Chineke! Orchestra heads to Fairfield Halls

As the reopening of Fairfield Halls in Croydon approaches, BH Live is pleased to announce that Chineke! Orchestra will become an ‘Orchestra in Partnership’ at the venue.

Founded by musician Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE in 2015 Chineke! Orchestra is the first professional orchestra in Europe to be made up of majority black and minority ethnic musicians.

It joins the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and resident orchestra London Mozart Players, in presenting concerts and events at the largest arts centre in South London.

Fairfield Hall’s Venue and Artistic Director, Neil Chandler, said,

“I am delighted Chi-chi and her wonderful orchestra has joined our calendar of world-class classical concerts at Fairfield Halls. Our audience reaches across the Surrey and Kent borders and of course Croydon so for local concert goers to have the opportunity to listen to orchestras of such a high calibre, will be integral to the success of Fairfield Halls.”

Chineke!’s sister ensemble, The Chineke! Junior Orchestra, with players aged 11-22 years old, will also be performing at the venue during the Croydon Youth Arts Takeover on Saturday 2 November 2019. The junior orchestra is set to perform Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Othello Suite and young people from local schools in Croydon will be presenting original dance pieces they have created in response to the music. This will take place at 2.30pm in the venue’s Arnhem Foyer and will be free to attend.

Chi-chi says,

Chineke! is honoured to join Fairfield Halls as ‘Orchestra in Partnership’.

“It seems a natural fit for us given that Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, a composer whose work features so prominently in our repertoire, lived most of his life in Croydon before his untimely death aged 37 years. I’m delighted that Fairfield Halls has agreed to dedicate the ‘Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Suite’ to his memory, being a fitting tribute and a kind of homecoming for a virtuoso who deserves to be ranked among Britain’s most eminent composers.

“We hope that Chineke!’s partnership with Fairfield Halls will inspire young talented musicians of all ethnicities from the area to revive and build on the legacy that Coleridge-Taylor started over a century ago.”

Councillor Oliver Lewis, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport added,

“We are delighted to welcome Chineke! Orchestra to Croydon.

“We invested in Fairfield Halls because we wanted to create a world-class arts centre in the heart of our borough, where everyone could be inspired to experience and participate in the arts.

“This vision is now becoming a reality, with an exciting range of national and local arts organisations – that truly reflect the rich diversity of our community – working in partnership with our stunning new venue, creating a wealth of opportunities for both audiences and artists alike.”


Notes to Editors:

Banner and homepage; Chineke! Junior Orchestra: Credit Eric Richmond

About Chineke! Orchestra –

The Chineke! Foundation was established in 2015 to provide career opportunities to young Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) classical musicians in the UK and Europe. Chineke!’s motto is: ‘Championing change and celebrating diversity in classical music’. The organisation aims to be a catalyst for change, realising existing diversity targets within the industry by increasing the representation of BME musicians in British and European orchestras.

The Foundation’s flagship ensemble, the Chineke! Orchestra, comprises exceptional musicians from across the continent brought together multiple times per year. As Europe’s first majority-BME orchestra, the Chineke! Orchestra performs a mixture of standard orchestral repertoire along with the works of BME composers both past and present.

The Chineke! Orchestra works closely with its sister ensemble, the Chineke! Junior Orchestra, a youth orchestra of BME players aged 11-22, with senior players acting as mentors, teachers and role models to the young musicians. With many of our junior musicians already benefitting from several existing youth schemes, junior music colleges and specialist music schools across the UK.

The Chineke! Junior Orchestra acts as a bridge between such schemes and higher education, giving its players experience, encouragement and confidence during their formative years, with the hope of increasing the numbers of BME candidates currently studying music at third level. This process has already begun, with several of the junior musicians having won national competitions, gained places at top music schools or been admitted to study at elite third level institutions.

About Fairfield Halls, Croydon

Croydon Council is transforming Croydon’s much-loved theatre – the Fairfield Halls – with a multi-million pound refurbishment, creating a world-class arts centre in the heart of the town. The new venue will be the jewel in the crown of a new cultural quarter for Croydon and its refurbishment a key part of one of the most ambitious regeneration projects the town has ever seen. The award-winning design from MICA architects protects Fairfield’s rich architectural heritage as celebrated by the National Trust Edge City tours, while completely upgrading the building. The project is being delivered by Brick by Brick, the development company established by the council.

Fairfield Halls will be a centre for arts, culture, entertainment and community participation, operated by BH Live in partnership with the council.

When the venue opens on 16 September 2019, it will have a concert hall, theatre, meeting rooms, restaurants, bars, retail catering areas and performance spaces. It will host a diverse programme of events including concerts, cultural events, musicals, theatre productions, conferences and exhibitions, meetings and banquets. The venue will deliver a broad mix of music, dance, opera, comedy, light entertainment, community and corporate events.

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About BH Live

BH Live is a leading operator of leisure and event venues; a social enterprise that designs and builds engaging experiences to inspire people and enrich lives.

With more than five million visits a year and £42 million turnover we are changing lives and are at the heart of the UK’s growing social economy.

In 2017/18 we had 4.5 million leisure centre attendances, hosted more than 500 events and sold over half a million cultural, sporting and entertainment event tickets. We also welcomed 59,000 conference and exhibition delegates.

This generated an estimated £53 million in local economic benefit.

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For more information about BH Live please contact:

Elizabeth Symmons, PR & Corporate Communications Executive
T: (01202) 055562