New Faces of Classical Music

Olatoye Babatunde and Idowu Emmanuel

By Vanessa Obioha

Thirty young Nigerians will be performing in a virtual concert on Monday as part of their graduation from the Musical Society of Nigeria.

The scholars are recipients of MTN Nigeria’s MUSON Scholars Programme. In the past 13 years, MTN has provided scholarships for over 300 Nigerians to study a two-year diploma programme in the music institution.

For some of the scholars, the programme is a dream come true. Take, for instance, Femi Olawoyin, a 26-year-old violinist, who bought his first violin from his first salary and consequently had “to trek to work for a month!”

His eyes beamed when he spoke about receiving the scholarship award in 2018, “It felt good! Absolutely amazing…” Olawoyin has been playing musical instruments for over two decades and has featured in concerts within and outside Nigeria.

During one of the class’ rehearsals on Friday, 25-year-old voice major Bolaji Anuoluwapo revealed that music wasn’t her parents’ first or even 10th choice for her.

“Initially my parents weren’t in support of me studying music. I had to meet my requirements for applications through hard work. So, without the scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to sponsor myself through MUSON.” Thankfully, she was able to patch things up with her family.

The hope and optimism that shines through the minds of the graduates cannot be mistaken as they prepare to dazzle the world on Monday, August 24.

They recognize they are the future of Nigerian music and have chosen to carry that burden with pride. So, whether it is learning lines in German for an operative performance like Chinyeaka Chigozie or fasting for days to be able to afford pieces of his instrument like violin major, George Emmanuel, they are throwing all in the ring to deliver the best.

The concert will be streamed live on YouTube at 4:00 pm