The Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) was founded as a result of the interaction and commitment of some friends who love and appreciate classical music. These included Mr. Akintola Williams, Mr. Louis Mbanefo, Chief Ayo Rosiji, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi and Mrs. Fracesca Emanuel. Along with Sir. Mervyn Brown, then British High Commissioner in Nigeria and Lady Brown, these distinguished Nigerians stimulated interest and awareness of Nigerians, especially in Lagos of the richness and elegance of classical music. All of the interaction ultimately led to the formation of the Musical Society of Nigeria in 1983 with the primary objectives being to:
- Promote the understanding and enjoyment of classical music.
- Promote the education of children in the performance and theory of music
- Promote interaction between Nigerian and Non-Nigerian musicians
- Promote the performance of serious music with emphasis on classical music
- Provide facilities for the realization of the above mentioned objectives.
- Raise funds from persons and organizations for the realization of these objectives.
MUSON’s core activities are in the areas of:
- Training and inspiring professional musicians and anyone interested in learning how to play any instrument.
- Organizing classical concerts and staging the Annual MUSON Festival (which has featured performances by Grammy Award winning jazz artistes Al Jarreau, Smooth Jazz exponent Earl Klugh, Jimmy Dludlu and Nigeria’s own Lagbaja to mention a few).
- Establishment and Running of the MUSON choir since 1995. The choir performs regularly during the MUSON Festival and during the Society’s concert season.
- Establishment and running of the MUSON Symphony orchestra since 2005. The Orchestra performs regularly at the MUSON Festival and during the Society’s concert season.
Both the MUSON Choir and the MUSON Symphony Orchestra also perform outside MUSON on invitation.
In the heart of Lagos Island, situated conspicuously between the National Museum, the City Mall, the age-long Onikan Stadium and the former official residence of the Nigeria’s foremost Centre of artistic excellence: the MUSON Centre, an acronym for the Musical Society of Nigeria.
This serene establishment effuses the spirit of creativity (for which is built) as well as the apparently eternal charm of love of those who once sat in and walked through its grounds when it was known as “the Love Garden” (This was before the unveiling the centre’s facilities by Prince Charles in 1995).
Surrounded by iconic landmarks which speak of Nigeria’s independence history such as Tafawa Balewa Square (also known as “Race Course”), this repository of Music, Arts and Culture site at a short distance from the commercial nerve centre of Lagos. A unique location that makes it one of the most easily accessible sites of its caliber in the city.
The MUSON Symphony Orchestra
The MUSON Symphony Orchestra (MSO), founded in July 2005 with 40 members, gave its debut concert later in the same year under the direction of Paul Konye, the pioneer Conductor. The founding of the Orchestra was one major achievement on the list of MUSON’s planned artistic development.
The Orchestra is Nigeria’s only professional Symphony Orchestra and it is carving a niche for itself because of its high performance standard and its varied repertoire of works from Europe, through the Americas to music of African origin.
The MSO has recorded more successes under the direction of the Artistic Director and Orchestra Conductor, Thomas Kanitz. It played a very prominent role in the recent staging of Mozart’s Magic Flute, which was performed in German. The performance was so well received that it was staged three times within a period of six months due to popular demand.
The MSO, in collaboration with Christ Church Cathedral, Lagos, performed two memorable Christmas Concerts in 2012 and 2013. The Orchestra also performed at the 2013 Oil Industry Award Ceremony of the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN).
The MUSON Symphony Orchestra is available to perform for clients.
For more details, please contact Perpetual Atife
Tel no: 08078192558
The MUSON Choir
The MUSON Choir was established as a permanent group in 1995 when Francesca Emmanuel and Emeka Nwokedi, two members of the MUSON Artistes Committee, were charged with the responsibility of grooming a Choir for the society. The Choir, under the direction of Sir Emeka Nwokedi, a renowned music arranger and conductor, organizes the annual Passiontide and Christmas concert. In 2012, the Choir hosted the ‘MUSON Choir Extravaganza’ – a remarkable event that featured several performances by other choirs around the country. They also perform at the annual MUSON Festival.
Its repertoire ranges from African Contemporary works of great music composers to folk songs of various world cultures, cantatas, oratorios and choruses. The Choir played a major role in the three-time production of Magic Flute, an opera by Mozart which was performed alongside the MUSON Symphony Orchestra.
With several notable performances at concerts, carols, weddings, funerals and more, the Choir has carved a niche for itself.
The School of Music
The MUSON School of Music started in 1989 as an institution to train school aged children and members of the general public interested in learning to play a musical instrument and in voice. The school ran on a part time basis with part time staff drawn from local universities and schools. The school was granted permission from the Ministry of Education in 2002 to award Diplomas in Music. The Diploma department is a full time post-secondary institution, which started September 2006 with twenty one students. The requirements for entry into this course are similar to those for university entrance with the addition of music theory and performance which we assess in a rigorous interview and audition. The course is performance based so each student is required to perform both in chamber music ensembles and solo recitals.
In recognition of the high standards of our students, MTN Foundation has granted each of them full tuition and book scholarships. In 2008 MTNF expanded the scholarships by offering an increased amount to 30 students and added a 6 day travel allowance for each student.
At present, the MUSON School of Music is in two sections.
The Basic Section:
This section offers part time music training to children and members of the general public. Instruments offered include piano, violin, cello, trumpet, trombone, saxophone, clarinet, flute, guitar, voice and music theory.
Other Basic School activities are: MUSON graded theory and practical examinations offered twice a year; teacher training workshops; annual school’s competition and winners concert for primary and secondary school children in choirs, solo voice, solos and duets for piano and recorder; basic student’s concerts and Suzuki violin classes for young children ages 3-6 years. The Basic School has supplied the Diploma section with students seeking advanced music training leading to a career in music. Through our Basic School we have trained many children who otherwise would not have experienced the opportunity of playing a musical instrument. We are proud of Glen Inanga, Bolaji Omotayo and Omolegho Bello who have embarked upon international performance careers from our Basic School training.
MUSON represents the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) in Nigeria. We have been offering ABRSM theory examinations twice a year since 2007. Practical examination will resume in Nigeria in 2011.
The Diploma Section:
The diploma course is a full time 2 year course offering advanced training in music with the following majors: piano, organ, violin, viola, cello, double bass, flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, percussion, classical guitar and voice. Students are also required to take 2 terms of an instrument minor other than their major instrumental family. All voice students must pass grade 2 piano, instrumentalists must pass vocal techniques and all students must belong to the choir. Orchestra is required for all string majors. All wind and percussion majors must belong to band. Others who may not be majors are welcome to audition for the orchestra and band.
Our goal is to produce well rounded, thoroughly educated musicians who would qualify for direct entry as transfer students into a university to fulfill the remaining requirements for an undergraduate music degree. We strive to produce graduates comparable to those found in a Conservatoire and we have patterned our syllabus on those standards.