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Arts and entertainment professionals are set to celebrate one of Nigeria’s foremost classical pianists and composer, Ayo Bankole Jr. as he clocks the milestone age of 60.

To celebrate the iconic musicologist, pianist and composer, Ayo Bankole, a number of events have been lined up, which include a two-leg symposium slated for the MUSON Centre in Lagos on Wednesday 25th of May and a recital/concert on the 8th of July 2022.

To mark the Diamond Jubilee, two symposiums themed, ‘The past, present and future of Nigerian Art Music: Celebrating Theophilus Ayoola Bankole Through Ayo Bankole Jr at 60’ and ‘Music as a Creative and Economic Tool for the 21st Century Nigerian Film Industry’, have been organised to preserve and celebrate the heritage Bankole represents, not as a belated reality, but a potential heritage for understanding our common musical and cultural history, contemporary realities, and possible future.

Theophilus Ayoola Bankole, a major Nigerian musical heritage is also being celebrated through his son, Ayo Bankole Jr, who has not only sustained his father’s legacy but has also championed new creative and artistic frontiers that have laid foundations for the emergence of distinct Nigerian screen music composition, jingles/commercials, film/Nollywood music, African art music and performance practices in western classical music tradition, popular music, jazz and new forms of digital music-making.

The first symposium, ‘The past, present and future of Nigerian Art Music: Celebrating Theophilus Ayoola Bankole Through Ayo Bankole Jr. at 60’ has Prof. Olabode F. Omojola of the Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts, USA as Keynote Speaker, with Dr Ayo Oluranti, a Resident Fellow of the Goethe-Institute, Germany as moderator and Mountain Top University, Nigeria.

The panellists include Dr. Kayode Samuel, University of Ibadan, Nigeria; Sir Emeka Nwokedi, Muson School of Music, Nigeria; Mr. Ebenezer Omole, LIFE Theological Seminary, Nigeria;, Dr. Stephen Olusoji, of the University of Lagos; Mr. Seun Owoaje of the Mountain Top University, Nigeria; Dr. Omolara Loko, Lagos State University of Education, Nigeria; . Gbenga Oyesanya, Emmanuel Methodist Chapel, Lagos Nigeria; and Dr. Oladele Ayorinde of the University of Bonn, Germany/Wits University, South Africa.

Quoting from the programme of events, the organisers said: “Given the various future-centric initiatives found in the works of Theophilus Ayo Bankole, we found it necessary to engage his musical works and scholarship, negotiating new ideas, and artistic-centred creative resources—particularly for new generations of Nigerians. In other words, beyond description and historical report, to critically engage his works, ideas and his personality for new knowledge that are relevant to contemporary social and economic dynamics, music practice and scholarship in Africa and around the world”.

“We ask: what might it mean to explore and understand the contemporary development in music (broadly speaking, and in particular, sacred and church music, sound media, film music, music education and research, gospel popular music, African/Nigerian art music, and classical music) and its impact in people’s everyday life in Nigeria?

“In exploring this question, the Ayo Bankole Centre for Arts and Cultural Expression, Lagos, the Department of Music, Mountain Top University, Ogun the MUSON School of Music, Lagos, the Department of Musicology/Sound Studies, University of Bonn, Germany, present a day symposium, in celebration of T. A Ayo Bankole Sr in the 60 years of Ayo Bankole Jr.

“The organisers have conceived of this symposium as a means to enable dialogue and engage new frontiers in Nigerian music (its practices and studies) and celebrate emerging trends in the Nigerian arts and music industry.

“We believe it will be of great benefit to practitioners and scholars and every Nigerian interested in Nigerian art and culture: its past, present, and future. We look forward to an interesting moment of celebration, meeting, thinking and sharing”, the organisers said of the first symposium billed to hold between 11am to 1pm on the Wednesday 25th of May, 2022 at the MUSON Centre, Lagos.

For the second symposium holding at the same venue from 4pm to 6:30pm, with the theme, ‘Music as a Creative and Economic Tool for the 21st century Nigerian Film Industry’, the celebrant Ayo Bankole Jr. is billed to be the lead discussant, with Nollywood legend, Joke Silva moderating. The panellists include celebrated film-maker, Tunde Kelani, Bayo Adepetun, Seun Owoaje, Sani Muazu, Okechukwu Ogunjiofor, Steve Ayorinde and Bayo Omole.

This symposium seeks to explore music diverse ramifications of music as employed in Nigerian films and means for advancing vital economic resource within the industry

“Music, a phenomenon that is hardly considered as source of revenue in Nigerian film industry, is a strategic economic and cultural resource for Nollywood.

“The symposium seeks to explore music as a media, aesthetic, and revenue resource for Nollywood in the global film industries. The symposium will be of great benefit to film directors, film producers, actors, film music composers, media houses, music producers, film marketers, scholars, advert agencies, and the public in Nigeria, Africa and beyond. We look forward to an interesting moment of celebration, meeting, thinking and sharing”, to quote the organisers.

The concluding part of the celebrations will be in the form of a concert slated to take place on Friday the 8th of July 2022 at the MUSON CENTRE to round up a month of celebrations in honour of the musical legend.

The event is sponsored by Dr. D. K. Olukoya.

Ayo Bankole Jr is a classical Pianist and Composer, who has composed several classical, Jazz and contemporary pieces.

He is a much sought after pianists in Nigeria, performing regularly at concerts and other high-profile events. He is Director of the Ayo Bankole Centre for Arts and Cultural Expression in Lagos.

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