The Chineke! Foundation has announced Ije Nwokorie as the new Chair of the Board of Trustees. In the classical music sector, where Black performers and senior management are rarely seen, Nwokorie becomes just one of only a few Black leaders to chair a major UK or European orchestra.
The appointment reinforces Chineke!’s profile as a majority Black and ethnically diverse orchestra, supported by a similarly diverse Board of Trustees, and demonstrates its commitment to driving diverse representation throughout the industry.
The Chineke! Foundation has been championing the cause of diversity and inclusion in the classical music industry since it was founded by Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE in 2015. In five short years it has gained international acclaim for the performances of its professional orchestra and ensembles, highlighting the works of Black composers past and present, previously neglected from concert platforms alongside those from the great canon, as well as fostering new talent through the groundbreaking Chineke! Junior Orchestra and Learning and Participation programme.
Ije Nwokorie is a Senior Director at Apple. He was previously the CEO of global branding firm, Wolff Olins. Ije has been recognised by GQ as one of the UK’s 100 most connected men, by Creative Review as one of the UK’s 50 most creative leaders and by Powerlist as one of the UKs 100 most influential people of African and African-Caribbean heritage.
Ije Nwokorie said:
“It is a real honour to chair this Board. Chi-chi and the team have created a remarkable organisation that is already transforming the cultural landscape and quickly becoming one of the most modern and vibrant expressions of classical music on the planet. ”
Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE, Chineke! Founder and Ambassador for Intergenerational Music Making said:
“We are thrilled that Ije is joining us, bringing his much valued strategic insights to help guide Chineke! to the next level. We feel very optimistic about the future, and confident that we will forge a path through what may be challenging times ahead for the arts and culture sector, in preparation for what we hope will be a post-pandemic, post-Brexit recovery and celebration!”
The Chineke! Board of Trustees is a dynamic and evolving governance team with expertise from across the arts and business sectors: Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp CBE, Freelance Arts & Culture Consultant, former Director of The Africa Centre and previously CEO of The Place; novelist and essayist Candace Allen, the first African-American woman admitted to the Directors’ Guild of America; Dawid Konotey-Ahulu, Entrepreneur and Co-Founder of investment consultancy firm Redington Ltd; Diane Henry-Lepart, Founder and Managing Director of FEND Capital Partners Ltd; John Basnage, Managing Director at Full Circle Capital; Krishna Thiagarajan, CEO and President of Seattle Symphony, as well as Chineke! Founder and celebrated double bassist Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE.