Year for the Children of Syria Launched at the Liechtenstein Residence in New York in the Presence of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

CW intro GM to SG
Liechtenstein Ambassador Christian Wenaweser introduces Music for Life International Artistic Director George Mathew to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.Photo: Jay Mandal/On Assignment
NEW YORK - Music for Life International is happy to announce the Launch of the Year for the Children of Syria,  which was hosted by the Permanent Mission of the Principality of Liechtenstein to the United Nations and H.E. Ambassador Christian Wenaweser, Permanent Representative of Liechtenstein to the United Nations, at the Liechtenstein Residence in New York City on April 25, 2013. The event was attended by senior UN diplomats and the Ambassadors of over forty member states to the UN.

The programme included remarks by H.E. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations; H.E. Ambassador Christian Wenaweser of Liechtenstein; Ted Chaiban, Director, Office of Emergency Programmes, UNICEF; Catherine Cahill, President & CEO, Mann Center for the Performing Arts; and George Mathew, Artistic Director, Music For Life International. 


A brief chamber music performance followed, featuring former New York Philharmonic Associate Principal Cellist, Alan Stepansky; Smithsonian Institution Resident Artist and Hesperus Ensemble Pianist and composer, 
Mark Kussdistinguished Syrian clarinetist and founding Principal Clarinet of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Kinan Azmeh; and George Mathew, pianist and Artistic Director, Music for Life International, in works by 
Beethoven, Schumann, and Azmeh.  
Kinan Azmeh Clarinet
Syrian Clarinetist Kinan Azmeh performs. Photo: Jay Mandal/On Assignment 2013
Kinan Azmeh (b.1976): 
"Sabah hazeen, kul sabah" (A Sad Morning, Every Morning) 

Kinan Azmeh, Clarinet


Photo: Jay Mandal/On Assignment 2013

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827): 
Overture to Egmont
A Model for Recovery and Reconciliation (Arranged for piano four-hands)
Mark Kuss and George Mathew, Piano
Stepansky and Mathew
Cellist Alan Stepansky and Pianist George Mathew perform

 Robert Schumann (1810-1856)Adagio and Allegro for Cello and Piano   Alan Stepansky, Violoncello; George Mathew, Piano


SG Speaking In his remarks, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon acknowledged Liechtenstein Ambassador Christian Wenaweser, Music For Life International, and Artistic Director George Mathew, saying, "Thank you for organizing this effort on behalf of the Children of Syria. I visited the camps in Jordan and Turkey for the refugees who have fled the conflict. I will never forget what I saw and the stories I heard."


"I asked one young girl what she wanted. Her answer was simple: 'I want to go home,' she said. Sadly more and more children in Syria are being denied that simple wish," Mr. Ban remembered.


The Secretary-General ended his remarks with a warning and a plea, "We risk an entire generation of children being scarred for life. Tonight our thoughts are with the children of Syria. I hope the moving music on tonight's programme can help to move hearts and minds so we can end the suffering. The children of Syria are our children. They need our help."

Photo: Jay Mandal/On Assignment 2013
Year for the Children of Syria is a yearlong series of events in New York and cities around the world, including Panama City, Berlin, Washington DC, and Boston, which will culminate in Shostakovich for the Children of Syria, a humanitarian concert of the "Leningrad" Symphony of Dmitri Shostakovich at Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium/ Perelman Stage on Monday, 13 January 2014. This Initiative brings together many of the world's finest orchestral musicians as well as younger colleagues from the great international academies of music. Principal artists will gather from the New York Philharmonic, MET Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and other major ensembles. Elmira Darvarova, legendary former Concertmaster of the MET Orchestra, will serve as concertmaster. George Mathew, Artistic Director, will conduct.
Speaking about the final concert at Carnegie Hall, Music for Life International, Artistic Director George Mathew observed, "Dimitri Shostakovich's searing Seventh Symphony, 'Leningrad,' was written during its own composer's experience as an internal refugee, after surviving Stalin's oppression and the urban catastrophe, which was the Nazi army's 900-day siege of Leningrad. There are uncanny resonances between the context of Shostakovich's monumental symphony and the emergency unfolding in Syria. The Leningrad Symphony bears witness to layers of oppression, bombs from earth and sky, the explosions, the deathly silences afterward, the numbing grief, and ultimately the resilience of human beings in the face of violence and death. Shostakovich bore witness to a complex vortex of oppression, war, deprivation in this music. The Symphony is also a testimonial to the fundamental goodness and ultimate triumph of the human spirit in the face of the most horrendous and bestial violence of human being on human being." As artists and concerned citizens, this concert is our call to the world community for action to end the conflict and to provide the resources and support to enable the Syrian refugees to rebuild their lives and communities.


George Mathew again: "Our YEAR FOR THE CHILDREN OF SYRIA of events in New York, Boston, Washington DC, Panama City, Berlin, and other cities will work to raise funds and public consciousness about the children in the conflict and their families. These little ones have been so traumatized and some of them are bravely going about their lives in the refugees camps and elsewhere. Yet in ten, twenty, thirty years from now, these children will be called upon not only to physically rebuild Syria but rebuild their communities and relationships. These are the healers and builders of the future that UNICEF, UNHCR, and the various organizations in the field are trying to protect and heal so that there may be a future at all for Syria and the region."


The next CHILDREN OF SYRIA event, Panamá por los Niños de Siria, will be held at the Ateneo Auditorium at the Ciudad de Saber (City of Knowledge) in Panama City on June 4th, 2013. Co-presented by UNICEF Latin America and Caribbean, UNDP Latin America and Caribbean, City of Knowledge Foundation, REDLAC, the Associacion Nacional de Conciertos and Music For Life International, Panamá por los Niños de Siria will feature Music For Life International pianists, Mark Kuss and George Mathew in music by Beethoven, Haydn and Schubert.


Proceeds of this year-long initiative will benefit UNICEF's humanitarian programs for the Syrian Emergency
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UN Secretary-General H.E. Ban Ki-moon's prepared remarks at Music for Life International's CHILDREN OF SYRIA Launch Reception and Concert in New York

Times Square Chronicles, Children of Syria Launch
Children of Syria Launch
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  2013 Booklet
Music for Life's 
2013 Booklet

for the
Children of Syria
January 13, 2014
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Please Support
for the 
Children of Syria

 or make a 

tax-deductible donation 

of any amount 


Donate Online
or send a check to

Music for Life International

"Children of Syria"

431 W 146th St, No. 4

New York, NY 10031


Proceeds of this

year-long initiative will benefit UNICEF's humanitarian programs for the Syrian Emergency 

music for life international, inc. (MFLI) was created to conceive and present musical concerts and related events to promote the awareness of significant international humanitarian crises and other public interest issues in the United States and throughout the world. MFLI takes its name from the legendary MUSIC FOR LIFE concert led by Leonard Bernstein at Carnegie Hall in 1987.

MFLI is a registered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt not-for-profit organization.