|© UNICEF/HQ07-1709/ Berkwitz|
|On hand for the appointment of the orchestra as new UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in New York were (left to right) Berliner Philharmoniker Managing Director Pamela Rosenberg, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Hilde F. Johnson, Berliner Philharmoniker Artistic Director Sir Simon Rattle and Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit.|
By Najwa Mekki
NEW YORK, USA, 5 December 2007 – One of the world’s most renowned orchestras, the Berliner Philharmoniker, has joined the ranks of UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassadors. The announcement came during the orchestra’s Rite of Spring project involving more than 100 schoolchildren from New York City public schools this fall.
The project was part of the Berliner Philharmoniker’s 'Zukunft@BPhil', an educational outreach programme that seeks to make classical music accessible and relevant to the widest audience possible, including the younger generation. The appointment of the orchestra as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador is a recognition of its commitment to empower and inspire children through music.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child gives children the right to play and the right to fulfil their full potential. Art and music are a very important part of that,” said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Hilde F. Johnson at a landmark concert for children performed by the orchestra last month at the United Palace Theatre in New York.
“We use art and music with children that have gone through crisis and major distress. For us, this is not only a right, it is also an important tool to help children get back on their feet and face the future,” added Ms. Johnson. She went on to present the Berliner Philharmoniker’s Artistic Director, Sir Simon Rattle, with a blue UNICEF cello case to mark the partnership.
Cheering for children
Children were the highlight of this special performance, playing music and songs that they had composed themselves with the support of the Philharmoniker’s outreach team. The youths also performed a dance accompanied by the full orchestra.
Audience members ranged from infants to adults, including local residents and classical music aficionados who travelled to the New York’s Washington Heights neighbourhood for the occasion. Some came to cheer their children, siblings or classmates, others to listen to their favourite symphony orchestra and applaud its work with young people.
The concert ended with a standing ovation from teh audience.
“UNICEF has the same goals that we have,” said Berliner Philharmoniker Director Pamela Rosenberg. “They work worldwide, trying to give children conditions in which they can develop themselves to their full potential and lead really fulfilling lives in dignity and with creativity. We want the same thing."