Chetham’s celebrates Black History Month

Chetham’s School of Music – the UK’s leading specialist music school – provides an academic and musical education to more than 300 of the finest young musicians in the UK.

Black History Month celebrations at Chetham’s are well underway, spanning the full academic curriculum, with students being encouraged to read and share works by black authors, including At Night all Blood is Black by Senegalese writer David Diop, a tale of two Senegalese soldiers in the First World War.

Chetham’s junior students have completed research projects on important historical black figures, from Rosa Parks to Barack Obama, Mae Jemison to Louis Armstrong.

Meanwhile, public concerts during Chetham’s October music course include two remarkable works by inspirational black composers.

Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra will perform Fairtrade by Ayanna Witter-Johnson, on Friday 22 October. Witter-Johnson – a British composer of Jamaican heritage – is a singer, songwriter and cellist. She was a MOBO award shortlist nominee for Best Jazz Act in 2012 and has composed for the London Symphony Orchestra.

Chetham’s musicians will perform her work at The Stoller Hall, on Friday 22 October, in the first Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra concert at the venue since before the pandemic.

On Thursday 21 October at The Stoller Hall, Chetham’s Lower School Orchestra will perform Symphony in G Major by Jospeh Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (pictured above).

Bologne was a true trailblazer. Born the son of a slave and a white plantation owner in 1745, he became a violin virtuoso, a leading conductor, and a composer in the court of Marie Antoinette. One of the first classical music composers of African ancestry, he lived a remarkable life and left a lasting legacy.

Chetham’s School of Music is a charity, with a mission to nurture young people regardless of background or financial situation. As the UK’s largest specialist music school, our student body comprises more than 300 students from 28 different cultures and ethnic backgrounds, with a common passion for music.


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