Speaking of women of African descent who have made great achievements, we cannot forget to also mention Chinyere Adah Nwanoku popularly known as Chichi Nwanoku, a renowned Nigerian-Irish double bass player and professor of Historical Double Bass Studies at the Royal Academy of Music. She was also a founding member and principal bassist of the Orchestra of the Age Enlightenment, a position she honourably maintained for 30 years.
Nwanoku made history and stole the limelight when she founded the Chineke! Orchestra which made its debut in 2015 as the first professional orchestra & junior orchestra in Europe made up of a Black majority and minority ethnic (BME) musicians, of which she is currently the Artistic Director. She has previously performed in esteemable roles as a principal double bass of the ensemble Endymion, the London Mozart Players, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the English Baroque Soloists, the London Classical Players, and the Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique.
In 2001, the 62-year legendary bassist was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Birthday Honours and Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2017 Birthday Honours, for her extraordinary services to music and is Patron of Music Preserved, the Cherubim Trust. She has also been made an Honorary Fellow of both the Royal Academy of Music and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music.
In addition to Nwanoku’s long music career which she began from childhood, she has been active as a broadcaster on the BBC Radio and BBC TV. She is a Board member of the National Youth Orchestra, Tertis Foundation, London Music Fund, Royal Philharmonic Society (Council), and was previously on the Association of British Orchestras board.
Chichi Nwanoku is definitely one of Africa’s best and greatest women who has not just proved that African women can do and become whatever they aspire to be, but also one who has contributed greatly to the African and Black race by expanding the possibilities through her Chineke! Ochestra foundation.
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