Label news: Decca signs non-white orchestra

Label news: Decca signs non-white orchestra


norman lebrecht

April 28, 2022

Decca Records has formed a partnership with Chineke! Orchestra, the Black and ethnically diverse ensemble resident at London’s SouthBank Centre, who will be recording on Chineke! Records.

The first release will be music by the English composer, conductor and political activist Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. Executive Producer will be Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE, founder and director of the Chineke! Foundation. Tom Lewis and Laura Monks, Co-Presidents of Decca Label Group (pictured centre), say: ‘She is a trailblazer with an important mission and, together with Chineke!, she has recorded compositions by some of the world’s most important yet under-represented classical composers. We are committed to spreading the incredible music, talent and message of Chineke! around the world.’


  • Ned Keane says:

    Good. Chi-chi is a force of nature, and what she’s done is marvellous. The performances are often excellent.
    Your headline is a bit reductive, though.

  • ian says:

    political correctness gone mad what about white jamaicans like me do i fit the bill or do i have to be black jamaican

  • Fenway says:

    Moral of the story: can’t get a real gig, be diverse. Blazing Saddles, not trailblazing…

    • MacroV says:

      If you know anything about the music world, you’ll know lots of great players can’t get a “real gig.” 30 or more good candidates for any job that pays a living wage. So some go out and do something different.

  • operacentric says:

    The performances of mainstream works I have seen have been adequate but hardly worthy of recording and certainly unlikely to stand up to the competition even from Decca’s own backlist. Some of the under-represented composers I have heard have been under-represented for a pretty good reason – those names we do know were rather better! I suppose it is a good marketing ploy to uncritical and diverse new audiences.

    • RecordProducer5 says:

      Suggestion for this commenter to stay indoors and off the internet. Enjoy your existing record collection full of Vienna Phil playing Beethoven etc and don’t go looking for anything new! Lazy, thinly-veiled anti-“diversity” comments like this suggest an axe to grind that has nothing to do with musical and cultural excellence, the only thing we should be striving for.

    • Thomas M. says:

      I agree with @RecordProducer5. Stay at home, get offf the Internet, never talk to or meet anyone, close the curtains, and just spend the rest of your days like that. What the world needs is more diverse ensembles, and fewer racists.

  • Piano Lover says:

    Next step:an orchestra with genders of all sorts.

  • •u• says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: just let talented POC musicians join your normal orchestras and be proud soloists without making their race a factor beyond their musicianship. They’re good enough to not have to be in some sort of accommodated group just to perform, I’m sure.

  • Alexandra says:

    Who cares about the colour??? As long as the artist is good, it’s not important if he’s white, black etc

  • Piano Lover says:

    “””The decline of music””
    -Conductor(what gender?):What shall we rehearse tonight?
    -First violin(gender?):never mind-that is not the issue?
    -COnductor:What IS the issue then?
    -First violin:Are the the genders here equally represented in numbers?
    -Conductor:ER-I don’t know
    -First V:Let us count and what is the gender of the composer(we haven’t chosen him or she or it or…whatever yet)
    “””The decline of music””

    … rehearsal therefore!

  • CGDA says:

    Positive racism but STILL RACISM!

    Social division at its very best with people and companies making lots of cash out of it!


  • Thomas M. says:

    A promising young ensemble with some exciting projects to their credit already. Good to see that their first project for Decca will be fringe repertoire, too. We need more young, ambitious ensembles doing fresh stuff, not the Boston Symphony playing the same old Bruckner symphonies for the umpteenth time!