The leading stars of the classical world
Apparently, just as a performance is about to begin, acclaimed British double bassist Chi-Chi Nwanoku feels as if she's taking her marks at the starting blocks on an athletics track. Then, when the conductor's baton comes down, Nwanoku is straight out of the blocks, working towards the finishing line, while the audience, much like the crowd in a stadium, watches on with excitement. Actually, this admission from the London-based musician of Nigerian and Irish descent isn't that surprising, because from the age of eight, Chi-Chi was destined for an international career as a 100-metre sprinter. At 16, she narrowly missed qualifying for the 1972 Munich Olympics, and two years later was on track for the next Games in Montreal. Then disaster struck – a knee injury meant that she could never again compete at a national level. Devastated, she returned to school, and thankfully discovered that fate had something positive in store for her – music. Nowadays, Nwanoku is established as principal bass with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, as well as being a chamber-music performer and professor of double-bass studies at London's Trinity College of Music. She is also the host of a weekly requests programme on BBC Radio 3 and was a jury member of BBC2's Classical Star. Tonight, she joins Katie Derham for this week's jam-packed edition of weekly magazine show Proms Extra 2015 (BBCTwo, 7pm). The pair will be joined by baritone Roderick Williams, who may be feeling a little sleepy after performing Bach’s much-loved Magnificat, Mass in G minor and Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 alongside the BBC Singers and the Academy of Ancient Music during last night's Late Night Prom at the Royal Albert Hall. Williams will also be looking forward to his next Proms appearance on September 11 when he is taking to the stage alongside conductor Sir Simon Rattle and the Vienna Philharmonic to sing part of Elgar's intoxicating The Dream of Gerontius. Among the other Proms highlights up for discussion tonight are Bach's solo violin works, which were performed by violinist Alina Ibragimova. Katie, Chi-Chi and Roderick also look back on the National Youth Orchestra’s annual visit to the Proms a fortnight ago where they focused on Mahler's work.
Top class: Katie Derham presents the weekly magazine show.