Arts  

MUSON unveils 2018 feast

Chief Femi Adeniyi Williams (Trustee), Dr. Mrs. Femi Akinkugbe (Trustee), Mrs. Francesca Emanuel (Trustee), Mrs. Nimi Akinkugbe (Member, Festival Planning Committee), Mr. Adedamola Adeniyi (Dangote Group)

The publisher of The Guardian Newspapers, Lady Maiden Alex-Ibru, will headline the 2018 My Kind of Music programme of this year’s Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) Festival of Arts. The event holds on October 18, 2018.

The other high networth personalities and celebrities on the programme are, founder of Lights! Camera! Action!, Mrs. Ugoma Adegoke; founder of Lagos Jazz Series, Oti Bazunu, and Secretary, Board of Trustees, MUSON, Mr. Adeyemi Akinsanya.

During the programme, they will take guests on a musical journey through their memories, experiences and life philosophies.

Making this known at the unveiling of this year’s festival was Dr. (Mrs.) Femi Akinkugbe, a Trustee of MUSON, who stood in for the chairman of the planning committee, Kitoyi Ibare-Akinsan.

She disclosed that the festival has expanded and improved a lot since inception. She equally urged government and patrons to contribute to the national effort of discovering and nurturing youths.

The festival begins on Wednesday, October 17 with two major events, a youth concert tagged, MusicQuest. The concert is a platform to showcase and encourage young talents.

Formerly called Talent Hunt, it is a competition that provides a platform of expression for these upcoming artistes. It’s also a competition aimed at discovering and nurturing young talents, especially those within the ages of 14 to 21.

The range of music could be from classical to contemporary tunes, hymns and the music of current serious composers. From Bach to Mozart and their likes, the finalists are expected to show their understanding of good musicianship. They are not allowed to do rap, hip-hop and other extemporaneous genres.

The other event scheduled for the opening day is the festival exhibition tagged, Music Meets Art. The show, which is in partnership with the Society of Nigerian Artists, ends on October 28.

The second day is devoted to My Kind of Music, while the third day sees Legend… A Musical, lined up. It is produced courtesy of a partnership with Seeing Through the Art and De Classical. The event holds first weekend of the festival (October 19 to 21)

Legend tells stories of some selected African legends and kingdoms through music and dance.

Gbenga Yusuf, creative director of Declassical Arts and Entertainment, said, the programme “is about we telling our stories ourselves through arts and music.”

Also billed for the first weekend is Danjuma Festival Opera. The opera is Don Giovanni by Mozart. It is based on the legends of Don Juan, a fictional libertine and seducer. It was premiered by the Prague Italian opera at the National Theatre (of Bohemia), now called the Estates Theatre, on October 29, 1787.

Although sometimes classified as comic, it blends comedy, melodrama and supernatural elements.

The opera was commissioned as a result of the overwhelming success of Mozart’s trip to Prague in January and February 1787. The subject matter may have been chosen in consideration of the long history of Don Juan operas in Prague; the genre of 18th-century Don Juan opera originated in Prague.

There will be dinner and art auction on October 24 and another concert in partnership with friends of Azerbaijan tagged, Quand L’est Recontre L’ouest. MUSON Day is October 25. MUSON Chamber Orchestra will supply music on that day. There will also be cocktail and awards. Festival Jazz Party is on October 26 and Chevron Festival Drama will follow on October 27. Kenneth Uphopho of PAWStudios directs the drama titled, Such is Life by Femi Osofisan.

The grand finale is October 28. Billed to hold that day is Total Festival Gala Concert. The MUSON Choir, MUSON Chamber Orchestra and the MUSON Junior Choir will perform.

Speaking at the unveiling, MUSON patron, Mrs. Francesa Yetunde Emanuel, stressed the need for more sponsorship to enable the Society continue the good legacy of founders.

While calling on more support for the festival, which is in its 22nd year, Gboyega Banjo, chief executive of MUSON, stressed the need for Nigerians to embrace music as part of education.

He said that education without a blend of music is incomplete. His words: “A country without music is one without culture. Music is the soul of culture.”

MUSON was founded in 1983 as a result of the interaction and commitment of some friends who love and appreciate classical music. These distinguished Nigerians included Mr. Akintola Williams, Mr. Louis Mbanefo, Chief Ayo Rosiji, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi and Mrs. Emanuel.

The main objective of MUSON is the promotion of the understanding, enjoyment and performance of classical and contemporary music in Nigeria.

The Society runs a basic school as well as a government accredited School of Music, which, among others, provides quality music education up to the professional level. The School’s Diploma programme alumni, now numbering over 200, increasingly constitute the bulk of young music professionals in Nigeria where they work as teachers in schools, performers in orchestras, entrepreneurs in the music industry etc. Others have gone on to pursue higher education in music in American, European and South African Universities.

The Society is the proud owner of Nigeria’s only professional Symphony Orchestra and a renowned Choir, both of which now constitute unique platforms for training and grooming promising young Nigerian artistes and instrumentalists in the performance of classical and orchestral music at the highest level.

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