Prof. Lazarus Edward Ekwueme Biography

Prof. Lazarus Edward Ekwueme Biography

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Prof. Lazarus Edward Nnanyelu Ekwueme popularly called Laz Ekwueme is a highly respected scholar, musicologist, accomplished composer, and actor from Nigeria, born on 28th January 1936. His notable contributions to the field of African music have been instrumental in its global recognition and appreciation. In addition to his musical prowess, he has also made a significant impact in the world of acting, featuring in many African films produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation's African Service.

Prof. Lazarus Edward Ekwueme

Prof. Lazarus Edward Ekwueme

Full Name Prof. Lazarus Edward Nnanyelu Ekwueme
Date of Birth January 28, 1936
State of Origin Oko, Anambra State
Occupation(s) Actor, Composer
Age 87 years old (2023)





Hailing from a royal family in Oko, Anambra State, Nigeria, Ekwueme demonstrated a keen interest and talent in music from a very young age. His passion led him to the United States, where he earned a degree in music from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). During his educational journey, he also discovered a love for theater and acting, which he nurtured while studying in the UK.







Ekwueme's return to Nigeria marked a significant milestone in the development of music education within the country. He became an integral part of the faculty at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where his contributions were instrumental in the establishment of the music department. As a lecturer specializing in music composition, theory, history, vocal performance, and conducting, he played a pivotal role in developing the music program at Nsukka, which became the first institution in Nigeria to offer music degrees.


His devotion to music and education extended to his role as the Dean of the School of Music at the MUSON Centre in Lagos and as a Professor of Music at the University of Lagos. His compositions often integrated traditional African elements, underscoring his dedication to preserving and promoting African music.


In addition to his musical pursuits, Ekwueme has had a prolific acting career, featuring in more than 100 Nollywood movies, including "Lords of the Game", "Igodo", "Senator", and "Love Story".




Works And Achievements




Prof. Ekwueme's body of work spans across music and literature. Some of his notable works include:

* Teasers: Poems, proverbs, and puns, 1993

* In 1993, Ekwueme focused on training African choirs and conducting choral performances. 

In 2004, he published "Essays on the Theory of African Music," contributing to the understanding and appreciation of African music.

* Missa Africana

* A Night in Bethlehem (1963)

* Piano Concerts in Re (1962)

* Rhapsody Nigeriana

* Hombe (Kenyan Folk Song) (1968)

* Beware (Negro Spiritual)

* Zidata Mo Nso nke Gi

* Nwa nakwa akwa (1972)

* Elimeli (1979)

* Nne neku nwa

* Obi Dimkpa (1980)

* Ote nkwu


Ekwueme's outstanding contributions to the realms of music and film have earned him numerous accolades and recognition. Among his notable achievements are his triumph as the Best Actor in Nigeria at the esteemed African Magic Viewers Choice Awards and his distinction as the Most Prominent Actor in Nigeria at the acclaimed African Movie Academy Awards. These prestigious honors stand as a testament to Ekwueme's exceptional talent and his remarkable impact on the Nigerian entertainment industry.




Personal Life And Legacy



Ekwueme is happily married with grown-up children. He is also the younger brother of the former Vice President of Nigeria, Alex Ekwueme, and serves as a traditional ruler in Oko Kingdom in Anambra state.






Prof. Ekwueme continues to lead a life that is deeply influential, both in Nigeria and globally. His groundbreaking work in the sphere of African music, his contributions to music education in Nigeria, and his involvement in the film industry have left a lasting impact on these fields. His dedication to incorporating traditional African elements in his compositions has played a significant role in promoting and preserving African music. His acting prowess has also been recognized with numerous awards. As a scholar, musicologist, musician, and actor, Prof. Ekwueme is indeed a multi-talented individual whose work continues to inspire generations. His legacy is a testament to his passion, dedication, and commitment to his craft.

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