About The Nairobi Music Society

The Society is a focal point, including and serving many parts of the Kenyan community, bringing together people, information, events, teachers and learners -  elements of a vibrant musical life. We keep our ticket prices low,to ensure that our music is accessible to a wide range of people. We allow school parties in at minimal cost, by arrangement.  Much of what we do feeds into the musical life of Nairobi.  Concert attendance grows annually, thanks to the enthusiasm of our members and their families, colleagues, students and friends.  Currently, 800 – 1000 attend our main concerts.

The Music Society derives its income solely from memberships and profits from performances. Unfortunately, our policy of keeping charges low inevitably means that we barely meet basic expenses. Our ability to have overseas performers and conductors has, to date, depended almost entirely upon the goodwill of embassies and airlines.  All the tasks of administration and management are carried out by volunteers, including planning and organising rehearsals and performances, stage management, generating publicity, producing programmes and newsletters, arranging workshops, collaborating with other institutions, inviting and accommodating overseas performers, and the very time-consuming job of locating funds for their visits.

Some of our commitments and aims

We work in close collaboration with embassies and others to promote and coordinate performances by visiting international musicians and conductors.  We also encourage and support musical training.  We arrange for visiting musicians to hold master classes and workshops for performers, teachers and students. The Society also raises funds both on its own and with others to help a variety of good causes. 

We encourage all our visiting musicians to give workshops to local students and teachers of music wherever possible and these have become a recognised part of what we already offer to the community. Part of our future planning is to arrange small-scale performances for schools, to be given by young Kenyan musicians who would thus also enhance their own development.

While retaining its classical core, the Music Society would like to give greater exposure to works that reflect and show respect for the diversity of its members and audiences. 

Additionally, we encourage all our visiting musicians to give workshops to local students and teachers of music wherever possible and these have become a recognized part of what we already offer to the community. We also plan a wider range of music, to include more from Kenyan, Asian and other traditions. Part of our future planning is to arrange small-scale performances for schools, to be given by young Kenyan orchestral musicians who would thus also enhance their own development.

Experience has shown that giving relatively unknown local musicians with exceptional talent greater public exposure builds their confidence and professionalism and helps to further their musical careers.

Major NMS Choir events in the recent past, with Nairobi Orchestra

October 2012 Handel's Messiah, combined choirs, Mark Statler conducting, in aid of Nairobi Hospice

May 2012 Oshwal Auditorium, Mendelssohn's Elijah, Tony Davies conducting

Christmas 2011 All Saints’ Cathedral, Mark Statler conducting, varied Christmas programme

May 2011 Haydn’s  The Seasons , Oshwal, Tony Davies conducting

Christmas 2010, Charpentier's Messe de Minuit , other Christmas items, All Saints, Tony Davies conducting

June 2010, varied programme of light classical music, Braeside School, Tony Davies conducting

April 2010 Bach’s St John Passion, All Saints, Tony Davies conducting

Christmas 2009, Varied Christmas programme, Oshwal, Ken Wakia conducting

October 2009, Handel’s Messiah, Bomas of Kenya, Ken Wakia conducting, in aid of Nairobi Hospice

June 2009 Varied programme of light classical music, Braeside, Tony Davies conducting

April 2009 Mozart Great Mass in C and Schubert Mass in G, Brookhouse and Oshwal, Tony Davies conducting

Christmas 2008, Handel’s Messiah, Oshwal Auditorium, Duncan Wambugu conducting

June 2008 Made in Kenya concert, Oshwal, with music, composers and performers from a wide range of traditions, European, African and Asian, but all rooted in Kenya. Various conductors, including Njane Mugambi, Andrew Obaga, Clyde Tipton and Ken Wakia, with the Moipei Quartet.

March 2008 Grand combined anniversary concert of the Nairobi Music Society choir and the Nairobi Orchestra, Oshwal Auditorium, conducted by Tony Davies. The programme included Mozart's Missa Brevis and Beethoven's Leonore Overture No. 3, as well as Karl Jenkins’ major work The  Armed Man, a contemporary Mass for Peace. All proceeds of the concert went to the Kenya Red Cross, to aid its work for IDPs from the post-election violence.

Christmas 2007 All Saints' Cathedral, Tony Davies conducting a medley of Christmas music

June 2007 Nairobi Arboretum, folk songs from around the world (sung in six languages!), with a theme of nature and the environment, various conductors drawn from the choir, shared with Nairobi Orchestra's programme of orchestral music conducted by Duncan Wambugu

March 2007 Rossini's Petite Messe Solonelle, conducted by Sally Moulton, All Saints' Cathedral

Christmas 2006 Britten's St Nicolas and Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Christmas Carols, All Saint's Cathedral, conductor Damian Penfold, tenor soloist Alexander Cadden, both visitors sponsored by British Airways

June 2006 – Handel’s Chandos Anthems conducted by Ken Wakia, with the NMS Choir and Nairobi Orchestra, with Vivaldi's double violin concerto and other works for two violins by  two young professionals brought to Nairobi by the Austrian Embassy - All Saints’ Cathedral

March 2006 – Mozart’s Requiem - in the gala opening performance of the Kijani Festival, also with Ken Wakia and the Nairobi Chamber Chorus and with Njane Mugambi with some of his compositions, all in aid of Kijani's fund-raising for local HIV/AIDS, environmental and conservation charities. All Saints’ Cathedral. Conductor Tony Davies

December 2005 – Concert with NMS choir, All Saints’ Cathedral – a very varied programme of Christmas music through the ages, conducted by Ken Wakia

October 2005 – Bomas of Kenya – Handel’s Messiah with massed choirs, in aid of the Nairobi Hospice. Conductor Duncan Wambugu

June 2005 – National Theatre - concert with the Nairobi Music Society Choir and Nairobi orchestra items,  including Puccini’s Messa di Gloria and Dvorak’s New World’ Symphony. Conductor Duncan Wambugu

December - 2004 All Saints’ Cathedral and Don Bosco Church, singing Charpentier, Saint Saëns and Poulenc. Conductor Damian Penfold, whose flight from London was sponsored by SN Brussels