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<<  -- 2 --  Amanda von Goetz    MUSIC FOR THE PEOPLE


In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on 9/11, Harvey, then an undergraduate student at Juilliard, famously performed for the Fighting Sixty-Ninth regiment as they returned from a long day of rescue attempts and clean-up work at Ground Zero. 'The experience,' the violinist was quoted in saying, 'instilled in me a desire to use the power of music to offer comfort and to bridge the barriers between cultures. I founded Music for the People with this purpose in mind.'

'There are two main components of Music for the People,' he continued, 'Firstly, we hope to become the Peace Corps for musicians. You know, on most concert tours, you show up in a city, you play, maybe there's a reception so you shake a few hands, you leave, and then it's "goodbye". With Music for the People, you go in, you stay with host families, you learn the language if you can, and you collaborate with some wonderful humanitarian organizations. The second component of MFTP, which I hope to develop in the future, is to do the exact reverse -- to bring musicians from other parts of the world to smaller towns in America.'

Music for the People's first sojourn overseas during June and July of 2005 was aptly entitled, 'Project I', and took Harvey on a one-man tour of Moldova and Tunisia. 'In Moldova, among other things, I did a benefit concert where we collected over six-thousand books for UNICEF's Early Childhood Development Program. And actually, I was in Tunisia on the day of the London bombings, 7 July 2005. I had a concert that evening, which I decided to dedicate to the victims of terrorism. The attacks felt very close to home for me in many ways, and there I found myself in a completely Muslim country. But you know, it was amazing. The support was just overwhelming.'

And it seems that Harvey is already making good on his promise to bring musicians from the far reaches of the globe to the United States. 'This summer I'm working very hard to get my star student, a young man by the name of Nidhal Jebali, whom I met at the master classes [in Tunisia], over to the Indiana University String Academy.'

Teaching a violin class in Tunis
Teaching a violin class in Tunis

The huge success of Music for the People's first project immediately spawned the birth and development of a second. During May and June of 2006, Project II will take the Executive Director, along with fellow violinist Elizabeth Weisser, violist Maya Papach, cellist Christopher Gross and pianist Becky Lu on a three-week tour of the Philippines.

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Copyright © 13 April 2006 Amanda von Goetz, New York City, USA


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