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Wasfi Kani was born in 1956 in Cable Street in London’s East End, and is almost certainly the only opera impresario who spent her childhood in a house with an outside lavatory.
A violinist, she played for the National Youth Orchestra and went on to study music at St Hilda’s College, Oxford.
After 10 years in the city, programming and designing financial computer systems, she started a small computer consultancy which gave her the flexibility to spend more time conducting. By 1993, she had made music her full-time career.
In 1992, Wasfi was made Chief Executive of Garsington Opera in Oxford. In 1998, Kani founded her own opera company, Grange Park Opera, which in 2016 moved to West Horsley Place.
Wasfi Kani is an Honorary Fellow of the RIBA and St Hilda’s College, Oxford. She received an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List 2002 for her work in bringing her second opera company, Pimlico Opera, into prisons.