One of the top conductors in Africa today, Ken Wakia is the 2019 African Image Maker Award recipient conferred to him by the Voice Achievers Award.
He studied Choral Directing with Dr Jo-Michael Scheibe at the University of Miami in Florida, USA, as a Fulbright scholar. Ken started his conducting career at Kenyatta University with Sam Mak’Okeyo and Annetta Miller and led choirs at Precious Blood Girls’s High School, Africa Nazarene University and the Nairobi Music Society of which he is a life member.
He is the founding director of both the Safaricom Choir, a work-place choir, and the Nairobi Chamber Chorus, a platform for developing young singers, with which he travels around the world. With the Nairobi Chamber Chorus, Ken represented Kenya at the Queen of England’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations at Windsor Castle in 2012 and at the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) National conference in Kansas City in 2019.
He has mentored countless young people through the Nairobi Chamber Chorus and has given them opportunities to make high-quality choral music in the country and abroad. Many of these young people are now music teachers and performers around the world.
Ken is well known for leading several initiatives and collaborations to connect Kenyan choral directors to the world including AVoice4Peace, the Kenya Choral Directors trust, ACDA’s International Conductors Exchange Program and the Africa Cantat, all of which he does on voluntary basis. Ken has also been in demand as a visiting conductor with choirs at home and around the world. He has conducted for the Europa Cantat in Estonia and Germany.
In early 2020, he conducted the International Schools of Southern and Eastern Africa in Zambia. In 2017, Ken was one of the conductors of the World Youth Choir in their tour of Hungary and the Balkan states, 20 years after he had been a member of the same choir as a young singer representing his country, Kenya.