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Interlochen Arts Academy student appointed to professional orchestra

Interlochen Arts Academy student Tendekai Mawokomatanda is the newest and youngest member of Atlanta's Orchestra Noir

Tendekai Mawokomatanda is now the youngest member of Atlanta's Orchestra Noir.

Tendekai Mawokomatanda, a senior at Interlochen Arts Academy, has been appointed to a professional orchestra.

Mawokomatanda, a double bassist, is the newest member of the Orchestra Noir.

Mawokomatanda knew the odds were against him to audition for a professional orchestra role at just 17 years old.

But, he said, "My parents and friends told me that I will miss all the opportunities I do not attempt."

He took the risk, and it paid off. Mawokomatanda is now the youngest member of Orchestra Noir as well as one of the youngest members of any professional orchestra in the United States.

His age doesn't faze him, though.

"I have worked in communities where I have been young before," he said, "I do not think this orchestra experience will be any different, as I plan to use all resources that are available to me."

The Atlanta-based Orchestra Noir was founded in 2016. Its mission is to celebrate "the cultural achievements of African-American music pioneers across all genres of music including classical, jazz, blues, hip-hop and R&B."

Orchestra Noir was recently featured in Red Bull Symphonic, an international concert series highlighting collaborations between pop artists and classical musicians. Orchestra Noir performed with hip-hop artist Rick Ross.

The orchestra has also appeared everywhere from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to Cardi B's baby shower, and they were featured in the music video for "Deadz" by hip-hop artists 2 Chainz and Migos.

Dr. Amanda Sewell is IPR's music director.