Monday, August 31, 2009

Nkeiru Okoye, African American Composer, Was A Featured 'FESAAM 2009' Presenter

[Nkeiru Okoye, photo at]

African Musical Arts, Inc. is: “A non-profit parent organization for African Chorus, African Music Publishers and the New Horizons Orchestra.” The Founder and President of AMA, Inc. is Dr. Fred Onovwerosuoke, a Ghanaian-born American composer who is also Editor of its newsletter, “The Voice of African Music.” Volume 16, No. 3 of the VOAM is the issue for Summer 2009, and continues to profile the featured presenters of “The Festival of African and African-American Music 2009” or “FESAAM 2009” earlier this year. Among them is Nkeiru Okoye, an African American composer:

“Nkeiru Okoye, Composer, pianist, and conductor
Nkeiru Okoye won her first award for writing music at the age of thirteen, while a student at the Preparatory Division of the Manhattan School of Music. A 1997 protégé composer for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's 'African-American Composer Symposium,' and a 1995 ASCAP Grant for Young Composers awardee, Okoye has also received recognition from such organizations as the NAACP, the Long Island Composer Alliance, New York Newsday, and the New York State Martin Luther King Jr. Commission. At the age of 16, the native Long Islander received a scholarship to attend Oberlin Conservatory of Music where she studied composition and the piano.

“Okoye traveled to London to work with Pulitzer Prize nominee, Ronald Senator, during the Fall of 1990. The following year, she received funding from the Ford-Mellon Foundation for ground breaking research on Black women composers, through which she authored 'A Finding Aid for the Works of Black Women Composers' and began a collection of works by Black women composers for the Oberlin College Conservatory Library. Okoye's compositions can be described as a collage of American, West African, and European musical traditions. In her score, 'The Genesis,' she uses the orchestra to imitate a talking drum ensemble, while elements of pop and funk were used in 'RUTH' an orchestral choreopoem. Traditional folk dances inspired her latest work, 'Spanish Songs for Tenor and String Orchestra.' The composer's unifying musical message has been well received by diverse audiences.”

“After receiving her bachelor's degree in music compositionin May of 1993, Okoye was awarded a Trustees Minority Fellowship at Rutgers University where she is currently pursuing her doctorate in composition under the tutelage of composer, Noel DaCosta.”

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