#MUSONStars2020: The New Faces of Classical Music

3 min readAug 23, 2020


Olatoye Abiola Babatunde [trumpet] (left) and, Idowu Seun Emmanuel (Euphonium ) MTN MUSON Scholars will perform at the Evening with MUSON Stars on Monday, August 24, 2020.

After an intensive two-year diploma programme at the prestigious Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON), 30 young Nigerians will be graduating on Tuesday, August 25, 2020. All thirty are recipients of MTN Nigeria’s MUSON Scholars programme which has provided scholarships for over 300 Nigerians in the past 13 years. Before graduating, the scholars will host Nigerians to a colourful virtual concert at 4:00 pm on Monday, August 24, 2020. It will be streamed live on YouTube.

The scholars are excited to show the world the results of their training in Classical music. Each student is a testament of hard work, dedication and unrivalled passion.

Femi Olawoyin, violinist and MTN MUSON Scholar

Femi Olawoyin, a 26-year-old violinist bought his first violin from his first salary and consequently had “to trek to work for a month!” His eyes beamed when he spoke about receiving the scholarship award in 2018, “it felt good! Absolutely amazing…” Olawoyin has been playing musical instruments for over two decades and has featured in concerts within and outside Nigeria.

Bolaji Anuoluwapo, voice major and MTN MUSON Scholar

Bolaji Anuoluwapo is a 25-year-old voice major whose smile can melt ice. During one of the class’ rehearsals on Friday, she explained that music wasn’t her parents first or even tenth choice for her, “initially my parents weren’t in support of me studying music. I had to meet my requirements for applications through hard work. So, without the scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to sponsor myself through MUSON.” Thankfully, she was able to patch things up with her family.

Mary Eleojo Okwori, voice major and MTN MUSON Scholar

Unlike the average Nigerian musician, these young ones can actually read music and have understood the rudiments of the form. The hope and optimism that shines through the minds of the graduands are infectious! They recognize they are the future of Nigerian music and have chosen to carry that burden with pride. So, whether it is learning lines in German for an operative performance like Chinyeaka Frank Chigozie or fasting for days to be able to afford pieces of his instrument like violin major, George Emmanuel, they all show us that nothing is actually impossible.

Aghah Macpherson, piano major and MTN MUSON Scholar

“I will love to perform with Cobhams Asuquo”, a bright-eyed Agah Macpherson Ezeama confessed. Every member of the class had an interesting choice for a dream co-performer in the not too distant future. Bolaji Anuoluwapo picked out vocal powerhouse Omawunmi as her option. African giant, Burna Boy, is percussion major, Sunmiboye Ayoola Temiloluwa’s choice.

In a few years, if they maintain the same fervour they currently exhibit, another set of MUSON scholars will be picking out their names as their dream stars to perform with!

By 4:00 pm on Monday, August 24, it will be interesting to watch their debut performance as professional musicians.




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