Julian Lloyd Webber: The rich world of African classical music

Julian Lloyd Webber: The rich world of African classical musicMarch 31, 2021

Musician Rebeca Omordia has spent years unearthing the classical music of a whole continent, culminating in the hugely successful African Concert Series

While the Wigmore Hall has rightly garnered plaudits for keeping classical music alive during lockdown, another pioneering concert series has also beaten the odds with its series of online live events.

The African Concert Series is the brainchild of my former duo partner, the pianist Rebeca Omordia. She has half-Romanian, half-Nigerian heritage. But while we would often discuss world-renowned Romanian classical musicians such as composer Georges Enescu, pianist Dinu Lipatti and conductor Sergiu Celibidache, when it came to Nigerian classical composers, we drew a blank. “There aren’t any,” said Rebeca. I told her there must be, and challenged her to find them. This was back in 2013, and her subsequent research has uncovered more than 200 composers of African art music, Nigerians among them.

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