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“The new piano vista”

“The New Piano Vista”
Even without considering the impetus for these two dozen miniatures [Twenty-Four Studies in African Rhythms ], this recording should be high on the acquisition agenda of all music libraries, pianists, and record collectors.  [Pianist Peter Henderson] offers proof that this music can be performed by one who is neither Ghanaian nor Nigerian…. nor African.

– Dominique-Rene de Lerma

“Classical music reimagined”

Onovwerosuoke’s rhythmic language would be worthy of analysis by students of the long process by which a common African-American language, musical and verbal, evolved out of the multiplicity of cultures of the enslaved. The overall effect is kinetic, colorful, and imposing — any symphonic programmer looking for music that will meet urban constituencies halfway should hear [his music]. 

 – James Manheim 

New frontiers of great music

From OUP [Oxford University Press] under the editorship of Fred Onovwerosuoke, the West African-born conductor and composer, comes a simply terrific volume of African songs for mixed voices, many with percussion or hand clapping, as well as the occasional instrument. The editor provides essential background information to each item as well as helpfully offering performance guidelines … The volume is attractively produced and would make a useful addition to the library of any choir looking to expand and refresh its repertory. Warmly recommended.

-Philip Reed, Choir & Organ

“While it seems infuriating to have to reiterate these assertions in 2019, we can be thankful that all the accomplished artists in this concert are plainly committed to doing so for as long as necessary. Though Coro Allegro, Heritage Chorale of New Haven, and their directors will likely occupy a political niche for years to come, their high musical standards ensure that general audiences will flock to hear them at least as often for artistic reasons. Long may they prosper!” 

– By Geoffrey Wieting, Boston Musical Intelligencer 

…Attractive, rather epigrammatic and made an immediate effect, [the piano etudes from “Twenty-Four Studies in African Rhythms” are a compelling mixture of technical challenges, memorable ideas and clever compositional working, none of which outstayed their welcome…  

Review by Robert Matthew-Walker, ClassicalSource, London, UK.​ 

“FredO, your music spoke with great immediacy. I was struck by many aspects of it. Your sensitivity to these wonderful texts, the variety of your musical language, the clarity of your phrases, the economy in your choices. I had the experience that you gave each idea the time it needs, and no more. No question that the whole audience experienced this unfamiliar music as wholly relatable and captivating…”

– Christopher Wilkins (Music Director, Akron Symphony, Boston Landmarks Orchestra)

“…His [FredO’s] is a fresh voice in a quagmire of sameness. Both works immediately engaged our audiences. The Triptych is a fascinating piece – and very powerful….”

– David Hodgkins, Artistic Director, Coro Allegro


…”The Gathering,” an overture by Ghanaian-American composer Fred Onovwerosuoke was a brief, lively work propelled by rapid and aggressive African rhythms, creates a delicious sense of danger–all powerfully rendered by Marlon Daniel and his orchestra… 

 – Review by Victor Carr, Jr., ClassicsToday

These kinetic pieces [Twenty-four Studies in African Rhythms] easily get under one’s skin and they sound like they are fun to play.  

– American Record Guide

The piano lines in [Fredo’s “12 African Songs for Solo Voice and Piano“] are lively and catchy – indeed,  though their sources are more exotic than African-American spirituals or Langston  Hughes, the songs have the  most popular appeal of all the material  on this recording [Libera, AGCD 2106]. 

 – Review by Chris King, The St Louis American

Onovwerosuoke’s rhythmic language would be worthy of analysis by students of the long process by which a common African-American language, musical and verbal, evolved out of the multiplicity of cultures of the enslaved. The overall effect is kinetic, colorful, and imposing — any symphonic programmer looking for music that will meet urban constituencies halfway should hear this disc. 

– James Manheim (AllMusic.com critic)

Selected reviews of Oxford University Press’s 
Songs of Africa: 22 Pieces for Mixed Voices 

Now here’s a really interesting book … And boy is it stimulating … Many of the arrangements or transcriptions are by Onovwerosuoke himself, and are interesting and ear-opening … A great collection for doing something different with your choir or, even better, to take to a workshop to work on properly and in depth… -Jonathan Wikeley, Music Teacher

-Jonathan Wikeley, Music Teacher


Published arrangements of songs from Africa have not been uncommon in recent years, but this is the first volume I have seen that is genuinely pan-African in content, and compiled by someone completely immersed in Africa’s diverse traditions and languages … In contrast to our predominant European mentality, what shines through again and again is the music’s simplicty, playfulness and joy – one of many reasons to celebrate this unique publication.

 ​- Matthew Greenall, The Singer
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