Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE on lack of gender balance & ethnic diversity in Classical Music

Chineke at New Music Biennial 2019_credit Viktor Frankowski.jpg

Chineke! founder Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE has published an opinion piece in this week’s Guardian on the lack of gender balance and ethnic diversity in classical music.

With the launch of the the Proms season, she noted the marked dearth of female and BME composers, conductors and musicians programmed over the eight weeks of concerts.

This year’s season includes work by 29 female composers, out of a total of 160, and of the BBC’s 13 new commissions for the season, only one is by a black female composer and one by a black male composer.

The dominance of white, male figures in the industry still prevails, and follows just one month on from the launch of phase two of the PRS Foundation’s Keychange 50/50 scheme, to which 250 organisations, including the BBC, have pledged their commitment to supporting the advancement of women’s careers in the music industry.

Speaking of the founding of Chineke! and its mission to redress the balance, Chi-chi said:

We are fulfilling our mission through concerts, community engagement and educational work. We are rediscovering and including works by BME composers both living and from the past. Mentors and role models cannot be overestimated, and we are already seeing positive results. It’s time for more organisations to take bolder moves taking action, getting involved, broadening horizons, and that way we’ll catch up with all the other creative industries sooner, and broaden audiences at the same time.

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