Chineke Orchestra accused of refusing to play God Save the King at performance in Switzerland


A diversity orchestra has been accused after the group refused to play the National Anthem.

It is reported that as directed by the founder of The Chineke Orchestra, Chi-chi Nwanoku did not play God Save the King at the performance in Switzerland during the mourning period of longest serving monarch of Britain, Queen Elizabeth II.


Sixty-six-year-old Chineke Orchestra director Chi-chi Nwanoku, in an Email, wrote the wording “The Chineke! Orchestra is full of musicians not from the UK and many who are directly from their ancestors being enslaved. We will not be recreating the National Anthem in Lucerne.”

After a few days after the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September at Balmoral, the famous Orchestra was invited to play at the prestigious Lucerne Festival in central Switzerland.

A 62-strong group of young performers, it was founded in 2015 as the first professional Orchestra in Europe to be primarily made up of people who are black or from other ethnically various groups.

It has previously played at the Proms and has received hundreds of thousands of pounds in funding from Arts Council England.

Organisers and the Orchestra’s young players had proposed opening the concert with the national anthem. Still, this request was rejected by Ms Nwanoku, who was given a CBE in the Queen’s birthday recognition earlier this year for services to music and diversity. She was also awarded an MBE in 2001 and an OBE in 2017.

In a statement, she added, “I would be excessively awkward imposing it on people who are not British and not nationalistic, and the list goes on. It does not mean we are not unhappy that the Queen has died.”


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