The Art of Music Foundation, an organisation that promotes the performance and appreciation of art music in Kenya and use its transformative power to change lives, celebrated 10 years since its inception on Saturday and Sunday.
The celebrations witnessed stellar performances headlined by Polish music composer, conductor, and producer JIMEK (Radzimir Debski) and top Kenyan Orchestras.
Art of Music Foundation was represented by the National Youth Orchestra of Kenya, Ghetto Classics and the Safaricom Youth Orchestra was also joined on stage by renowned Mexican pianist Jorge Viladoms.
“10 years ago I would never have thought that we would come this far. We have had lots of challenges along the way, however, we have been able to overcome them due to the optimism of the 1,500 children under our guidance and care. The support we have received from donors, local and international musicians, and the Safaricom International Jazz Festival has been priceless,” said Elizabeth Njoroge, Director, Art of Music Foundation.
JIMEK and Viladoms who have come to Kenya at different times for Safaricom International Jazz Festival have been collaborating with Art of Music Foundation by doing voluntary music classes with the children over the years.
“The Ghetto Classics music programme has been a beneficiary of the Safaricom International Jazz Festival since 2014 and has received Ksh 60 million, funds that have benefitted over 1,500 children from Nairobi and Mombasa,” said Sylvia Mulinge, Chief Customer Officer, Safaricom.
“Playing Hip Hop on classical instruments is something you have to practice for a long time before you get it right, which the orchestra does and it shows the kind of talent these young musicians have. I would like to congratulate Elizabeth and her team for work well done,” said JIMEK.
JIMEK was one of the headliners for the 2018 edition of Safaricom International Jazz Festival. He has worked on several projects with Ghetto Classics, among them, producing a song for Ghetto Classics member Cyndicate Kabei, titled Asante.
In addition, the Pole has donated Ksh 800,000 to cater to the needs of the children which was part of a cash prize he won at the Polish Film Academy Awards for the best score to Sztuka Kochania/ Art of Loving in 2018.
Viladoms has been working closely with Ghetto Classics for four years and has committed to take 14 members of the music program to play alongside his students at the Youth Olympics in Lausanne, Switzerland in January 2020.
The foundation focuses on two programmes. First is the Ghetto Classics, a community programme that involves over 500 children in Korogocho and hundreds more in satellite areas around Nairobi, Kiambu and Mombasa through the Link UP project. The second is a musical and leadership training programme, The National Youth Orchestra of Kenya (KNYO), a music ensemble that brings together talented young musicians from all walks of life in the country.
The Art of Music also manages the Safaricom Youth Orchestra (SYO).