Championing Change in Classical Music

Chineke! champions change and celebrates diversity in classical music

Chineke at Royal Festival Hall (2020-09-28) by Mark AllanChineke!

Championing Diversity

Chineke! actively promotes diversity in classical music by commissioning and performing works by contemporary Black, Asian and ethnically diverse composers, such as Philip Herbert, George Parker, Errollyn Wallen CBE, James B. Wilson, and others. 
Chineke! also champions works by lesser known ethnically diverse composers throughout history, restoring their place in the classical canon. Alongside standard orchestral repertoire, the orchestra regularly performs works by Joseph Bologne Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Samuel Coleridge Taylor, Avril Coleridge Taylor and Florence B. Price.

Black Legacies - Royal Festival Hall (2020-10-19) by Southbank Centre / Mark AllanChineke!


In October 2020, to mark the UK's Black History Month, Chineke! Orchestra performed the world premiere of James B. Wilson’s new work, Remnants, a collaboration with poet Yomi Sode, at the Royal Festival Hall. Commissioned by the Southbank Centre, the piece was inspired by Dylan Martinez’s photograph of protester Patrick Hutchinson carrying an injured counter-protester to safety during a Black Lives Matter protest in London, June 13, 2020. 

World premiere - BBC News feature (2020)Chineke!

Chineke!'s performance of Remnants featured on BBC News. 

Chineke! Orchestra Inaugural Concert (2015-09-13) by Zen GrisdaleChineke!

Composer Philip Herbert on stage with Chineke!

Chineke! Inaugural Concert, 13 September 2015 
Southbank Centre

“Then came an Elegy, composed by Philip Herbert as a memorial to Stephen Lawrence, and scored for 18 strings – one for each year of the murdered teenager’s short life. Following in the tradition of Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Gerald Finzi, Herbert’s finely crafted work was sensitively and touchingly delivered."
(The Guardian)

Philip Herbert, "Elegy: In Memoriam - Stephen Lawrence"

Musicians from Chineke! Orchestra (2018) by Eric RichmondChineke!

Mariam Adam

Mariam Adam on Championing Diversity

Chineke! clarinettist Mariam Adam (pictured) discusses the importance of championing Black, Asian and ethnically diverse composers and performing their works. 

Black Classical Music: The Forgotten History

Performances by Chineke! feature on the BBC documentary Black Classical Music: The Forgotten History, presented by Sir Lenny Henry and Suzy Klein. 
Watch the BBC 4 official trailer!

Samuel Coleridge Taylor: Ballade for Orchestra

Chineke! Orchestra inaugural concert
13 September 2015

Samuel Coleridge Taylor (1875 - 1912) was an English composer, conductor and violinist born to an English mother and a father from Sierra Leone. He was named after the famous Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and became well-known for the use of poetry in his compositions. Raised in Croydon, he studied from the age of 15 at the Royal College of London and was hailed as a ‘genius’ by the music publisher and critic August Jaeger. His compositions were heavily influenced by traditional African music, making him one of the progressive composers of his era. 

Discover Joseph Bologne (1745 - 1799)

Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE introduces Joseph Bologne Chevalier de Saint-Georges, who was a French-Gaudeloupean virtuoso violinist, composer and champion fencer in the 18th Century. The Chineke! Chamber Ensemble performed his String Quartet No 3 in G minor at the 2019 African Concert Series, as well as arrangements of songs from South Africa and Ghana.

Stewart Goodyear (2020) by Anita ZvonarChineke!

Chineke! & Stewart Goodyear - Callaloo, III: Ballad

In 2019 Chineke! Orchestra collaborated with Canadian composer and pianist Stewart Goodyear for a world premiere recording of Callaloo, his suite for piano and orchestra, conducted by Wayne Marshall. The full album "Gerschwin/Goodyear" was released by Orchid Classics in 2019.

In Stewart's own words:

"I grew up in a city where the population was what one would call a “callaloo”, composed of people of various backgrounds and religions blending together to create an authentic urban flavour. The people of Trinidad, where half my family is from, call their community a “callaloo” nation, and they celebrate their history and present every February with Carnival, a festival of different sounds and traditions. Calypso, a blend of jazz, African and French influences, is the heart of Trinidad. My Suite for piano and orchestra, aptly enough titled Callaloo, was composed in 2016, two years after my first Carnival in Trinidad. At that festival, I was exposed to gorgeous Calypso music for two weeks straight, riveted every second."

The third movement, Ballad, is a slow-tempo mento, made famous in the Western world by artists like Harry Belafonte. This movement uses solo piano, the lower strings, flutes, clarinets and bassoons, and the percussion section. The atmosphere is that of a siesta, and the colour is that of a golden sunset."

Stewart Goodyear (2020) by Anita ZvonarChineke!

Stewart Goodyear on Callaloo

“A more defiant statement than I ever envisioned”

Stewart Goodyear discusses his Trinidadian roots, which inspired Callaloo, and the deep significance of his piece in 2020. 
“Callaloo, and Black Lives Matter, and these beautiful defiant statements that fight for love, that fight for us belonging together… yes, Callaloo is definitely of that mindset...I find that every time I perform Callaloo it always convinces me that in their hearts people want to belong, people want to be included and people want to embrace one other, and they all share that common rhythm that common need of celebration of love, and celebrating humanity, and who we are. I hope people find that every time they listen to Callaloo."

Credits: Story

Elizabeth Boyce

Credits: All media
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