Fred Onovwerosuoke, pianist Peter Henderson

Fred Onovwerosuoke's brief "Fanfare for Strings and Timpani," in its world premiere, was a rousing evocation of a Nigerian war dance, complete with the clanging of machetes -- fortunately only simulated. (- Chicago Tribune music critic)

Fred Onovwerosuoke, pianist Darryl Hollister, Italian pianist Silvia Belfiore

These kinetic pieces [Onovwerosuoke's Twenty-four Studies in African Rhythms] easily get under one’s skin and they sound like they are fun to play. - American Record Guide (May/June 2009 issue)

Fred Onovwerosuoke

The piano lines in [Onovwerosuoke's] songs ("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, FredO's African songs have the most popular appeal of all the material on this [Libera, AGCD 2106] recording. Chris King, Music Critic,
The St Louis American


Soprano Marlissa Hudson, composer Fred Onovwerosuoke, pianist Peter Henderson

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 critic)

Composer-pianist Lettie Alston, composer Fred Onovwerosuoke

Fred Onovwerosuoke [in Nyaho's CD, Asa, MSR Classics 1242] gets things off to a cracking start with his Studies in African Rhythm. This is strong music with a very individual voice. Each piece imitates a dance or musical pattern and they make a very attractive suite, with lots of variety and plenty of fun. These six come from a set of 24 and I yearn to hear the others. This taster is really too good to miss...
- Bob Briggs, Music Critic,
MusicWeb International


Chamber groups

12 African Songs for Voice & Piano-Luwah (Bitter Tears) - Hudson/Henderson
AMP Records, AGCD 2106

Barka (Blessings)

Six Sketches for Oboes & Piano
Movt. IV - Fog

Folksongs of Africa
Songs of Africa Ensemble

Solo performers

24 Studies in African Rhythms - No. 3
William Chapman Nyaho, piano
 MSR Classics, Catalog No. MS1242

6 and a Half Variations for Solo Violin - Var 5
Rachel Barton Pine, violin
Podcast from 98.7 WFMT Radio

24 Studies in African Rhythms - No. 7
Peter Henderson, piano

Six Variations for Solo Flute - Agitato









Award-winning composer Fred Onovwerosuoke’s diverse background has given rise to a varied compositional style. Born in Ghana to Nigerian parents, Onovwerosuoke grew up in both countries and eventually naturalized in the United States. "FredO", as friends call him, has traveled in more than thirty African countries doing field work and analyzing some of Africa’s abundant 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, and 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 extensively 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 Handel and Mozart as he is talking about the gonje, mbira, kora, kontingu and balafon riffs, or foremost exponents of African traditional music. In 1994 he founded the St. Louis African Chorus to help nurture African choral music as a mainstream repertoire for performance and education. Today, the organization's mission has broadened to include other art music by composers of African-descent and renamed African Musical Arts Inc.

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 Choirs published by Oxford University Press has quickly become a favorite among choral directors across the United States and globally. The first volume of Fred Onovwerosuoke's Twenty-four Studies in African Rhythms also rose the charts and is one of the most-demanded African-rhythm influenced piano studies known. His newest book, 12 African Songs for Solo Voice & Piano (distributed by African Music Publishers) now attracts similar buzz, globally. Fred Onovwerosuoke serves on the boards of various professional bodies and has served as Editor of the Voice of African Music newsletter (ISSN: 1938-2332) since 1993. Onovwerosuoke maintains an active schedule as resident composer and visiting scholar. Email inquiries may be sent to  info @ fredomusic dot com

Support our Living-Composers Endowment with a tax-deductible donation.  Donors of  $2000 or more to the African Musical Arts Inc receive The Complete Works of Fred Onovwerosuoke (1988-2008). Handsomely clothbound in turquoise, burgundy or kente/adire cover and shipped directly from the bindery. Donate online or call the African Musical Arts office at 314-652-6800 for information.



















Fred Onovwerosuoke, composer

(Last name pronounced, 'oh-noh-well-oh-suoh-keh)

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