Chineke! Foundation


Viva Chineke! Viva Musica!

At the Chineke! Foundation, we think that all young people deserve the chance to grow and develop as musicians, regardless of who they are or where they come from. Chineke! therefore seeks to be a force for good in the classical music industry, levelling the playing field for young Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) music students, and helping to create a vibrant new generation of professional musicians of all colours.


At the Chineke! Foundation, our goal is to make music, so at the heart of our project are our two orchestras.

The Chineke! Orchestra is Europe’s first, professional all-BME orchestra. Drawn from orchestras across the continent, our players represent some of the best musicians of any colour working in Europe today.

Chosen through a rigourous audition process, the Chineke! Junior Orchestra represents the very best young BME talent between the ages of 11-18. Mentored and tutored by our senior musicians, the Junior Orchestra is truly where the future of classical music lies!

Board members

Meet the two sisters that make up half the Board of Directors


Candace Allen

Candace Allen is a novelist and essayist, with a particular affinity towards music. In her book Soul Music The Pulse of Race and Music she investigated the inspirational personal, social and political power of music, visiting the Sistema programme in Caracas and its off-shoots in the UK and US as well as similar projects in Palestine and Kinsasha. Her novel Valaida, was based on the life of trumpet-player Valaida Snow. She was a political activist in her time at Harvard University in the late 60s/early 70s – instrumental in the establishment of its African and African-American Studies Department, now headed by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. — and again during the 2008 Obama campaign. She is frequently asked for broadcast and newspaper comment on culture, race and politics.

In a previous life she was the first African-American female member of the Directors Guild of America, spending some twenty years in Hollywood film production. She lived in Berlin for several years in the 1980s and has lived in London since 1994.


JOYLady Joy Amazu

Joy qualified as a chartered accountant with Horwath Clark Whitehill and became a member of both the ICAEW & ICAN, in doing so, setting a Guinness world record for the most chartered accountants in one family along with her father Chief David Dafinone and her 3 brothers and sister.

After qualifying as an accountant Joy worked for KPMG in their UK Financial Services tax division before joining General Electric (GE).

In 2003, she became a partner at Horwath Dafinone, the largest indigenous firm of Chartered Accountants in Nigeria. Joy used her expertise in UK tax to customise Sage’s payroll software in the Nigerian market and in 2005 the firm were in the top 10 resellers of SAGE worldwide.

Following the birth of her first daughter in 2006, Joy joined Amazoil, where she is now a director.

Founder – Chi-chi Nwanoku MBE

Chi-chi Nwanoku MBE
Chi-chi Nwanoku MBE

Chi-chi is Principal Double Bassist and co-founder of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. She is Professor of Double Bass Historical Studies at the Royal Academy of Music, and was made a Fellow there 1998.

Her range of musical interests has resulted in a broad career performing and recording in a diversity of styles from authentic baroque through to 21st century and new commissions, with many of Europe’s leading chamber orchestras and ensembles. Some of her notable chamber recordings include Schubert’s ‘Trout’ Quintet (recorded three times), and Octet, Beethoven Septet, Hummel Piano quintet and Boccherini Sonatas. Her solo recording of Dittersdorf and Vanhal Concertos with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra; Hyperion CD 67179 received critical acclaim.

In 2012 Barrie Gavin directed a documentary film about Chi-chi’s career, called ‘Tales from the Bass Line’.

As a broadcaster, Chi-chi presented BBC Radio 3 Requests for four years, she guests for the TV Proms and was Jury member of BBC 2 TV Classical Star. She will be presenting a new two part series for BBC Radio 4 in 2015 which brings to life the stories and music of black composers and musicians from the eighteenth century, whose vivid presence on the classical music scene have slipped through the net!

She sits on the Board of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, is a Patron of the Mayor of London’s Fund for Young Musicians, Music Preserved, and the Cherubim Trust. Chi-chi is a past board member of the Association of British Orchestras.

The Salomon Prize was launched in 2011 by the ABO/RPS and celebrates the ‘unsung heroes’ of orchestral life; the orchestral players that make our orchestras great. It is Chi-chi’s brainchild.

Chi-chi was awarded an MBE for services to Music in the 2001 Queen’s Birthday honours. She was voted one of the ‘100 – Happy List’ in the Independent on Sunday 2011. And she still loves the blues!

Read more on her website including tour dates.

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  1. Truly inspiring and I especially love the all woman board members which may sound clichéd but in this world we live in, women would be the game changers. At least that’s how things get noticed!
    Wishing them all the best!

  2. B.W.I.E (™)

    Me too!

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