Junior Peace and Music Ambassador Program and Competition

Congratulations To Our 2018 Winners!

and a huge thanks to all who applied! 

Alexander Wu, 2018 Jr Peace & Music Ambassador, Upper Age Category.
Henry Wu,  Second Prize Piano, Lower Age Category.

Micheal Zhou, Honorary Mention Piano, Lower Age Category.

Noelle Midori Takabe Naito, First Prize Strings, Upper Age Category.
Tienne Yu, First Prize Strings,  Lower Age Category.
Alyssa Gabrilovich, Runner up First Prize, Lower Age Category.
Emma Lo, 2018 Jr Peace & Music Ambassador, Lower Age Category.
Seungho Lee,  Second Prize Strings, Upper Age Category.
Rachael Wang, Third Prize Piano, Lower Age Category

Information on the 2019 Competition Here

Congratulations To Our 2017 Winners!

Junior Peace and Music Ambassador Lower Age Category: Max Wang, Piano

Max's Peace Message:  

It is about being free, sharing and helping each other, tearing down barriers, so all of us can be comfortable together. I remember a song that John Lennon wrote, it is called, "Imagine" one of the lines said: "Nothing to kill or die for; No need for greed or hunger; A brotherhood of man; all the people sharing all the world; and the world can live as one." Music has no border; music is a universal language that the world understands; it transcends cultural differences and hatred. It can bring love and understanding to our hearts and ultimately, the world can live as one. A musician could use their music to bring people together and forget their differences and to make a difference in people's lives.

Junior Peace and Music Ambassador Upper Age Category: Joseph Hsia, Violin

Joseph's Peace Message:  

Peace is a freedom from disturbance, attaining tranquility in conflict and embracing diversity with respect. It arrives at a common ground with compromises from those involved. Music, invoking pathos and humanity, provides the common ground empowering musicians to bridge differences and build harmonic friendships. To little avail, the United Nations plays a pivotal role in promoting peace in the Middle East. Maestro Barenboim, however, brought Israeli and Arab musicians together to make music, successfully crossing the perilous gulf of prejudice and animosity in Gaza, thereby developing mutual edification. My musical performances reach audiences of all background and ages. I have been invited to perform in a fundraising concert for the Nassau Refugee Resettlement for their recently sponsored Syrian refugee family. The classical music, composed hundreds years ago in Europe, will carry us transcending our cultural borders: my Asian ethnicity, the American audience and the Syrian family, creating peace and friendship.

Runner Up; First Prize, Strings: AJ LaBarca

AJ's Peace Message: Human beings are 99.9% alike at the DNA level.  A change in a single base pair every 1000 or so is enough to account for the differences in people’s appearance, health and possibly personality.  Peoples’ free choices over hundreds of thousands of years have resulted in the differences in culture that we now enjoy.  Similarly, each culture has developed its own form of music.   Small differences in key and rhythm result in a dramatic effect on style and tie pieces back to the particular cultures from which they originated.   The core of music is the same just as the genetic core of humans is the same.  Music is expressed and beloved by all cultures from the earliest of time because our genetic core speaks to it.  During the peace concerts that I have attended, songs from all over history were played; divergent sounds with a core message that our essence is the same and that appreciation of our differences brings us peaceful bliss.  Humans struggle with the same issues day after day and century after century because we are hard-wired to do so.  Perhaps music can remind us of this common journey and create solidarity.  And when the emotions we face differ, we can still find a common reaction to the issues.  Whether happy, sad or scared, can we not identify with the raw-ness of it all (as jazz speaks), the power of it (as African drummers tell) or even in its fragility (like the ancient Greek lyre)?   The oldest recorded musical notation with words dates back to 200 BC and states “As long as you live, shine, let nothing grieve you beyond measure.  For your life is short, and time will claim its toll”.  As Junior Ambassador for the Harmony for Peace program, I want to express this message through many musical genres from various cultural backgrounds.  There is no time for anything other than peace.

First Prize Piano: LiYuan Byrne

LiYuan's Peace Message:  

Peace is the achievement of tranquility among people. It is a mindset where people may seek a sanctuary from the chaotic and busy world we live in. Peace opens up our minds and enables us to better understand and embrace the differences between all cultures, races, and religions. In a peaceful world, birds sing and people laugh. It is a musical world. Music creates a haven for peace and allows us to break through the language barrier and experience emotion directly. Listeners clear their minds and connect with their emotions in the presence of music. As musicians, we have an opportunity to connect with their audiences by using music to tell our stories and experiences. This sparks a connection between listeners and musicians. Through our playing and story telling, listeners realize that they are not alone in their struggles, thus fostering compassion and empathy among everyone. We, as musicians can expand audiences♠visions and embrace the unique differences of all people.

Second Prize Piano: Cihan Sahin

Cihan's Peace Message:  

   I remember one time after my concert, an old lady came up to me and said:" Congratulation to you! I was sitting on my seat, and I looked left and right. I was so amazed by all these people, young and old, coming from different places. We were doing one thing together under the same roof - listening your beautiful music." It took me a long while to really understand her. I guess what she wanted to tell me was that music is harmony of sounds, and peace is harmony of people. I was born in NYC. My mother is an Chinese who grew up in Budapest, Hungary. My father is a Turkish. My mother's family lives in Hungary. My father's family lives in Eastern Turkey. We live in Princeton, New Jersey. There are five languages spoken and three different religions practiced in my BIG family. However there is one thing we all have in common: We love music. Music can penetrate all barriers and reach deep into people's hearts. We musicians possess this magic power. When we look the world around us, it seems that there is no enough peace. Musicians such as the Beatles or Bob Dylan, rose to worldwide fame as the top peace activists. Their message of love and friendships is sung by millions of fans. There are many "small" things we as junior musicians can do to develop peace and friendship too. Whether you are playing for a group of grandparents in a senior home, or giving a fundraising concert for a good cause, you are making a contribution. So enjoy playing for your audience, because we musicians are global ambassadors of peace.

2016 Winners

Upper Age Category: Noah Lee, violin

Noah's Peace Message:  Peace exists when two sides understand and have empathy for one another. I believe that musicians can play a significant role in peace and friendship through music. Music allows people to share something we all have: emotions and the human experiences that produce these emotions. Through music, we can share experiences that bring forth joy, sorrow and everything in between. As the performer shares his experiences through music, the audience is reminded of experiences in their own lives that elicit similar emotions. Experiences like this trigger a sense of connectedness; despite our differences in culture, religion, or lifestyle, we are all part of human kind, celebrating life's ups and enduring its downs. Shared musical experiences can help us see that we are not so different after all. We feel validated because we are not alone in our life experiences. When a person feels valued, he feels understood, uplifted and accepted. The need to be understood is a basic human need, and when people become understanding, they are more likely to empathize with one another...Human experiences and emotions are the common thread in our lives that weave us all into a larger community. This sense of connectedness leads the way to positive relationships, friendships and ultimately peace. If we can continue this chain of connectedness through music, I am optimistic that one day, we will be able to tolerate our differences. Maybe even embrace them.

Lower Age Category: Paris Aspen Arin, piano

Paris' Peace Message: Peace means to me love, no violence, and equal rights.  Especially all the children of the world need peace and friendship. Children can be the savior of children. We must help each other to achieve peace and equality in the world and wherever we live. As long as children help other children; and as long as all the children are united; we can help stop the adults to ruin our world, and finally bring peace to everyone.

Honorable Mentions: Peter Wang, piano  & Julia Chin, violin

Past Winners & Finalists

Brenden Zak Headshot.JPG
Brenden Zak Headshot.JPG
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