Chineke! BBC Proms


Chineke!

Europe's first majority BME orchestra perform music by American composer George Walker and a world premiere by Hannah Kendall, plus works by Dvorak, Handel and Rimsky-Korsakov.


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Transcript


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-Tonight at the Proms...

-ALL:

-Chineke!

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Chineke! is a professional orchestra and a junior orchestra

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that is majority black and minority ethnic.

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In September 2014, I went to the Africa Utopia festival

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at the Southbank Centre to see the Kinshasa Orchestra

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from the Congo.

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They played music by Berlioz, music by Beethoven.

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And the penny dropped, because I saw the looks of incredulity on many of

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the audience's faces and I just thought,

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hang on, this is the 21st century.

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Why shouldn't people that look like that

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be able to play classical music? I mean, it's a no-brainer.

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So not only did we start a professional orchestra,

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but we've created a junior orchestra as well.

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Most of us, in fact,

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had never played in an orchestra with other people of colour.

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The most amazing thing that happened after our first concert in 2015

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was, at the end, everybody went home feeling quite jubilant,

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and I think we all felt changed in some way.

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There is a special kind of frisson that happens.

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there's something that happens in this orchestra

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were no two people play on a regular basis together,

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but when we come together we all feel this sense of responsibility

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for the rest of mankind, really, who are interested in classical music.

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Chineke! represents well over 40 nationalities now,

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which I'm really proud of and just goes to prove how inclusive

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it can be, how inclusive it should be.

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I want the work of Chineke! to go so far

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that in five, 10 years' time, we won't be having to have

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this conversation about trying to diversify the industry.

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Music itself does not discriminate,

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so we've just got to get used to the fact that it's there for everyone.

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It means so much to have a Prom. This is our debut,

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and I've been told it's making history as the youngest orchestra

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in existence to be given a BBC Prom.

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That, for me, says a lot.

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Not only is it a debut for the Chineke! orchestra,

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it's a debut Prom for our soloists

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Jeanine De Bique and Sheku Kanneh-Mason.

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Our conductor, Kevin John Edusei, it's his debut as well,

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and so there's this whole feeling of newness and freshness that I really

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hope that we're able to share with our possibly quite new audience.

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We open the concert with a brand new BBC commission

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that we've given to the young British composer Hannah Kendall.

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It's a piece that's been inspired

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by Lemn Sissay's poem of the same name

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and it's bold and punchy and energetic,

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apart from a contrasting slower and more lyrical section

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in the middle, ending on a sparkling flourish.

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I hope you enjoy it.

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APPLAUSE

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CHEERING

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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CHEERING

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Hello, my name is Sheku Kanneh-Mason and I'm a cellist.

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Tonight I'm going to be playing Dvorak's Rondo in G minor,

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and then I'm going to play one of my favourite pieces,

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the fun and virtuosic Hungarian Rhapsody by David Popper.

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So I look forward to it.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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CHEERING

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CHEERING

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-HE SINGS

-..off!

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We'll be playing a very, very moving piece

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by the African-American composer called George Walker.

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He turned 95 last June.

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Of course, we really wanted to have George here because everybody else

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who's involved that's alive is here with us.

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Unfortunately George wasn't quite well enough to be here,

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and so we beamed him in.

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-Everybody, this is George Walker. ALL:

-Hi!

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-'Hello!'

-Welcome.

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-You know Kevin already.

-Hello, George.

-'Hello, Kevin.'

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Good to see you.

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'It's great to be able to be a part of this.'

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Today we'll be playing this piece called Lyric for Strings

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and it's absolutely beautiful.

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It's taken from the slow movement of his string quartet

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that he wrote in response to the passing of his grandmother,

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and then shortly after she passed away,

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Martin Luther King was murdered, and so it's like a double dedication

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to his grandmother and Martin Luther King.

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I'm delighted that there's the opportunity

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for this work to be heard in the United Kingdom,

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and I hope that there will be many persons

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who have the opportunity of hearing it.

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Thank you so much.

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APPLAUSE

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APPLAUSE

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CHEERING

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My name is Jeanine De Bique and I'm a soprano from Trinidad and Tobago.

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This evening I will be performing Da Tempeste from Giulio Cesare

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by Handel, Rejoice Greatly from the Messiah, also by Handel,

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and I am excited to perform the piece Au Penchant Qui Nous Entraine

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by a black composer, Chevalier de Saint-Georges,

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that is not very often done.

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So I hope you enjoy.

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APPLAUSE

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SHE SINGS IN ITALIAN

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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SHE SINGS IN FRENCH

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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# Rejoice, rejoice Rejoice greatly

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# Rejoice, o daughter of Zion

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# O daughter of Zion, rejoice

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# Rejoice

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# Rejoice

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# O daughter of Zion Rejoice greatly

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# Shout, o daughter of Jerusalem

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# Behold, thy King cometh unto thee

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# Behold, thy King cometh unto thee

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# Cometh unto thee

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# He is the righteous saviour

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# And he shall speak peace unto the heathen

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# He shall speak peace

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# He shall speak peace

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# Peace, he shall speak peace unto the heathen

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# He is the righteous savour

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# And he shall speak

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# He shall speak peace

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# Peace

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# He shall speak peace

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# Unto the heathen

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# Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice greatly

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# Rejoice greatly

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# O daughter of Zion

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# Shout, o daughter of Jerusalem

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# Behold, thy King cometh unto thee

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# Rejoice

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# Rejoice

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# Shout, shout, shout, shout

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# Rejoice

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# Rejoice greatly O daughter of Zion

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# Shout, o daughter of Jerusalem

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# Behold, thy King cometh unto thee

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# Behold, thy King

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# Cometh unto thee. #

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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CHEERING

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My name is Kevin John Edusei

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and I'm the conductor of the Chineke! orchestra.

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The last piece on our programme

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is the Capriccio Espagnol by Rimsky-Korsakov.

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Rimsky-Korsakov travelled extensively

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and captured the melodies of Spain

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and the atmosphere of that country within his music.

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The audience went completely wild when piece was performed

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for the first time in 1887,

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and that's what we hope's going to happen tonight as well.

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So enjoy the ride.

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APPLAUSE

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CHEERING

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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CHEERING

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CHEERING

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CHEERING

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CHEERING AND WHISTLING

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CHEERING

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Europe's first majority BME orchestra comes to the Proms for the first time. Chineke! was founded two years ago by double bassist Chi-chi Nwanoku, and is joined tonight by the brilliant young cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, soprano Jeanine De Bique and conductor Kevin John Edusei. Their captivating programme features music by legendary American composer George Walker and a world premiere by Hannah Kendall, alongside works by Dvorak, Handel and Rimsky-Korsakov.