Ernest was introduced to the violin at the age of nine in his home country of Nigeria after a short stint with the clarinet. He has since studied with several notable tutors and performers from around the world including Rachel Barton-Pine (American violinist), Sir Godfrey Amoah (Ghanaian violinist), Louis Jones (British violinist), Agnes Nagy (Hungarian cellist), and Thomas Kanitz (cellist of the Reger String Quartet and Dortmund Symphony Orchestra), to mention a few.
In addition to his mainstream classical background, he found an appreciation for more contemporary musical styles and thus began an exploration of the jazz genre. Shortly afterwards, his performance at the 2008 HipHop World Awards in Lagos, Nigeria with ace producer Cobhams Asuquo registered the violin as a “soulful” instrument; an attribute mostly associated with non-classical instruments in the country. In 2011, he performed at the African Leadership Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with the illustrious Bez. Later in 2012, he was on the Nigerian contingent to perform at the African Showcase of the SXSW in Austin, TX. He has since opened for such acts as Richard Bona, Mike Stern, Marcus Johnson, Marsha Ambrosius, and Anita Baker.
In July 2013, he became the first Nigerian to obtain performance diploma certification from the Associate Board of the Royal Schools of Music in London with a distinction. In the maiden edition of Venture Career Journal Nigeria released that same year, he was referred to as “arguably Africa’s foremost contemporary violinist”.
Today, he resides in the U.S. and is a founding member of the Minneapolis String Project, a high-energy trio that performs eclectic covers and genre-defying original works. Along with members David Feily and Greg Byers, the group deviates from the standard repertoire for bowed instruments and draws from jazz, fusion, soul, and an array of world music influences. Live performances leave audiences dazzled by their technical wizardry, simpatico improvisation, and engaging interactions.
Twitter: Ernest Bisong