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Biography
Musicians For Harmony began as a response to the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Musicians and New Yorkers from all walks of life came together on the first anniversary to remember the victims and bring solace to one another. Their goal was to foster dialogue and cross-cultural understanding, unifying and inspiring people through the universal language of music. Renowned chamber ensembles and world music artists performed on the same program, donating their services to raise money for peace-related nonprofit organizations. The first sold-out concert was broadcast live on WNYC public radio and received the highest critical acclaim.

Since then, the organization has continued to commemorate September 11 and promote “peace through music” with its annual fall concerts in New York City, attracting such distinguished musicians as the Guarneri and Juilliard string quartets and pianists Claude Frank and Leon Fleisher. Eminent world music artists from countries as far-reaching as Albania, China, Egypt, France, Greece, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Lebanon, Mali, Morocco, Russia, and Syria have also performed.

Since 2007, Musicians For Harmony’s educational arm has extended its message of “peace through music” to the community’s younger members through its “Music of the World” workshops. This is a series of six, 90-minute sessions led by a professional teaching artist, with the help of musicians from different parts of the world. Reflecting the organization’s musical quality and collaborative approach, the workshops are designed for public school students in New York City’s poorest school districts. This program is funded, in part, by a grant from NYC’s Department of Cultural Affairs and receives support from the Brooklyn College Community Partnership.

In 2003, Musicians For Harmony founder Allegra Klein traveled to Baghdad to meet the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra. This pioneering trip gave the INSO’s musicians more than much-needed sheet music and strings for their instruments – it was the first time since the U.S. incursion that an American artist visited the war zone in order to make music with them. This cultural diplomacy was continued in July 2007 when Ms. Klein returned through a U.S. State Department-funded program to teach musicians and artists gathered in Erbil from all over Iraq. There, she introduced the Suzuki Method of teaching orchestral instruments to small children, receiving overwhelming support for this idea, and conducted a youth orchestra made up of talented students from Baghdad, Erbil, and Suleymania.

As an outcome of this visit, Musicians For Harmony launched its “Mentorship Program” in December 2007 -- a distance-learning project that offers advanced instruction on orchestral instruments to the most talented students of Baghdad’s Music & Ballet School. The first student in this program, Zuhal Sultan, has become so proficient after receiving piano lessons through this program that she made her solo début with the INSO in Baghdad in August 2008. She also now serves as Musicians For Harmony’s Global Youth Ambassador.

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