music diplomacy

After partnering with Tokyo International Music Market (TIMM) in Japan last year, BAMID collaborates with Big Mountain Music Festival in Thailand this year, under New Southbound Policy, to exchange performances and campaign resources. These efforts aim to establish Taiwan as a regional pop music performing and trading center. [...] Big Mountain Music Festival, a new GMA partner, is the largest outdoor music festival in Southeast Asia, attracting 100,000 visitors a year. The event highlights local country and folk music in Thailand.

In his eight years leading the New York Philharmonic, Alan Gilbert has witnessed the power of music to connect cultures - and watched as political strife consumed much of the world. Closing his tenure in one of classical music's most prestigious positions, he is planning a next chapter by creating a sort of United Nations of orchestras. [...] The musicians will "play concerts that express hope for peace and cooperation and shared humanity", he said.

It is hard to imagine Africans would record and release an album of music with the name White African Power. But that is the title of an album released this month by the Tanzanian Albinism Collective, a group of amateur musicians from Africa who have albinism — a rare genetic condition that results in a lack of pigment in skin, hair or eyes. [...] White African Power is the newest in a string of projects produced by Brennan that seek to give voice to people who are normally voiceless.

June 13, 2017

Saudi Arabia's religious leaders have labelled some areas of Western culture as harmful and corrupting. They've banned movie theaters and rarely permit public concerts. But this is slowly changing -- and one Japanese orchestra is taking center stage. Over 80 musicians and a conductor arrived in Riyadh in April to give the first classical concert Saudi Arabia has allowed in decades.

Alan Gilbert has chosen to celebrate the close of his tenure as music director of the New York Philharmonic on a political note, with a program called “A Concert for Unity.” BY inviting musicians from countries including Iran and Israel to join Philharmonic members on the stage on Thursday-Saturday, Mr. Gilbert is clearly trying to steer against the divisive winds coming out of Washington. But he is also interesting himself into a tradition of bridge-building musical events that reach back to the aftermath of World War II. Here are five memorable moments of musical diplomacy: 

Can music really build bridges of understanding amid conflicts? Participants at the 2017 European Forum on Music in Cyprus think so, though they admit that music can also become a weapon. [...] On Saturday, June 10, music will bridge that divide when Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot musicians take the stage together in Pafos to perform at the 2017 European Forum on Music.

For a few hours on Sunday, Ariana Grande, a 23-year-old pop star from Boca Raton, Florida, was the leader of the free world. The position has been open for months. Contestants ranging from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to, improbably, Chinese President Xi Jinping have been auditioning for the job. [...] While President Trump gutter-tweeted argle-bargle and played another round of golf, Grande delivered what will likely stand as the official American response to the bombing in Manchester and to another terrorist attack, the night before the concert, in London.

Are there any limits to the channels and tools that a state can use to perpetuate narratives on national identity? Traditional approaches to what has been defined as nation-building have tended to rely on such things as studies of the use of the national language, school education, and political narratives. [...]  Indeed, cinema, large-scale events with hundreds of thousands of attendees, cultural initiatives, and even food narratives can be used to construct identity in a path that goes from traditional nation-building to what has recently been defined as nation-branding.

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