Chineke! Orchestra & Andrew Grams

Biography Chineke! Orchestra & Andrew Grams

Chineke! Orchestra & Andrew Grams

The Chineke! Orchestra
is a groundbreaking ensemble founded in 2015 by Chi-chi Nwanoku CBE, dedicated to promoting diversity in classical music. They provide exceptional performance opportunities for Black and ethnically diverse classical musicians in the UK and Europe, championing change and celebrating diversity in the industry. The Chineke! Orchestra works closely with its sister ensemble, the Chineke! Junior Orchestra, which aims to increase representation of Black and ethnically diverse musicians in higher education. The orchestra has garnered critical acclaim for their innovative programming and electrifying performances internationally, through which they have brought to light a wealth of powerful and moving works, breathing new life into these neglected pieces. The last few years have also seen collaborations with major artists such as Stormzy and Max Richter, as well as a landmark project reimagining the work of Bob Marley. Undertaken with the full support of the musician’s estate, the album was recorded at Abbey Road Studios and released on the legendary Island Records in 2022. Most recently the orchestra released a critically acclaimed album celebrating the music of pioneering African American composer Florence Price.

Chi-chi Nwanoku CBE
is a British-born double bassist, professor, and broadcaster of Nigerian and Irish descent. She trained as a sprinter and played the piano since the age of 7, but after an injury, turned her focus to music. She became an internationally recognised double bassist following studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London and with Italian Double bass soloist, Franco Petracchi in Rome. Chi-chi is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Chineke! Foundation, which supports and inspires Black and ethnically diverse classical musicians. Chi-chi's contributions to music education are widely recognised, with keynote speeches on the importance of diversity across the globe. As a broadcaster, she has presented programmes and documentaries for BBC Radio 3 and 4, Classic FM, a documentary on the life and music of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor for Sky-Arts and contributed to the BBC documentary BEING BEETHOVEN.

In addition to her teaching post at the Royal Academy of Music, Chi-chi is a Visiting Fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge. Her numerous honours include the CBE in 2022 and previously the OBE and MBE. Honorary titles include Honorary Fellow of Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music & Dance, Honorary Doctor of Music from Chichester University, Open University, Kent University, and Cambridge University, and Honorary Bencher at Middle Temple.

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