The Ghana National Music Festival
This year was especially important as we incorporated three new pillars for our growth: The GNMF Youth Orchestra, the Student Fellowship, and the Student Spotlight. As a brief background, the GNMF Youth Orchestra is one of Ghana’s first institutionalized youth orchestras and the first to work closely with members of Ghana’s National Symphony Orchestra. The Student Fellowship and Spotlight awards are given to an American undergraduate student and Ghanaian GNMF student, respectively, which allows them to participate in the festival as a student
but also invites them to work with myself and the GNMF team in coordinating and administering the festival the following year. Awardees are also invited to give a 30-minute recital or lecture the during their year’s GNMF institute.
This year’s Fellowship winner – Wesley Phillips, saxophone – came from the Schwob School of Music. He gave a wonderful recital and was instrumental in the success of this year’s institute! This year’s Spotlight winner – Samuel Quayson, cello – is president of the Acacia Woods String Orchestra. He showed incredible leadership skills throughout the week and was the unanimous choice for this award. We look forward to working with Samuel next year and we hope to see Wesley return as a guest artist!
Our first installment of the youth orchestra was such an exciting and inspiring experience for all involved. While some members of our orchestra were accustomed to some form of ensemble work, for many, the idea of rehearsing at the University of Ghana while working with the director of the National Symphony was novel and somewhat intimidating. However, the students held themselves professionally andgave a moving performance at the end of the week. Additionally, we had the honor of hosting American composer Brian Goodall. After visiting the Elmina Castle in 2009, Mr. Goodall composed “Elmina” – a striking memorialization of the tragedies of the form slave trading castle. The GNMF Youth Orchestra had the incredible opportunity to work with Mr. Goodall for four days before giving the Ghanaian premiere of the work during our final gala concert. It was an emotional, spirit filled performance that all involved will remember for years to come.
This year’s institute was pivotal in the future of the GNMF. The three additions mentioned above created the foundation of our long-term mission: to create a platform of artistic exchange between American and Ghanaian faculty and students. I look forward to seeing how this mission comes to fruition in the years to come. Next year presents another exciting change to our institute. We will be splitting our time between the University of Ghana and the National Theater. Mr. Isaac Anoh – Director of the National Symphony – has offered to host the 2018 GNMF for daily orchestra rehearsals and faculty concerts at the National Theater. This presents a logistical aid for us as the National Theater has space dedicated to orchestral work and formal recitals and is closer to many of the student’s homes. Thank you Mr. Anoh for such a generous offer!
With two years now in the books, the GNMF is quickly establishing itself as an institute of world-class art and has already become a medium for cultural and artistic exchange. I would like to personally thank all who were involved this year.To the students and faculty, your dedication, sacrifice, and hard work have and continue to make itself evident both in Ghana and the USA. To our donors and sponsors, your generosity has directly affected the lives and careers of students and faculty in both countries. Your dedication and sacrifice is not only an inspiration to
me but to the myriad of people watching us.
Thank you all for your support, without you this institute would not exist.
Director, Ghana National Music Festival
Dear Friends of Music,
I am elated to report that the second edition of the Ghana National Music Festival
was a resounding success! We hosted 40 students from around the greater Accra
region for an intense week of lessons, ensembles, lectures and performances led by
faculty from the University of Ghana, the Ghana National Symphony, and various
institutions in the United States.
This year’s featured theme was chamber music. While we continued the tradition of
lessons and coachings, our lectures were focused on repertoire development and
ensemble musicianship. We had wonderful discussions on structuring practice
sessions and rehearsals, aspects of professional collaboration, and a lecture on
musician’s health. Like last year, we also had a very welcomed and lively
demonstration by Seperwa master and UofG professor Osei Korankye.