Chineke! Orchestra

Finlandia, Symphony No. 9 'From the New World'

Price: € 19.95
Format: CD
Label: Signum Classics
UPC: 0635212051528
Catnr: SIGCD 515
Release date: 07 July 2017
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Label
Signum Classics
UPC
0635212051528
Catalogue number
SIGCD 515
Release date
07 July 2017

"CD of the week!"

, 04-8-2017
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About the album

Signum are proud to present the debut recording from the Chineke! Orchestra, in a new live orchestral recording from The Royal Festival Hall, London.

Drawn from exceptional musicians from across the continent, the orchestra is part of the Chineke! Foundation – a non-profit organisation that provides career opportunities to young Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) classical musicians in the UK and Europe. Their motto is ‘Championing Change and Celebrating Diversity in Classical Music.

The orchestra is the brainchild of Chi-chi Nwanoku MBE, FRAM, who describes the project’s aim as being “... to create a space where BME musicians can walk on stage and know that they belong, in every sense of the word. If even one BME child feels that their colour 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.”

In this first relesase in a new series, Chineke! orchestra perform two beguiling works – Sibelius’s Finlandia and Dvořák’s much loved Symphony No. 9 ‘From the New World’. Both pieces encompass different aspects of BME influences in Western Classical music: Sibelius’s Finlandia embodied a national sentiment in both the composer’s homeland of Finland as well as for other small nations seeking to free themselves from subjugation from other countries (becoming the national anthem of Biafra during the civil war of 1967-1970), and although underplayed by critics at the time, Dvořák’s work rings with melodies influenced by the folk music and spirituals sung to him by his African-American student and assistant, Harry Burleigh, and with rhythms and pentatonic sections inspired by the music of the Sioux Indians, all wrapped up in the format of a Western Classical symphony.

Twee bekende en geliefde werken uitgevoerd door een uitzonderlijk en jong orkest
Het Chineke! Orchestra presenteert met trots hun debuutalbum met een live-opname vanuit The Royal Festival Hall in Londen. Het orkest bestaat uit jonge en uitzonderlijke musici uit etnische minderheden uit het Verenigd Koninkrijk en Europa. Het is het geesteskind van Chi-chi Nwanoku, die het doel van het project beschrijft als “het creëren van een ruimte waar musici uit etnische minderheden het podium op kunnen lopen en weten dat ze er thuishoren, in elke zin van het woord.”

Op deze eerste uitgave in een nieuwe serie voert Chineke! Orchestra twee betoverende werken uit: Sibelius’ Finlandia en Dvořáks zeer geliefde Negende Symfonie ‘Uit de Nieuwe Wereld’. Beide werken omvatten verschillende aspecten van invloeden van etnische minderheden in de Westerse klassieke muziek.

Finlandia drukt het nationale sentiment uit van zowel het thuisland van de componist, als van andere kleine landen, die zich wilden ontworstelen aan de onderwerping van andere landen. Dvořáks werk weerklinkt van melodieën beïnvloed door de volksmuziek en geestelijke liederen die voor hem werden gezongen door zijn Afrikaans-Amerikaanse student en assistent Harry Burleigh. En van ritmes en pentatonische secties geïnspireerd door de muziek van de Siouxindianen, alles verpakt in de vorm van een Westerse klassieke symfonie.

Artist(s)

The Chineke! Foundation is a non-profit organisation which has been established to provide career opportunities to young Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) classical musicians in the UK and Europe. Chineke!’s motto is: ’Championing change and celebrating diversity in classical music’. The organisation aims to be a catalyst for change, realising existing diversity targets within the industry by increasing the representation of BME musicians in British and European orchestras.

The Chineke! Orchestra is comprised of exceptional musicians from across the continent, drawn together multiple times per year. The Foundation is planning on scaling up its orchestra’s commitments over time, with the eventual goal of running a full season of performances each year, and has recently teamed up with Askonas Holt to plan the orchestra’s future overseas touring schedule. The orchestra takes an inclusive, non-hierarchical approach to its performances, placing the emphasis firmly on the players rather than on conductors or soloists, and aims to perform a mixture of standard orchestral repertoire along with the works of BME composers both past and present.

The Chineke! Orchestra works closely with its sister ensemble, the Chineke! Junior Orchestra, a youth orchestra of BME players aged 11-18 who are already benefitting from a number of existing youth schemes, junior music colleges and specialist music schools across the UK. The Chineke! Orchestra plays an important role in this project, with senior players acting as mentors, teachers and role models to the young musicians. In this way, the Chineke! Junior Orchestra acts as a bridge between such schemes and higher education, giving its players experience, encouragement and confidence during their formative years, with the hope of increasing the numbers of BME candidates currently studying music at third level. This process has already begun, with one of our junior musicians having been offered a full scholarship to the RAM.

The Chineke! Orchestra is the brainchild of Chi-chi Nwanoku MBE, FRAM, who has this say about the project: ‘My aim is to create a space where BME musicians can walk on stage and know that they belong, in every sense of the word. If even one BME child feels that their colour 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.’

Thankfully, cultural organisations such as Arts Council England, British Council, Conservatoires UK and Help Musicians UK agree with this sentiment, and have backed the project. Indeed, after its debut performance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in September of 2015, the Chineke! Orchestra has been appointed as an Associate Orchestra of the Southbank Centre, and by popular demand returned there to perform in September of 2016 at the Royal Festival Hall. Chineke! has also been featured prominently in the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s White Paper on Culture published in March 2016, and was shortlisted for a 2016 RPS Award in the Ensemble Category.

The aims of the Chineke! Foundation and Orchestra are certainly ambitious, but, in words of Sir Simon Rattle: ‘Chineke! is not only an exciting idea but a profoundly necessary one. The kind of idea which is so obvious that you wonder why it is not already in place. The kind of idea which could deepen and enrich classical music in the UK for generations. What a thrilling prospect!’

Composer(s)

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CD of the week!
, 04-8-2017

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