By Chris Onuoha
In line with a continued music collaboration and cultural exchange between The Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) and the German Embassy in Nigeria, the Consulate in Lagos last Thursday made good their supportive initiative by presenting musical instruments to MUSON worth over N20 million to enhance the institution’s standard.
This is coming at the heels of a robust cultural relationship the Embassy in Nigeria has maintained with the Nigeria’s prestigious music school over the years. MUSON music school situated at the Shell MUSON center at Onikan in Lagos has been the hub of elitist delight providing not only the best classical shows but also trains the best hands in orchestra and opera performances in the country.
Speaking at the presentation held at the School’s administrative hall in Onikan, Ingo Herbert, German Consul General in Lagos stated, “German Embassy has been a great supporter of MUSON for a long time, I would say, that they consider classic music that is practiced here. I am amazed to see how many people love classical music and play the Orchestra. Therefore for us, it is part of cultural corporation to support classical music in the country to raise the standard and appreciation. Classical music gets a lot of attention and patronage in Germany and the rest of Europe where there are rich infrastructure and public support. This is really a field where we can boost corporation between the two countries.”
Speaking further, Mr. Herbert added, “Mr. Michael Vollhardt- a conductor based in Germany comes here because he is someone who has worked around the world with orchestras and loves to come also to Lagos Nigeria to work with MUSON and has established the relationship but that was directly between him and MUSON. From the German Consulate (German Government), we are for broad-range cultural corporation. This is one field we would say “let’s support”, it is also our heritage and tradition which is an interesting thing because you see it as Nigerian music but we see it as world music as well.
He also mentioned that, “The famous Afro beat legend, Fela Kuti, yes, was a Nigerian musician but father of Music that influenced so many contemporary music worldwide and I would say he produced world music from Africa. Also, Hugh Masekela was a South African trumpeter and activist but a world musician from Africa. Nigerians love concerts music. Whether it is jazz, hip-hop or classital, it is a wonderful tool to connect people easily and show we all understand things as human beings. Nigerian music is danceable. In Berlin for example, Tekno is much more the style to dance. When it comes to contemporary music, Tekno is at the center. He comes from a very industrial sound. Hip hop is much more relaxing to dance.”
The vice chairman of MUSON, Louis Mbanefo in his acceptance speech said, “We have come today to receive presentation of violins, violas and spare parts from the German Embassy. We are very thrilled but the Germans have been very supportive of MUSON. Right from the inception of MUSON some 34 years ago, the German Embassy has been very active through the Goethe Institut which is the cultural arm of the embassy and they have provided us with a lot of comfort with musicians coming from Germany. They have been extremely supportive and encouraging. Apart from the Embassy, we have had the Germany School in Lagos; the Musical Director has also been very active in taking part in our concerts and other activities. In addition to that, we have had an artistic director from Germany, Mr. Thomas kanitz; we also have currently a conductor from Germany Mr. Michael Vollhardt who comes about three to four times a year to conduct the MUSON orchestra.
“These are developments that we are happy about. MUSON has a Diploma School of Music which awards Diploma in music after a two-year course and is heavily sponsored by the MTN Foundation. Many of the products of this school, over three hundred, play major roles making music in the society. They play in churches, teach music, perform at social functions and so on. Many of them have gone to study overseas and have won international accolades for their performances. MUSON is providing an avenue of employment for a lot of talented musicians who otherwise wouldn’t have such opportunity. These are things that the MUSON is doing.
“In addition we have our regular concerts, our MUSON Festival comes up October of every year and recently we created an Opera Department. One of our Alumni who went to Europe to study Opera for three years, and he is doing tremendous things. These are things happening in MUSON. When people say it is irrelevant to the society, they couldn’t be more wrong because music is a very important part of any society and MUSON is providing avenue not just for the enjoyment of music for production of future musician and for providing employment for future musicians.”
Also Manuel Druminski, a music instructor from Germany teaching at MUSON added, “The instruments presented to MUSON today will go a long way to help the students who I find very eager and enthusiastic to learn. I came in here in 2017 during a Masterclass conference and I discovered that Nigerians have good musicality and voice for music. This donation will further enhance their performance and appreciation of classical music.
Arch. Kitoyi Ibare-Akinsan, one of the directors at MUSON also said “It is a welcome development coming from a long time supportive friend, the German embassy. Having received all these gadgets, for us here, it requires the policy of maintenance and discipline. We will ensure that the instruments are well maintained. This will also help the music industry in the country despite the fact that other genres seem to lack some level of discipline which we take into consideration at MUSON.”