UN Chamber Music Society of the United Nations Staff Recreation Council
UN Chamber Music Society of the United Nations Staff Recreation Council

UN Chamber Music Society Music Therapy Concert

The Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, 2 May 2022
Photo credit: Andrey Nastasenko


Message by Harvey Mason Jr., CEO of the Recording Academy


UN Chamber Music Society
Concert for Peace for Ukraine

31 March 2022


Hello, my name is Harvey Mason, CEO of the Recording Academy.  Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to address this incredible group.  I’m so honored to be with you and I’m grateful for the work you do to promote peace around the world.  Thank you for the humanitarian efforts you are making today in Ukraine.  

We need that same kind of commitment today from the world’s leading powers and international bodies like the United Nations, the birthplace of the UN Chamber Music Society.  

Music crosses boundaries and barriers. It brings people together, oftentimes providing the common language needed for understanding and peace.  

On behalf of our 24,000 members, and the entire music community we exist to serve, the Recording Academy thanks you for your efforts to bring peace and humanitarian assistance to the many parts of the world where it is so desperately needed. 

Thank you all so much. 

Message by Amin Awad, United Nations Crisis Coordinator for Ukraine


UN Chamber Music Society Concert for Peace for Ukraine

31 March 2022


I would like to welcome you to this special UN Chamber Music Society Concert dedicated to the country of Ukraine, to the tragedy that is going on there, to the humanitarian effort, and also the effort for peace.


The United Nations agencies, along with the national societies, international NGOs, and national NGOs have provided a lot of support in different parts of Ukraine – to the people who are displaced by this war.  I urge those who are watching this concert and turning in to also support the efforts of the national Ukrainian agencies, the United Nations offices, and international NGOs who continue to play a vital role in the humanitarian response in the country.

For those who are turning in to this concert, I would like to encourage you to support these agencies that are working at the front lines of Ukraine, until peace is found, during this very difficult time.

Message by Brenda Vongova, President of the UN Chamber Music Society

UN Chamber Music Society Concert for Peace for Ukraine

31 March 2022


Thank you for joining us for today’s concert, in support of Ukraine. 

The world needs peace now.  Peace for the people of Ukraine. 

I would like to thank Mr Amin Awad, the United Nations Crisis Coordinator for Ukraine – for lending his voice to this fundraising effort.  I would also like to thank Harvey Mason Jr., CEO of the Recording Academy, for his wonderful support to this concert.

76 years ago, amid the ruins of the second world war, the world’s nations united to proclaim that enough was enough. The Charter of the United Nations, which all member states agreed to, enshrined a universal agreement to respect all countries’ territorial integrity, and “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war…to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.”

Since then, the UN has worked to build peace, and, when war breaks out, to provide assistance and protection to millions of civilians. Donating to OCHA’s Ukraine Humanitarian Fund will help the UN address t
he deteriorating humanitarian situation in and around Ukraine, and support the unprecedented number of internally displaced persons and refugees in need of assistance - particularly women, children, the elderly and other vulnerable groups

As the UN Secretary-General calls – to “give peace another chance,” we must not underestimate the power of culture to heal, and rebuild.  I hope that you will enjoy our “Concert for Peace for Ukraine.”

Message by Melissa Fleming, UN Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications


UN Chamber Music Society of the UN Staff Recreation Council

Virtual Concert on Occasion of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust

Thursday, 27 January 2022


Dear friends and colleagues from around the world,


Good evening and welcome to this special concert marking the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.


I am honored that the United Nations Chamber Music Society has asked me to speak to you.


This year the UN has chosen the theme of “memory, justice, and dignity” for our Holocaust remembrance and education programmes.


Tonight’s concert speaks to that theme. Through music we have an opportunity to remember the victims of the Holocaust and what they endured, but also the richness of their lives before the advent of Nazism.


The music also serves as a reminder of our responsibilities today to do all we can to build a world in which the atrocities of the Holocaust do not happen again.


If the phrase “Never again” is to mean anything, then we must vigorously confront antisemitism and distortions of history -- wherever and whenever we find them.


We must tackle racism and prejudice at the root and commit to celebrating the worth and dignity of every member of the human family.


My thanks to the UN Chamber Music Society. I hope everyone tuning in tonight will enjoy this special concert. Thank you.

Message by H.E. Mr. Mohammed Hussein Bahr Aluloom, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations, Chair of the Arab Group for the month of December 2021


UN Chamber Music Society Concert in Celebration of Arabic Language Day
Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, 17 December 2021




Ladies and gentlemen,

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته, and good evening,


Tonight, is a special night for all the speakers, lovers, learners, and friends of one of the most beautifully written and spoken languages in the world, a language that is distinguished by its richness of meanings as well as expressive and discreet descriptions. Tonight 48 years ago, the United Nations Member States finalized the draft of the resolution number three thousand, one hundred ninety to be considered and adopted at the General Assembly on the very next day, the eighteenth of December 1973, a resolution that recognized this language as the sixth official language of the United Nations. Tonight, we are gathered to celebrate the World Arabic Language Day.


Ladies and gentlemen,

The Arabic language was honoured by writing the words of God, in the Holly Qur'an, where God said in His holy Book, "We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur'an". The Arabic language was also used to write, document, and convey through time various and most significant sciences in mathematics, astronomy, medicine, and sociology, those sciences that contributed to the development of humanity, not to mention literary letters and rich poetic heritage in describing love, peace, sadness, lamentation, praise, and satire.

Dear friends,

The Arabic language belongs to the Semitic languages family and is spoken by more than four hundred million people in the world of different religions and nationalities. It is the language of worship for more than a billion Muslims in the world, and here I want to highlight the role and importance of this language in promoting the values of tolerance, peace and respect within and among religions and civilizations, to better understand each other and build a prospers future for all.

The Arabic language is heard in multiple dialects, and each one of them is distinguished by a special luster that pleases the listener and demonstrates the ability of this language to develop and adapt to different peoples and the capabilities of their speakers.

Among the most famous names of the Arabic language is the language of Al-Dhad, one of the Arabic alphabet letters, which is characterized by a unique pronunciation that is unmatched in the rest of the world's languages.

Ladies and gentlemen,

On this glorious day, I can only conclude this message with a line of a poem by the Prince of Poets Ahmed Shawqi, who said, in describing the beauty of the Arabic language: God who filled languages with charms * summed up al beauties and confined them in Al-Dhadi.

Lastly, as one of the sons of the Arabic language, I'm glad and honored to share these festive moments with you and wish to express my overwhelming joy in addressing you. Furthermore, I would like to, especially, thank the distinguished members of the United Nations Chamber Music Society, Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, and Abu Dhabi Festival for their efforts and dedication in organizing this event.


Thank you for your kind attention, Happy World Arabic Language Day, and I wish you all, dear ones, grace and health.

Message by H.E. Huda I. Alkhamis-Kanoo
Founder of Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation
Founder and Artistic Director of Abu Dhabi Festival


UN Chamber Music Society Concert in Celebration of Arabic Language Day

Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, 17 December 2021


Al Salam Alaikum.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Esteemed guests,

My name is Huda Al Khamis-Kanoo, Founder and Artistic Director of Abu Dhabi Festival, and I’m pleased to join you from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.  At the outset, may I share with you my warmest season greetings for the forthcoming holidays. 

I also take this opportunity to thank the UN Chamber Music Society and to everyone who made this performance possible.  Today, we celebrate together the Arabic language on its international day as the pearl of our civilization.  For thousands of years, it has been a language of broad creativity and ingenuity.


As the late Egyptian poet Hafiz Ibrahim wrote, “It is an ocean in which great treasures dwell”.  With its wealth of possibilities for expression, its flowing artistic letters and its variety of forms, Arabic is the foundation of our identity, our values, and our culture.  Let us preserve all the languages of the world and pass them on to future generations, freely expressing our shared heritage in a modern context. 

Let us celebrate words through music, the marvelous soul of the universe, the source of joy and the heartbeat of life.

I leave you the words of Gibran: “Give me the flute, and sing, immortality lies in a song, and even after we’ve perished, the flute continues to lament.”


Message by Melissa Fleming, UN Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications


UN Chamber Music Society Virtual Concert in Observance of the
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

25 November 2021


Colleagues, friends,


Welcome to this special concert in observance of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.


My sincere appreciation to the United Nations Chamber Music Society for putting this concert together -- and for demonstrating how music can illuminate an important issue.


Violence against women and girls knows no demographic limits – it crosses every social class, ethnic group and national border.


The numbers are beyond heartbreaking. Around the world, nearly 1 in 3 women have been subjected to physical or sexual violence at least once in their lifetimes.


And we have seen that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, rates of gender-based violence have only worsened.


But there is also hope. In recent years, survivors and activists are increasingly raising their voices against this scourge. Their words are piercing the silence and upending the complacency.


United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres has urged all governments to make tackling violence against women a key part of their pandemic response plans.


Each and every one of us has a role to play too: to join together to demand accountability and take concrete measures to protect women and girls worldwide.


Let this concert be a reminder of the strength of women and girls. Let it be a moment to reaffirm our commitment to helping to eliminate sexual and gender-based violence.


Music helps us to reflect and heal. It uplifts, brings us together and gives us a sense of solidarity and inspiration – values needed now more than ever. 


Thank you. I wish everyone an enjoyable concert.      

Remarks by Ndaba Mandela, Founder & Chairman of Mandela Institute for Humanity

UN Chamber Music Society Concert in Celebration of International Nelson Mandela Day
6 June 2021


Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
My name Ndaba Mandela, the Chair of the Mandela Institute for Humanity.

For the past, almost two years, we as humanity have been fighting the Covid-19 virus.  This virus has left a devastating mark on our humanity, and even the Mandela family was not left unscathed.  Last year, we lost our great aunt – Aunt Zindzi (Mandela), and other family members.

Let us not forget that even during these times we fight this resilient and invisible enemy, that we have a responsibility to look after those who are less privileged than ourselves.

Nelson Mandela taught us the importance of giving back to our community.  Statues of Madiba was not what he had wanted.  Idealizing Mandela is not the way to go. 

Let us remember his words, when he said, “To be free is not to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”  The United Nations has partnered with us, together with many others of you, to make sure that gave a message and remind each other of our common shared humanity.

Message by H.E. Ms. Mathu Joyini, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations


UN Chamber Music Society Concert in Celebration of International Nelson Mandela Day

18 July 2021



Programme Facilitator,

H.E. Mr. António Guterres, UN Secretary-General,

Ms Mellissa Fleming, Under Secretary-General for the UN Global Communications,

Mr Ndaba Mandela, Founder and Chairman of the Mandela Institute for Humanity,

Ms Brenda Vongova, President of the United Nations Chamber Music Society,

Distinguished Guests and Featuring Artists,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


It gives me great pleasure to deliver this message of welcome on the occasion of the Virtual Concert in celebration of International Nelson Mandela Day.

The concert takes place at a time when the international community of nations is engaged in a titanic battle to combat contemporary global existential threats to humanity.  These include the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, rising poverty and inequality, racism and discrimination amongst other challenges.


It is my view that in a climate of despair, the arts and music in particular, can play a fundamental role in instilling a climate of hope, comfort, inspiration and unity. Afterall music is a universal language which we can all relate to despite our diverse origins, be it the symphonies of Beethoven and Mozart; the freedom songs of Miriam Makeba and Bob Marley; and the popular music of Beyonce, Rihanna and Dibanj amongst others.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Music can reach the inner depths of the human spirit and soul in unparalleled ways. It is for this reason that there is song for both moments of joy and sadness.

Our global icon whom this event is commemorating recognized the value of this distinct characteristic of music, particularly as it related to the role that music played in inspiring him and his fellow freedom fighters during their incarceration.

In a speech delivered during his visit to the Capital of classical music, Vienna, Austria, in October 2003, former President Mandela had occasion to remark that (and I quote):

“We have spent many years of our life in the isolation of a prison island. I suppose it is difficult for others to imagine just how much solace we drew in those years from the knowledge and remembrance of the great works of music that emanated from this city. Its resonance kept on reminding us of the ultimate unity of the human soul and the indestructibility of the human spirit.”


In conclusion, we are further pleased that when the organizers of this concert assembled their coterie of talented artists who will perform on this auspicious occasion, they did so guided by the ideals and principles which Nelson Mandela fought for throughout his life, namely those of inclusion and diversity. May these continue to inspire us for many years to come!

I wish this event all the success. I thank you for your attention. 

UN Chamber Music Society announces THE 2nd annual
UN Chamber Music Society Concert in Celebration of International Nelson Mandela Day 2021

PRESS RELEASE - 6 July 2021
UNCMS Mandela Day 2021_Press Release.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [263.4 KB]

Message by Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees


UN Chamber Music Society Concert in Celebration of World Refugee Day 2021

20 June 2021

Music has a special place in every country, nation and society around the world. It moves and inspires us. It brings back old memories and helps us forge new ones.  Music can even help heal the invisible wounds of trauma and suffering.


It is therefore an especially important outlet for the more than 80 million people around the world who have been forced from their homes; their families; and their friends.


Whether musicians or audience members, music can help the displaced connect with their countries and places of origin, even while in exile, and equally build ties with their host communities in places where they have sought safety and refuge.


The power of music thus lies not just in the notes on a page, but in how it brings people together, something so needed in a world that is increasingly divided.



Today is World Refugee Day – the day when we celebrate refugees and their fortitude and renew our commitment to protect, assist and find solutions to their plight.  I can think of few ways to better symbolize our solidarity with them than through a musical tribute.


I am therefore deeply grateful that the United Nations Chamber Music Society has chosen to honour them again this year with this concert and hope to be able to celebrate with you again, in person, in the near future.


Thank you.

Message by Melissa Fleming, UN Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications


UN Chamber Music Society Concert in Celebration of World Refugee Day 2021

20 June 2021


Dear colleagues and friends from around the world,


I am honored to greet you today for this special event in honor of World Refugee Day.


This is a cause very close to my heart. And today, through the power of music, I am delighted that we will have an opportunity today to celebrate refugees and to laud their resilience, strength and courage.


This year’s theme for World Refugees Day – “Together we heal, learn and shine” -- focuses on the power of inclusion. And the shared experience of the COVID-19 pandemic shows us that we will only succeed when we stand together and support each other.


The past year has been tough for each and every one of us. But it has been especially challenging for those who were already forced to flee from war, violence, persecution or natural disaster.


Many refugees have been disproportionately hurt by the pandemic. They are frequently excluded from social and economic safety nets, lack access to even basic health care, and are targets of stigmatization and xenophobia.


Yet millions of refugees also continue to be the unsung heroes of this crisis – essential workers who show up for work every day, volunteer in their new communities and give back wherever they can.


We know this has always been true. Given a chance, refugees contribute to stronger, safer and more vibrant communities and societies.


Today’s musical programme, Songs of Five Continents, reminds us that wherever we are in the world, we are connected as one human family.


It is especially notable that the beautiful repertoire is composed and performed by classically trained Syrian musicians.


I will conclude by expressing my appreciation to the UN Chamber Music Society of the United Nations Staff Recreation Council for organizing this concert. Thank you.

Message by Duarte Pacheco, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union


UN Chamber Music Society Concert in Concert in Celebration of International Day of Parliamentarism
Empowering Youth in a Time of Pandemic

30 June 2021



Ladies and Gentlemen, the 30th of June 2021 marks my first International Day of Parliamentarism as the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. 


The theme this year, “Empowering Youth” is very dear to me as I was first elected as a Young Parliamentarian.  I know first-hand that parliaments are best when they are representative, when they include young people and their perspectives on issues. When parliaments are representative of the population, nations can have more inclusion, better policies and good laws, because they are listening to the full range of views.


All over the world, Covid 19 hit different parts of our society differently.  We need young people, young parliamentarians elected and empowered to bring the changes we need build better societies. 


As IPU President, I have taken the pledge – I Say Yes to Youth in Parliament!  I will encourage young people to run, I will mentor young people and I will learn from young people too.


I wish you well as we celebrate the International Day of Parliamentarism on 30 June 2021.  Obrigado!


The Executive Council of the UN Chamber Music Society
of the United Nations Staff Recreation Council


President & Artistic Director:
Ms. Brenda Vongova

Honorary Artistic Adviser:
Mr. Christopher Tin, 2x Grammy Award winning composer

Ms. Anne-Chris Visser

Public Relations Adviser:
Mr. Firas Kayal

Special Adviser:
Mr. Mohammed Shaker

Ms. Ruxandra Ferascu

Ms. Yulya Vanetik

UNCMS Advisory Board

Professor Edward Bilous
Founding Director of Juilliard's Center for Innvoation in the Arts
Ms. Eileen Moon, Associate Principal Cello, New York Philharmonic

Professor Natasha Brofsky,
The Juilliard School 

Concert Videos:

United Nations Global YouTube

UN Chamber Music Society YouTube




Social Media:

Facebook & Instagram & Twitter



United Nations Headquarters
UN Chamber Music Society

of the United Nations Staff Recreation Council
c/o Ms. Brenda Vongova (S-3802)
New York, NY, 10017


Email: info@unchambermusic.org

Painting by Adolph Menzel (1850 - 1852).  Frederick the Great plays flute in his summer palace Sanssouci, with Franz Benda playing violin, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach accompanying on keyboard, and unidentified string players.

Photo credit: Wikipedia / Google Cultural Institute

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