PROJECT: MUSIC HEALS US is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide encouragement, education and healing through bringing high-quality live music performances and interactive programming to marginalized communities with limited ability to access it themselves, with a focus on elderly, disabled, rehabilitating, incarcerated, and homeless populations.
Now in its sixth season, PROJECT: MUSIC HEALS US has presented over 200 free classical music concerts in hospitals, nursing homes, hospice centers, retirement homes, food pantries, centers for individuals with disabilities, correctional facilities, homeless shelters and refugee centers. Each season (September-May) includes a series of public ticketed concerts which aid in subsidizing the rest of our healing concerts.
We present formal chamber music and solo recital concerts featuring musicians from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Marlboro Music Festival, the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, the Curtis Institute of Music, the Perlman Music Program, and more. The roster of musicians includes both up-and-coming artists of this generation as well as their performing artist mentors. Additionally, these concert evenings feature 45-minute pre-concert lectures, 15-minute pre-concert YOUNG ARTIST PERFORMANCES, and post-concert receptions with Q&A with the musicians.
We perform concerts for patients in nursing homes, hospitals, and hospices, as well as for those who are incarcerated in prisons and those staying in homeless shelters and refugee centers. These performances are shorter versions of the formal ticketed concerts with much more discussion and interaction with the audience.
In addition to generating funding for the healing concerts, the public ticketed concerts feature Young Artist Performances by local high school and college level musicians, creating a space for talented aspiring musicians to develop performance experience while connecting with professional performing artists. In its 2019-2020 season, PMHU will also offer a full Young Artist Mentorship Program in which young musicians will join PMHU artists in healing and outreach concerts and workshops, providing them with the opportunity to learn first-hand what it means to use art for social good while forging musical mentorships that may last a lifetime.
In the last three years, Project: Music Heals Us has developed an innovative ‘outreach’ program that brings interactive, thoughtfully-conceived chamber music concerts and workshops to incarcerated communities in federal and state correctional institutions of all security levels throughout Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, and California. In recognition and support of this program, PMHU was awarded the ProMusicis Father Eugène Merlet Award for Community Service in 2017, and has since continued to develop interactive, conversational, and educational musical programs and creative workshops which help inmates find positive emotional outlets through composing their own musical pieces. The resulting artistic creations and responses of the inmate participants of these programs have been extraordinary, and reinforced to all involved the power of music to bridge the divide between people of different cultures and circumstances.
PMHU’s 2019-2020 season of Prison Outreach Residencies is comprised of four separate projects:
In August 2018, PMHU embarked on its newest program: a year-long initiative called the Novel Voices Refugee Aid Project. Expanding on our belief in the importance of using art to bring comfort, connection, and empowerment to those living on the margins of our local communities, this project is designed to give voice and visibility, through music and film, to the lives and struggles of both local and international refugee communities, and to educate and encourage audiences and artists alike to become connected and involved. It brings free, interactive concerts to displaced populations while increasing awareness of and raising support for both U.S.-based and international refugee-aid programs.
Throughout the 2018-2019 season, violist and PMHU founder Molly Carr and pianist Anna Petrova (as the Carr-Petrova Duo), along with composer Fernando Arroyo Lascurain and filmmakers Victoria Stevens and Skyler Knutzen visited ten refugee communities across the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East to perform music, engage with refugee audiences, and record their stories. These conversations have served as the inspiration for an original musical work by Lascurain and an eventual film by Stevens and Knutzen, documenting the year-long journey. The Carr-Petrova Duo recorded and will release Lascurain’s composition on an album entitled “Novel Voices,” and will premiere the composition alongside a preview of the film in a “Refugee Awareness” concert at Carnegie Hall on October 28th, 2019.