The Art Of Music Foundation Celebrates 10 Years Since Inception

The Art of Music Foundation celebrated 10 years since inception with stellar performances headlined by Polish music composer, conductor and producer JIMEK (Radzimir Debski) and top Kenyan Orchestras.

The Foundation which 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. The celebration started with a Gala dinner on the evening of 30th November at the Trademark Hotel, followed by an open concert on the afternoon of 1st December at Amani Gardens in Karura Forest.

“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. We started with nothing more than faith and hope for a brighter future and 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 KES 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.

Poland Artist and Composer Jimek with Cyndicate Kabei one of the SYO students at the Safaricom Art of Music concert celebrating 10 years at Imani gardens Karura forest over the weekend.
Poland Artist and Composer Jimek with Cyndicate Kabei one of the SYO students at the Safaricom Art of Music concert celebrating 10 years at Imani gardens Karura forest over the weekend.

In addition, the Pole has donated KES 800,000 to cater for the needs of the children which was part of a cash prize he won at the Polish Film Academy Awards for 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.

Art of Music 10 year anniversary concert on 30th November

Founded in 2009, The Art of Music has been in existence to promote the performance and appreciation of art music in Kenya and use it’s transformative power to change lives, particularly of those living in underprivileged areas of the country.

The focuses is on two programmes. Firstly, Ghetto Classics, a community programme that involves over 500 children in Korogocho and thousands 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). This is a music ensemble that brings together talented young musicians from all walks of life in the country.

These programmes have been generously supported through donations from individuals and organisations that believe that “Making Music can Make A Difference.”

The discipline, teamwork, focus and commitment that the children learn from being musicians and playing in an orchestra has translated to their school and home lives, making Ghetto Classics and KNYO students stand out above the rest. There has been an improvement in grades and this is particularly so in the Korogocho programme as all the children are self-motivated to stay in school and are assisted with their fees when necessary.

These students have had their horizons widened because of the exposure that they have gained. They have played with children from totally different backgrounds and they have had outstanding experiences in concerts that they have been a part of, or watched. They have also traveled to different places in the world with some going out to as far as the United States and Europe to perform with other musicians. All these wonderful opportunities have come, thanks to music.

On the 30th November 2019, The Art of Music will be holding their 10-year anniversary fundraising concert featuring Ghetto Classics, The National Youth Orchestra of Kenya (KNYO) and the Safaricom Youth Orchestra alongside, Polish composer JIMEK and the Swiss Mexican pianist Jorge Viladoms, who have both generously donated their time and expertise to be part of this concert.

The tickets cost 10.000Ksh per person and includes dinner. It will be held at the Trademark Hotel.

Jimek In Kenya rehearsing with the orchestra
Jimek In Kenya rehearsing with the orchestra