MUSICIANS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
The mission of Musicians For Human Rights is to foster a culture of humanism through music in support of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 2009 by world-renowned horn player Alessio Allegrini and a group of musicians and humanists active on four continents, MFHR encourages student, professional, and amateur musicians, as well as audiences, to consider how they can advance the well-being of others. Based in Italy, MFHR is active in four areas: performance, education, training, and outreach.
Performance: The first ensemble we formed was the Human Rights Orchestra. More recently the Human Rights Band was created to celebrate cultural diversity and to highlight the universality of humankind’s proclivity to give expression to thought and feeling through music. The Human Rights Band performs world music, with musicians hailing from Tunisia, Bosnia, Iran, Syria, Turkey, and Italy.
Education: We have drawn secondary school students into the world of human rights through classroom and performance projects. With the focal point often a piece of music commissioned on a topic such as food, water, immigration, and the right to culture, we teach about human rights, elucidate violations of rights, and engage the students in solutions through performing for refugees and asylum seekers, and choosing humanitarian organizations to receive contributions. We convey that the listening skills and receptivity to diverse ideas that lie at the core of a successful ensemble help prepare students to be curious, openminded, and good communicators. At the graduate level we have presented seminars on music’s diverse roles in the fulfillment and violation of human rights in social movements, freedom of expression, identity and empowerment, therapy, torture, the right to culture, and the right to education.
Training: In response to the refugee crisis, we arranged for the specialized training of musicians in the social, psychological, and musical knowledge and methods necessary to assist vulnerable people in strengthening resilience and developing connections within their new communities.
Outreach: We have provided playful, music-centered, workshops to children, teenagers, women, and men in diverse settings including a prison, refugee camps, city-based refugee and asylum seeker centers, and community cultural centers in Italy, Greece, and Switzerland.
HUMAN RIGHTS ORCHESTRA
The Human Rights Orchestra is a network of musicians from the leading orchestras of Europe who perform together in support of human rights. Members of the great orchestras of Vienna, Berlin, Amsterdam, London, Milan, Rome and many others gather for special concerts to donate the ticket income to humanitarian organizations. Conducted by Alessio Allegrini, the concerts have featured prominent international soloists including Maria João Pires, Isabelle Faust, Ilya Gringolts, Imogen Cooper, and Hélène Grimaud. We have supported organizations addressing sexual violence, human trafficking, health and emergency medical care, children with congenital disabilities, indigenous people's rights, support and integration of refugees and asylum seekers, and music education.
Founder and Music Director of the Human Rights Orchestra, conductor, hornist
Alessio Allegrini has performed as solo or principal horn with virtually all of the world’s leading conductors, including Claudio Abbado, Simon Rattle, Mariss Jansons, Riccardo Muti, Myung-Whun Chung, Bernard Haitink, and Daniel Barenboim. Winner of prizes in both the Prague Spring International Competition and the Munich International Competition, Mr. Allegrini held first chair in the Orchestra of La Scala for eight years, and subsequently served as guest principal horn of the Berlin Philharmonic for a season, including their residency at the Salzburg Festival, numerous recordings and DVDs. Since 2004, he has been the principal horn soloist with the Orchestra of the Academy of Santa Cecilia in Rome.
At the invitation of Claudio Abbado, Mr. Allegrini has served as principal horn of the Mozart Orchestra and as solo first horn of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. Highlights of past seasons include a European tour as solo horn in Mahler’s Fifth Symphony with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under Mariss Jansons; Strauss Horn Concerto No. 2 with La Scala under Riccardo Muti; and Mozart concertos under Claudio Abbado.
In 2012 Deutsche Grammophon released the four Mozart horn concertos recorded live with Mr. Allegrini as soloist with Mr. Abbado. Mr. Allegrini is an International Visiting Professor at the Royal Academy in London and holds master classes in Europe, South America, and Japan.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MUSICIANS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
Julian Fifer is an artist manager, producer of concerts, opera, recordings and educational materials, and former cellist. As cellist with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra for its first 18 years, he performed in hundreds of cities on four continents. Mr. Fifer founded Orpheus in 1972 and was executive director for 26 years. He guided the ensemble from a counterculture startup to the top echelon of the concert and recording businesses.
For decades, Orpheus was the only orchestra in the world where the musicians ran the rehearsals and decided seating positions for every piece of music. Fifer conceived it as a conductorless ensemble in which all the musicians would share both the artistic opportunities and responsibilities, a model now emulated by a new generation of musicians. He identified and selected the musicians to form a virtuoso ensemble capable of performing at the highest international standard of excellence. In 1984, Fifer negotiated the largest record contract held by an American orchestra, resulting in the production of over 50 discs for Deutsche Grammophon in a twelve-year span. He developed relationships for the ensemble with virtually all the major international festivals and music centers, including London, Paris, Berlin, Milan, Salzburg, Vienna, Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong and Tokyo, and forged collaborations with leading soloists of the day, including Yo-Yo Ma, Isaac Stern, Richard Goode, Radu Lupu, Anne Sophie von Otter, Gil Shaham, Wynton Marsalis, Alfred Brendel, Gidon Kremer, and Dawn Upshaw.
Having positioned the orchestra as an organizational model to help corporations address employee motivation, problem-solving, and job satisfaction, Fifer has been engaged by multinational corporations to speak about creating and sustaining effective teamwork and enhancing creativity and quality. As strategic advisor and worldwide booking manager to the Venice Baroque Orchestra, he has built an unprecedented concert and recording career for an Italian period-instrument ensemble, including many recordings for Sony and Deutsche Grammophon.
In 2000, with composer and educator Bruce Adolphe, Fifer co-founded The Learning Maestros, a company dedicated to creating new works and related curricula that integrate music with other disciplines, including science, literature, history, and issues of social conscience. At The Learning Maestros, Fifer and Adolphe believe that placing music and the arts at the center of engaged living enriches both the individual and society.
Driven by a passion to create ideal balances between music and place, performer and audience, Fifer founded and ran the Venice Music Festival for three years commencing in 2004. The Festival brought new life to neglected manuscripts through historically informed performances, fostered emerging talent, and commissioned new work.
A native New Yorker, Fifer started playing the cello at age six at the Manhattan School of Music, attended the Bronx High School of Science, studied chamber music at the Juilliard School, and received his B.A. in liberal arts from Columbia University. He resides in Portland, Oregon.