I studied music for six years at the Royal Academy of Music, and, while I learned so many things about the music I am playing, the most fundamental question of, “Why do we play music?”, was never answered. In my 20s, after performing three solo recitals at Carnegie Hall in New York City, and in search of answers, I packed an electric keyboard and a generator in a canoe and sailed down the Amazon river of Ecuador and Peru, in order to meet new audiences and connect with them through the music that I deeply loved. This was the beginning of Keys of Change. Hoping to find out for myself what music can really do, and with the hope that it can help make the world a better place, I embarked on musical expeditions in some of the darkest corners on the planet like Sierra Leone, Siberia, India, Uganda, Nepal and Northeastern Japan. It was in Tohoku, Japan, playing for the survivors of the 2011 disaster, that I experienced the tremendous hope and encouragement music can give in times of the deepest crisis. Responding to requests of young middle-school students in Fukushima to come together for a performance, in 2012 I created the Fukushima Youth Sinfonietta. Click here to find out more.
Panos Karan - Founder, Keys of Change
Photo by Tariq Zaidi