Europe’s first designated minorities orchestra?

Europe’s first designated minorities orchestra?


norman lebrecht

June 03, 2015

The London bass player Chi-chi Nwanoku has launched the Chineke! Foundation, with an orchestra ‘designed specifically for people of colour and led by one of our own’.

Her declared aim is ‘to create a space where black musicians can walk on to the stage and know that they belong, in every sense of the word’. Chi-chi has won support from various UK public bodies and plans an inaugural concert on September 13.

It looks like the first of its kind. Is it?




  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    Ooh I hate that phrase – American political correctness. – People of colour! Ugh. What is white?

  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    Isn’t she discriminating against non-blacks?

  • Anne says:

    “one of our own”

    Hmmmm … Imagine a white person using that phrase.

    Is this really the way to go? Opera houses are generally regarded as the most conservative of places but there are many famous black opera singers.

  • Candace Allen says:

    The attitudes behind the above comments are all too indicative of why we must do this, with joyous determination and pride.

    • Anne says:

      Self righteous condemnation of people’s ‘attitudes’, whatever they are, is not a substitute for an argument.

      And my appearance might surprise you.

    • JJC says:

      That’s right, discrimination is bad, so, lets discriminate!

      • Hugh says:

        Nobody said that classical orchestras discriminate, and that’s not the issue being addressed here.

        Whatever the cause, the fact is that black people are under-represented in classical music. The shortage of black role models is part of the problem, as it discourages black youths from getting involved in classical music, and later from pursuing careers in this field. It would be great of the Chineke Orchestra can break this cycle, so that eventually talented black kids are as likely as white kids to develop their skills as classical musicians.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    How about the repertoire? No white European composer?

    • Erich says:

      this is ridiculous idea …inverse racism in the guise of political correctness. Give us a break…the world has wonderful musicians of every hue. Let them find their appropriate niche without imposing colour prerequisites.

      • Hugh says:

        That’s a ridiculous comment. Anyone with eyes can see that black people are under-represented in classical orchestras. Unless you think that this is due to an innate lack of musical aptitude, then this under-representation represents a waste of human potential. The Chineke Orchestra hopes to improve this situation by encouraging young black people to see classical music as something relevant to them. What on earth is wrong with that?

  • SergioM says:

    We’re well deep into the 21 century and it never fails to amaze me how many people are still afraid of change, or rather I should say, of reality. I suspect most of them are white guys in their 70’s longing for the old days when “Britain ruled the world” and “those people” knew their place. Hey guys I’ve got some news for you. Those days are long gone so hurry up and die already

    • Anne says:

      “Those days are long gone so hurry up and die already”


    • Doug says:

      And what if we are to wish for you to “hurry up and die”? You people on the Left have such a love with mass murder ordered from on high in your bureaucratic splendor and smug self righteousness and phony moral high ground.

    • Allen says:

      Believe it or not, some things in Britain cannot be explained by tired old references to Empire, tea, umbrellas and warm beer. Furthermore, people in their 70s were born during or close to WWII and have probably had more pressing things on their minds since then.

      Lastly, debating styles vary but, in civilised circles, wishing death on those you disapprove of does little to bring people around to your way of thinking.

  • David Boxwell says:

    Whatever direction this thread takes, it should be remembered that CN is biracial.

  • Gerhard says:

    I guess we can all agree that racism is a bad thing when wrong people discriminate against the right ones. But it seems now that we are expected to look at it differently once it is only the right people discriminating against the wrong ones.

    • William Safford says:

      How wonderfully and beautifully simplistic.

      • Gerhard says:

        Isn’t it the nature of ethic principles to be ‘simplistic’?

        • William Safford says:

          Simplistic: “treating complex issues and problems as if they were much simpler than they really are”

          • Gerhard says:

            Our most favourite excuse for avoiding to stick to principles we know would be right, but are so terribly inconvenient.

          • William Safford says:

            I agree.

            It is convenient to stick to the principle of, say, color blindness — as several conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices do, among others — as a way to justify being against attempts to solve the real and pervasive problems of discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, etc.

  • Miles Golding says:

    Chineke page reads “…celebrating diversity in classical music” ……?