Prolific musicologist and composer Professor Akin Euba dies at 84

Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress

By Collins Christopher

Inventive Africa’s Author, Composer, Pianist and scholar Professor Akin Euba has passed away. He died on the evening of 14th April 2020 in Lagos, Nigeria less than two weeks to his 85th birthday. Cause of death is still unknown.

Prof Euba was born on 28 April 1935 in Lagos, Nigeria. He studied composition with Arnold Cooke at the Trinity College of Music, London, obtaining the diplomas of Fellow of the Trinity College London (Composition) and a fellow of the Trinity College London (Piano).

He also was awarded a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship in 1962. He received B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he studied with Mantle Hood, Charles Seeger, Professor J.H. Kwabena Nketia, Klaus Wachsmann, and Roy Travis. He holds a PhD in ethnomusicology from the University of Ghana, Legon (1974).

Late Akin Euba

He was the founder and director of the Centre for Intercultural Music Arts, London (founded in 1989), and director emeritus of the Centre for Intercultural Musicology at Churchill College, University of Cambridge.

Globally known for inventing and theorizing the concept of African pianism, Euba devoted a significant portion of his composing career to exploring how the piano, because of its unique attributes, could be used as a medium for re-interpreting the core structural and rhythmic principles of African music in new ways and for global audiences.

Professor Akin Euba’s notable contributions to Africanist music scholarship and growth of African art will be eternally appreciated.

Some Nigerians have taken to social media to mourn and pay tributes: One of such is Professor Albert Oikelome, Associate Professor of Music at University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos.

He said: “Just now, I received the sad news that Professor Akin Euba passed away earlier this evening. To say the news is shocking would be an understatement.

“The world has lost Africa’s foremost composer and scholar. He was a mentor, a trailblazer, and above all, a gentleman. May his soul rest in peace.”


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