 2023, the group will perform in New York City, Boston, Massachusetts, Michigan, and at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre, and Toronto’s Koerner Hall.

“Chineke! is thrilled to be able to finally make its North American debut!” said Nwanoku. “We’ve been looking forward to this tour for years, and it will be a privilege for us to perform this repertoire for audiences in both Canada and the States.

"We’re proud of what we’ve created and built with this ensemble and can’t wait to share it beyond Europe! [We are] particularly grateful to United Airlines for its generous support of this tour, without which it would not have been possible.”

To attend the concerts, click here.

 

Now giving around 40 concerts annually in the UK, the Chineke! Orchestra is a Resident Orchestra at the Southbank Centre and often performs at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Royal Festival Hall. In 2022, the organization’s Chineke! Junior Orchestra made its debut European tour with the opening concert of the Lucerne Festival

“My aim is to create a space where Black and ethnically diverse musicians can walk on stage and know that they belong, in every sense of the word,” Nwanoku said. “If even one child feels that their color is getting in the way of their musical ambitions, then I hope to inspire them, give them a platform, and show them that music, of whatever kind, is for all people. And I want audiences to feel welcome, regardless of ethnicity.”

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