Award-winning Liberian-Norwegian pianist Kamilla Arku draws on her diverse background as inspiration for her work as a performer and educator.
She gave her London debut recital at the renowned Pianists of the World series at St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields in 2013, and has since performed as a soloist and chamber musician in the UK, Europe, and Africa. In 2020, she performed for the African Concert Series, the Hastings International Piano Festival, Amerikahaus, and the Yale Alumni Association, and in the upcoming season she looks forward to recitals at the International Florence Price Festival and Cambridge University. In 2021, she also joined a collective of Black female classical musicians and filmmakers for the First Step project, led by the English National Opera’s Allyson Devenish and Gwyneth Ann Rand. Kamilla has appeared on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio London; performed chamber music with Stephen Kovacevich, Alice Zawadzki, and Leon Bosch; creatively collaborated with visual artists Jordan Söderberg Mills and Amale Freiha Khlat, as well as filmmaker Patrick Hamm; and taken part in the International Musicians’ Seminar at Prussia Cove, the Britten-Pears Young Artists Programme, and the London Masterclasses.
Kamilla is passionate about introducing audiences to lesser-known repertoire and regularly programs music by female composers and composers of color. She has also given world and European premieres of works by Lainie Fefferman, Tara Creme, and Virginia Seay.
In addition to performing, Kamilla is committed to volunteer efforts, and she is the founder and director of Music for Liberia, a charity supporting young people in Liberia through music-based fundraising. For her nonprofit work, she was awarded a Jack Petchey Award for service to young people, and Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson commended her and Music for Liberia for their “generosity and compassion to help us address a critical problem.”
Most recently, Kamilla launched the education initiative #EveryVoiceChallenge, a curated collection of piano music which promotes composers of color to educators and students. Kamilla is a graduate of Yale University and the Royal Northern College of Music and began a doctoral degree in Musicology at New York University in the autumn of 2021.