THE CITIZEN MUSICIAN in the 21st CENTURY

Music has been used to rally for war and exalt the peace; to prove guilt and proffer beauty. Musicians have been revered, but also imprisoned and murdered.

In recent years, increasing numbers of cities and organizations have championed music as a way to improve education test scores, transform the prospects of underserved youth, and promote healing and reconciliation in post-conflict regions.

The challenges communities face are increasingly global, from climate change and dramatic surges in refugees to extreme poverty and degradation of the environment. Coupled with diminishing support for the arts, the urgent challenges of our time compel us to ask, “What are the opportunities and responsibilities of musicians in the 21st century?”

Musicians For Human Rights asks musicians not only to imagine themselves on the concert stage, but to consider their place on the global stage. We believe one becomes a finer musician and a more complete person by helping others.

Our mission is to foster a culture of humanism through music. Our approach is to present human rights issues as a lens through which musicians can explore:
— why they make music
— how they might more successfully consider disparate ideas
— what they can bring uniquely to the performance and teaching of repertoire
— how they might help improve society while pursuing their artistic goals.

We pursue our mission through these activities:
— performing works, including new commissions, that can shed light on human rights principles, shortcomings, and aspirations
— inviting human rights experts to teach student and professional musicians about the history, principles, practices, and challenges of human rights
— devoting time together, without instruments, to learn about each other’s background, interests, and values
— contributing funds raised at concerts to human rights organizations
— presenting community outreach programs to people at the margins of society.

High school students during rehearsal break, Lucerne, Switzerland