CHINEKE! ORCHESTRA ANNOUNCES FLORENCE PRICE FEATURING JENEBA KANNEH-MASON
NEW ALBUM BY TRAILBLAZING ORCHESTRA
CELEBRATES THE MUSIC OF FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN FEMALE COMPOSER TO HAVE A SYMPHONY PERFORMED BY MAJOR ORCHESTRA
UPCOMING LIVE SHOWS INCLUDING BLACK PANTHER IN CONCERT EUROPEAN PREMIERE & BBC PROMS
RELEASED 23RD JUNE ON CHINEKE! RECORDS
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH DECCA RECORDS/UNIVERSAL MUSIC CANADA
LISTEN TO Piano Concerto in One Movement, ii. Adagio cantabile HERE
28 APRIL 2023 (TORONTO, ON) — Chineke! Orchestra, the trailblazing ensemble who are noted as Europe’s first majority Black and ethnically diverse orchestra, have announced a new album celebrating the music of pioneering African American composer Florence Price.
Noted as being the first African American female composer to have a symphony performed by a major orchestra, Price will be celebrated with this album marking the 70th anniversary year of her death. Chineke! explore two of her most notable pieces on the album, which also features virtuoso pianist Jeneba Kanneh-Mason.
The album will be released on 23rd June on Chineke! Records in partnership with Decca Records/Universal Music Canada.
Symphony No.1 in E minor showcases the rich variety of African American music Price brought into her work, and was a nod to Antonín Dvořak’s “New World” Symphony. Premiered in 1933, it led to Price’s recognition as the first African American woman to have a symphony performed by a major national orchestra. A review of the premiere by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1933 called it ‘a faultless work’ (Chicago Daily News).
The album also features her "Piano Concerto in One Movement", premiered in 1934. It is so called, because though her concerto appears in one movement, beneath the surface she fills the work with multiple themes, moods, ideas, sound worlds, and histories to the surprise and delight of her listeners. It is performed on the album by Jeneba Kanneh-Mason who has become a keen champion of the piece a century on.
The album concludes with His Resignation and Faith from “Ethiopia’s Shadow in America” – a rarely recorded orchestral work intended to portray the adjustments of Africans arriving in America, which had previously been lost until it was rediscovered in 2009.
On the album, Chineke! Orchestra founder Chi-chi Nwanoku CBE said: “The Chineke! Orchestra is thrilled to announce the upcoming release of our 2nd album with Decca Records featuring the works of composer Florence B. Price. This album, which includes Price's Piano Concerto No.1 with the young piano soloist Jeneba Kanneh-Mason, her award-winning Symphony No.1, and ‘His Resignation and Faith’ from ‘Ethiopia's Shadow in America’, which is a necessary and long-overdue tribute to the composer's remarkable contributions to classical music. We are proud to be a part of this important revival of Florence B. Price's work, and hope to bring her legacy to a wider audience. This album is a testament to Price's remarkable contributions to classical music and is sure to be a hit with music lovers around the world.”
Jeneba Kanneh-Mason said: “I was thrilled to record the Florence Price Concerto in One Movement with the Chineke! Orchestra. I thoroughly enjoyed working with the orchestra and the Florence Price concerto has so much depth, colour and joy. It was an incredible experience.”
Eight years of critically acclaimed performances at major European concert halls and festivals, and four previous celebrated albums, have established Chineke! Orchestra as one of the most exciting new forces in British classical music today. The orchestra won the Royal Philharmonic Society inaugural Gamechanger Award in 2019.
The versatility of the orchestra is highlighted by its upcoming live performances for 2023, which include performing the European Premiere of Black Panther in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 27th May, where they will perform the Grammy®-winning score live to picture.
They will also perform Stewart Goodyear’s "Callaloo" with the composer himself on Saturday 24th June at Queen Elizabeth Hall, as well as pieces by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Florence Price; as well as performing Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony as part of the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall on Friday 1st September.
For all upcoming Chineke! Orchestra concerts, please visit: https://www.chineke.org/upcoming-concerts.
Chineke! Orchestra – Florence Price, Featuring Jeneba Kanneh-Mason
Piano Concerto in One Movement (D minor)
1 I. Andantino 7.58
2 II. Adagio cantabile 6.12
3 III. Andantino – Allegretto 3.35
JENEBA KANNEH-MASON piano
LESLIE SUGANANDARAJAH conductor
Symphony No.1 in E minor
4 I. Allegro ma non troppo 17.56
5 II. Largo, maestoso 14.28
6 III. Juba Dance: Allegro 3.42
7 IV. Finale: Presto 4.46
RODERICK COX conductor
Ethiopia’s Shadow in America
8 II. His Resignation and Faith (Andante) 2.30
The Chineke! Orchestra is a groundbreaking ensemble founded in 2015 by Chi-chi Nwanoku CBE, dedicated to promoting diversity in classical music. They provide exceptional performance opportunities for Black and ethnically diverse classical musicians in the UK and Europe, championing change and celebrating diversity in the industry. The Chineke! Orchestra works closely with its sister ensemble, the Chineke! Junior Orchestra, which aims to increase representation of Black and ethnically diverse musicians in higher education. The orchestra has garnered critical acclaim for their innovative programming and electrifying performances internationally, through which they have brought to light a wealth of powerful and moving works, breathing new life into these neglected pieces. The last two years have also seen collaborations with major artists such as Stormzy and Max Richter, as well as a landmark project reimagining the work of Bob Marley. Undertaken with the full support of the musician’s estate, the album was recorded at Abbey Road Studios and released on the legendary Island Records in 2022.
About Chi-chi Nwanoku CBE
Chi-chi is a British-born double bassist, professor, and broadcaster of Nigerian and Irish descent. She trained as a sprinter and played the piano since the age of 7, but after an injury, turned her focus to music. She became an internationally recognised double bassist following studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London and with Italian Double bass soloist, Franco Petracchi in Rome. Chi-chi is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Chineke! Foundation, which supports and inspires Black and ethnically diverse classical musicians. Chi-chi's contributions to music education are widely recognised, with keynote speeches on the importance of diversity across the globe. As a broadcaster, she has presented programmes and documentaries for BBC Radio 3 and 4, Classic FM, a documentary on the life and music of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor for Sky-Arts and contributed to the BBC documentary BEING BEETHOVEN.
In addition to her teaching post at the Royal Academy of Music, Chi-chi is a Visiting Fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge. Her numerous honours include the CBE in 2022 and previously the OBE and MBE. Honorary titles include Honorary Fellow of Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music & Dance, Honorary Doctor of Music from Chichester University, Open University, Kent University, and Cambridge University, and Honorary Bencher at Middle Temple.