a man playing violin in an orchestra

Acclaimed violinist and conductor Shlomo Mintz, who will lead the virtual charity concert United in Music, performs a solo at the Cameristi della Scala orchestra. © Chab Lathion

International artists, professors and friends from 30 countries, join Maestro Shlomo Mintz, team up for globe-spanning performance in support of the UN Refugee Agency’s COVID-19 appeal.

More than 50 musicians from around the world are contributing their talents and time to a joint virtual concert performance to raise funds for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency’s COVID-19 response.

United in Music is slated to premiere on Thursday 28 May at 18:00 GMT (14:00 EST) and will be hosted and streamed on UNHCR’s global YouTube channels. The musical charity fundraiser was initiated by Shlomo Mintz, a world-renowned violin virtuoso and conductor, as a response to an invitation from Christine Mori and Alexis Spieldenner of Canadian-based Bravo Niagara! Festival of the Arts. The duo invited Maestro Mintz to collaborate on a virtual performance of Vivaldi’s celebrated Concerto for Four Violins, together with musicians of different orchestras based in Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Upon Maestro Mintz’s invitation the program was extended with Rachmanoniv’s Vocalise curated by Q-Toi, bringing together professors, concert artists, and students from 29 countries.  United in Music will be recorded remotely by the diverse ensemble of artists in their respective homes. The artists will be performing works by Vivaldi, Kreisler and Rachmaninoff.

All donations from the concert go to UNHCR to help protect refugees and the communities that welcome them in the ongoing global fight against COVID-19.

“The original idea behind the concert was to share a message of hope by bringing music and joy into people’s homes during this challenging time,” said Mintz. “We know there are millions more around the world who have been forced from their homes and are in in urgent need of humanitarian support — especially now. This brought me to the idea to turn this performance into a musical charity fundraiser. Our goal is to help raise funds for UNHCR in their efforts to support refugee families now facing the threat of COVID-19.”

The event will include a video introduction from Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and is supported by Barbara Hendricks, a globally acclaimed American-born classical singer and UNHCR’s lifetime Honorary Goodwill Ambassador.

“Music truly has the power to uplift and unite individuals – particularly during times of hardship,” said Hendricks. “As we all remain physically distanced, virtual communications are the connective thread that are keeping us together. I’m grateful for Maestro Mintz and for all the artists helping support the vital work of UNHCR in support of refugees. Every dollar raised will have a life-saving impact on millions of children, women and men who have been uprooted from their homes.”

Grandi added: “This is a great example of organizations coming together creatively across the globe to support refugees, and we are enormously grateful to Maestro Shlomo Mintz, Bravo Niagara! Festival of the Arts, and all the brilliant musicians who have come together from all over the world to collaborate to raise funds for UNHCR’s COVID-19 response.”

United in Music logo with names of performers circling the logo

Bravo Niagara! Festival of the Arts

This project is a testament to our belief in the transformative power of music for social change.

We are honoured to collaborate with Maestro Mintz and the UNHCR in uniting musical ambassadors from around the world to support refugees during this time of global crisis.

About UNHCR

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, leads international action to protect people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution. We deliver life-saving assistance like shelter, food and water, help safeguard fundamental human rights, and develop solutions that ensure people have a safe place to call home where they can build a better future. We also work to ensure that stateless people are granted a nationality.

UNHCR is taking measures to help respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency and prevent further spread. Working together with governments, UNHCR ensures refugees are included in national health response plans and are well-informed on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, have access to soap and clean water, and continue to receive the life-saving aid and assistance they need.

Even a small donation to UNHCR can make a huge difference in protecting refugees and their host communities from COVID-19. Just US$20 (€18, £16) can provide 10 families with bars of soap to help prevent the spread of the virus.

To donate to the United in Music fundraiser, please visit: https://donate.unhcr.org/gwa/united-in-music-coronavirus-fundraiser/

Notes to Editor

Musicians pre-event assets including program and artist bios can be found in this folder.

UNHCR images of refugees preparing for COVID can be found through this link.

For media enquiries:

For interviews with Goodwill Ambassador Barbara Hendricks:

For artists media enquiries:

For Bravo Niagara media enquiries:

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