Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Akin Euba, Nigerian Composer and Musicologist Born in Lagos April 28, 1935

[Akin Euba, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Music, University of Pittsburgh]

Akin Euba is a Nigerian composer and musicologist who developed the theory of African Pianism. Euba was born in Lagos, Nigeria on April 28, 1935 and spent his early years there. He is a member of the Yoruba ethnic group and is profiled at AfriClassical.com His biography is Akin Euba: An Introduction to the Life and Music of a Nigerian Composer by Joshua Uzoigwe. It is a 1992 publication of the Bayreuth African Studies Series, edited by Prof. Eckhard Breitinger. Akin Euba received his first piano lessons from his father, beginning in 1943. Euba won first prize at the First Nigerian Festival of the Arts in 1950. In four years at Trinity College of Music, Akin Euba earned three degrees in piano performance and teacher training.

Uzoigwe tells us Akin Euba regarded his first major composition to be a 1956 work, Introduction and Allegro for Orchestra. He earned Fellowship diplomas at the College in 1957 in Composition and Piano Performance. Euba submitted a string quartet for the Composition Fellowship. He went back to Nigeria in 1957 and served as a Senior Programme Assistant (Music) at the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation until his promotion to Head of Music in 1960. The author continues: “Two works which were written as a result of his experiences at this time are Six Yoruba Songs for voice and piano, and Two Yoruba Folk Songs for unaccompanied choir. They were both completed in 1959. In the same year that he was promoted as Head of Music (1960), Akin Euba wrote another work entitled The Wanderer for violoncello and piano.”

Akin Euba's curriculum vitae observes that his creative concepts have no better representation than the opera Chaka, MRI 0001CD (1999). “Briefly stated, Chaka is a fusion of 20th century techniques of composition with stylistic elements derived from African traditional music, particularly the music of the Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria. Moreover, the orchestra is a combination of African and Western instruments.” [Full Biography

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