Keys of Change:
- - is a charity formed by individuals who deeply believe that playing music can make this world a better place;
- - was set up in early 2011 by the international concert pianist Panos Karan, who works with two other trustees and a growing number of committed volunteers in many countries, all aiming to advance the lives of children and young people living in adverse circumstances around the world, through musical education and access to live classical music performances;
- - does not employ any staff, do any advertising and/or have any operation costs, and relies solely upon private donations from generous individuals and fundraising events to fund its work;
- - on a shoe-string budget, has, over the past few years (including online throughout the pandemic), brought classical music, often for the first time, to deprived or suffering audiences in remote areas across the globe; and
- has, through its work and music, brought alive emotions (fascination, happiness, tears of sadness), and generated hope and encouragement.
Wherever Keys of Change goes to perform, it sets up and funds musical education projects, working in conjunction with local music teachers:
- - providing instruments and music (including regular violin, viola, cello, flute, guitar and percussion) lessons for young people from deprived backgrounds in Ecuador, Greece (Xanthi), Russia (Serbia), Japan (Fukushima), India (Chennai), Ghana (Accra), Uganda (Kampala and surrounds), and Sierra Leone (Freetown); and
- - making regular visits to work with young musicians to improve their playing and give them the opportunity to perform in joint concerts with Keys of Change musicians i.e. in Ecuador, India (Kolkata and Chennai), Mexico (Oaxaca), Ghana and Japan.
In Fukushima (Japan), this has culminated in the founding of the Fukushima Youth Sinfonietta and up to fifty young Japanese musicians travelling to perform concerts at:
- - the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London (England), (April 2014 and 2019);
- - Tokyo Opera City, Tokyo (Japan), (August 2015); and
- - the Symphony Hall, Boston (USA), (April 2016).
In January 2021, Keys of Change founded the World Youth Sinfonietta (publishing, via social media, its debut performance - Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ from Symphony No. 9), as a way of (safely online) enabling young music students from five countries of the world, living in difficult circumstances, but inspired, empowered and motivated by music, to unite and share their message of hope and joy and play music together, in spite of and as a lifeline through the pandemic.
At the start of October 2022, after delivering many, many Skype lessons throughout the pandemic, Keys of Change, with the support of Musée Musical Foundation, launched the Chennai Youth Sinfonietta in India. The young musicians from all backgrounds, but particularly those contending with difficulties in life, performed a programme at Vani Mahal (Chennai) before an audience of 500 and, despite it being their first time on a public stage, received a standing ovation!