United in Music: A virtual charity concert to aid UNHCR’S coronavirus response

More than 50 musicians from around the world are contributing their talents and time to a joint virtual concert performance to raise funds for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency’s COVID-19 response.

United in Music is slated to premiere on Thursday 28 May at 18:00 GMT (12:00 EST) and will be hosted and streamed on UNHCR’s global YouTube channels. The musical charity fundraiser was initiated by Shlomo Mintz, a world-renowned violin virtuoso and conductor, as a response to an invitation from Christine Mori and Alexis Spieldenner of Canadian-based Bravo Niagara! Festival of the Arts. The duo invited Maestro Mintz to collaborate on a virtual performance of Vivaldi’s celebrated Concerto for Four Violins, together with musicians of different orchestras based in Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. United in Music will be recorded remotely by the diverse ensemble of artists in their respective homes. The artists will be performing works by Vivaldi, Kreisler and Rachmaninoff.

All donations from the concert go to UNHCR to help protect refugees and the communities that welcome them in the ongoing global fight against COVID-19.

The original idea behind the concert was to share a message of hope by bringing music and joy into people’s homes during this challenging time,” said Mintz. “We know there are millions more around the world who have been forced from their homes and are in in urgent need of humanitarian support — especially now. This brought me to the idea to turn this performance into a musical charity fundraiser. Our goal is to help raise funds for UNHCR in their efforts to support refugee families now facing the threat of COVID-19.”

The event will include a video introduction from Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and is supported by Barbara Hendricks, a globally acclaimed American-born classical singer and UNHCR’s lifetime Honorary Goodwill Ambassador.

Music truly has the power to uplift and unite individuals — particularly during times of hardship,” said Hendricks. “As we all remain physically distanced, virtual communications are the connective thread that are keeping us together. I’m grateful for Maestro Mintz and for all the artists helping support the vital work of UNHCR in support of refugees. Every dollar raised will have a life-saving impact on millions of children, women and men who have been uprooted from their homes.”

Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said: “This is a great example of organizations coming together creatively across the globe to support refugees, and we are enormously grateful to Maestro Shlomo Mintz, Bravo Niagara! Festival of the Arts, and all the brilliant musicians who have come together from all over the world to collaborate to raise funds for UNHCR’s COVID-19 response.”

BRAVO NIAGARA! Festival of the Arts

This project is a testament to our belief in the transformative power of music for social change.

We are honoured to collaborate with Maestro Mintz and the UNHCR in uniting musical ambassadors from around the world to support refugees during this time of global crisis.