“…His [FredO’s] is a fresh voice in a quagmire of sameness….”
– David Hodgkins
ONOVWEROSUOKE pronounced “OH-NOH-WEH-roh-suoh-keh”
Born in Ghana to Nigerian parents, multiple award-winning composer Fred Onovwerosuoke grew up in both countries before settling in the United States. “FredO,” as friends call him, has spent time in over thirty African countries researching and analyzing some of Africa’s rich music traditions. “I see hidden across Africa a gold-mine of unlimited musical scales and modes, melodic and harmonic traditions, and, yes, rhythms – abundant yet largely untapped,” says Onovwerosuoke of his dominant influences. He also maintains that “my compositions are informed by my travels around the world, and each piece is harnessed and nurtured by an African sensibility that is unmistakable and genuine.” FredO has also traveled in the American Deep South, the Caribbean and South America for comparative research in what he likes to call “traceable musical Africanisms.” His influences are wide and varied, and is much at home discussing Beethoven, Debussy and Stravinsky as well as foremost exponents of various traditional musics. In 1994 he founded the St. Louis African Chorus to help nurture African choral music as a mainstream repertoire for performance and education in America. Today, the organization’s mission has broadened to include classical/art music by lesser-known composers particularly of African descent and renamed Intercultural Music Initiative.
Onovwerosuoke’s works have been featured in audio recordings, films, documentaries and radio, including Robert De Niro’s film, The Good Shepherd, William-Chapman Nyaho’s CD, ASA and Hymes/Hollister’s CD, African Art Music for Flute, Hudson/Henderson’s CD, Libera, to mention a few. His numerous awards include multiple ASCAP Awards, American Music Center Award, Meet-The-Composer Award, and Brannen-Cooper Brothers Award. His book, Songs of Africa: 22 Pieces for Mixed Voices published by Oxford University Press quickly became a favorite among choral directors across the globe, leading to the recent publications for upper voices Songs of Africa for Upper Voices Set 1 and Songs of Africa for Upper Voices Set 2. Onovwerosuoke’s Twenty-four Studies in African Rhythms (AM Publishers), in two volumes) is one of the most-demanded African-rhythm influenced piano studies known. His Twelve African Songs for Solo Voice & Piano and Afro Caribbean Mass for Mixed Voices & Piano (distributed by AM Publishers) also set a similar pace, globally. Fred Onovwerosuoke serves on the boards of various professional bodies and maintains an active schedule as composer-in-residence, guest conductor or speaker on the subject of art music by African descent composers. Email inquiries may be sent to info @ fredomusic dot com.