Chineke! Orchestra is the flagship ensemble of Chineke! Foundation, which was founded by double-bassist Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE in 2015 to provide career opportunities for established and up-and-coming Black, Asian and ethnically diverse classical musicians in the UK and Europe.
The orchestra is Europe’s first majority-Black, Asian and ethnically diverse orchestra.
The orchestra focusses on performing music by Black, Asian and ethnically diverse composers – both past and present – alongside standard classical repertoire, and has appeared at the Royal Festival Hall, Royal Albert Hall and at numerous festivals around the UK and Europe.
Also part of the Chineke! Foundation, which has the motto ‘Championing change and celebrating diversity in classical music’, is Chineke! Junior Orchestra for musicians aged between 11 and 22. Also founded in 2015, the orchestra of young Black, Asian and ethnically diverse heritage musicians has appeared on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, and regularly works with Chineke! Orchestra whose musicians act as inspiring mentors, teachers and role models.
With both orchestras, and with its community engagement, work in schools and learning resources, Chineke! Foundation aims to realise existing diversity targets within the industry by increasing the representation of Black, Asian and ethnically diverse musicians in British and European orchestras.
Did you know?
Chineke! Foundation’s founder and artistic and executive Director, Chi-chi Nwanoku, is an ex-sprinter and a founder member of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment – where she held the position of principal double-bass for 30 years.
Nwanoku was appointed OBE for Services to Music in 2017 and the MBE in the 2001 Queen’s Birthday Honours.