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A Musical Postcard performed at UNESCO’s GEMR event

The Musical Postcards project contributed to the launch of the Global Education Monitoring Report of The Netherlands National Commission for UNESCO on November 23rd 2017 in The Hague. The event was attended by representatives of the entire educational landscape: students, teachers, boards of school directors and representatives of the Ministry of Education.

Closing the launching event, flutst Rozemarijn Van Egeren performed the Musical Postcard 'The Future is Us,' composed by Tijmen Albada Jelgersma (15 years old) from Diessen, The Netherlands. In his piece, he expresses the process of learning.

The Musical Postcards Organization and The Netherlands National Commission for UNESCO invites other young composers (between 8 and 18 years old) to write a Musical Postcard about education!

They take Tijmens Musical Postcard as an inspiration and express their own ideas and dreams about (future) education in music.
The music is composed for their own instrument (no computer) or small ensemble and recorded on video. The video is not longer than 3 minutes per participant. It is recorded in the highest resolution possible.If you film with a Mobile Phone device, record it in landscape format and make sure the audio is clear enough and close enough to the source.

Send the video and somebackgroundinformation about the young composer to: anke[at]twaalfhoven[dot]net through Wetransfer or share a dropbox link to this address.

Musical Postcards enables children to share their dreams on the urgent 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. This project enriches youngsters in different parts of the world with a vital blend of creativity, personal experience and direct knowledge.

Marching towards a brighter future: A new mission for Musical Postcards

How can the voices of the generation 2030, that is directly impacted by the 17 Global Goals, become amplified?

The Musical Postcards project is a way to let the voice of young composers from areas of conflict, poverty and disruption be heard across the globe. We collect the most urgent stories of teenagers, expressing their dreams for the future and the connection that he or she wants to make to the world through music. In this way, we bring a personal and intimate perspective on the big global challenges that we face, as expressed in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Musical Postcards project brings personal and vivid stories about Sustainable Development on the radar of a broad audience.

We work in four steps:
First, we capture a musical story from a child who directly experience the impact of the one of the SDG-related topics. We work with a network of music teachers, from the Arctic to the Middle East, from Japan to São Paulo to capture one minute video’s with a personal song, melody or poem, expressing a personal vision on for example poverty, injustice, climate change or child labour.
We bring such a “musical postcard” to composition-workshops in schools where teenagers build a larger music piece, inspired on the original video. The results of these workshops are music pieces that will be performed by professional musicians. The recordings of such performances will be send back to the original very young composers.

In this way, we establish direct connections between children over large distances, translating the abstract Sustainable Development Goals into personal experience and direct contact. We develop a practical and inspiring structure of collaboration, bringing local community, teenagers and the stories that are most significant today together.

We hope to build a worldwide musical network for creative teenaged musicians and are looking for partners.

Are you:
- a music teacher, using music to connect with youngsters or other musicians in your community?
- a composer or musician who works with talented young musicians or composers (10 - 17 years old)?
- part of an organization who works in communities effected by the Sustaineble Development Goals?
- an artist or creative entrepreneur, using art to establish contact within communities?
- an organizer of international political or environmental events?
- a musician, looking for a way to connect your musical performances with todays challenges and voices?

Then you can become part of our worldwide network of change makers and visionary youngsters who express their dreams for the future through music. Please contact us by sending an e-mail to

Jon Deak visiting the kick-off workshop of Musical Postcards at the Da Vinci College Leiden

"We want to hear what you compose." "Me?" "Yes! YOU!"

The Dutch Musical Postcards division was thrilled to welcome founding father Jon Deak on March 28, and bring him along to the kick-off workshop of Musical Postcards at The Da Vinci College in Leiden. Here, more then sixty youngsters of the VMBO and ISK department started the Musical Postcards project. In these coming weeks, the students (all around 14 years old) will compose an answer to several Musical Postcards sent to them by other youngesters from The Netherlands (Leiden and Nijmegen) and Austria (Linz). Many youngsters in the classes in Leiden have just recently settled there, for they came from all continents (Asia,The Middle East and Africa). All students were eager to start playing music and composing!
Jon Deak on the workshop:

I witnessed over 60 local kids play games, clap to Steve Reich rhythms, sing, improvise, be expertly introduced to instruments of the orchestra, and see/hear the Musical Postcards from far-off places in the world. Amazingly, the Dutch being the welcoming country they are, no fewer than 35 of these kids are displaced persons. Taking in refugees is one thing, but the Dutch seem bent on caring for these displaced persons as well.
One may have a notion (given us by the media) of refugees as fearful, covert, resentful and generally not fitting in well. But in my experience, reality belies this image. Here we had boys - and girls in hijab - laughing, singing, improvising, volunteering ideas and even getting up and demonstrating.

New year of Musical Postcards

In 2017 the team of Musical Postcards in the Netherlands and in New York are again organizing new Musical Postcard exchanges. Thanks to support that we found in the Netherlands, we are able to work this year with at least four schools. We kicked off in January in Nijmegen (Waldorf School, on photo), and will continue in Leiden (ISK for newcomers ), in Harderwijk (Unesco School), in Almere (Unesco School) and Haarlem (Waldorf School) in September 2017.
Please follow our website and postcard additions to our online database. We will make sure to surprise you with beautiful and touching compositions and exchanges.

We thank the following foundations and organizations for their support:
- Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds
- VSB Fonds
- Fonds 1818
- Janivo Foundation
- Iona Foundation
- Haarlems Muziekfonds
- JC. Ruigrok Fonds

Personal Delivery of a Musical Postcard

On April 15 we delivered some Musical Postcards personally to one of our Musical Postcard composers. Aghyad Darwish had a surprise concert at his school together with his brother and his parents.

Thanks to:
Da Vinci College, Geert Groote College and The Stolz Quartet.

Waldorf School in Amsterdam first school to make Musical Postcards

In January 2016, we worked six weeks conducting workshops at the Waldorf School in Amsterdam with 52 participating students. For us its the first time that we are expanding this program of Very Young Composers and Musical Postcards to the Netherlands.

It was an exciting and touching experience for the children to see their original compositions transformed into 15 musical postcards. The Stolz Quartet joined the classroom to play their compositions. But even more important the children responded directly to three Musical Postcards from three different children around the world; two from Syria, and one from Egypt.
For example, Beer and Django from grade 10, responded to a musical postcard from Aghyad Darwish, who fled from Homs Syria. Aghyad said he is saddened by what is happening back home in Syria. He composed a somber but beautiful piece of music which he played on his violin. Django and Beer were deeply moved by Aghyad’s melody and with their song “Oh Boy,” they want to offer him some comfort. Check out their song accompanied by Beer on guitar. Their classical version for the Stolz Quartet will be performed live on 15 April among all the other 14 compositons. We will soon after upload the entire Musical Postcard with Aghyads music included as well.

Finland presents 3 Musical Postcards

posted 17 November 2015

VYC founder and Musical Postcards advocate Jon Deak went to Helsinki to work with his musician colleagues. On November 10 there were three NYPhil-VYC "Musical Postcard" works with the Helsinki Philharmonic - from the U.S. (Jake O'Brien), from Japan (Karin Utagawa) and a local Finnish kid (Anton Levo) presented their works to the Finish audience.


“"Full orchestra, and all three works shone vividly, the kids' voices played over the house system. The possibilities of Musical Postcards are enormous."

We hope to upload the performances soon, so you can see it on our Postcards section.

Musical Postcards: alternatives in peace mediation

posted 19 October 2015

In the context of the 70th birthday of the United Nations, Hague Talks and Hague Project organize an event that takes place in The Hague, Geneva and Vienna. Merlijn Twaalfhoven is invited to speak in Geneva about his work as an artist in conflict areas. A Musical Postcard from Lebanon is shown and directly answered in Geneva by Dutch opera singer Rosanne van Sandwijk and Merlijn and only a few hours later answered in The Hague by Palestine Lute player Amer Shanati and Merlijn. It's an exciting day full of international renowned guests and speakers. Click here for the complete programme

Call for Musical Postcards from the Middle East

posted 27 August 2015

Composer and educator Jon Deak calls for musical input from the Middle East for future projects and collaborations.
We would love to expand our network and possibilities.

Contact us at info[at] for more information and exchange of ideas.

Contributions from the Middle East

posted: 13 May

It is the second time that New York Philharmonic welcomes Musical Postcards from the Middle East. This time from children in a refugee camp, Shatila Camp in Beirut, Lebanon.
Their stories are heartbreaking and inspired kids in New York to create beautiful compositions that will be performed on Saturday May 23rd during the New York Philharmonic's Matinee.

NY Philharmonic plays works by teenagers in Shanghai

Hawa Sakho (left) & Liao Shuwen
photo: CCTV

posted: 15 August 2015

A world-class orchestra plays the compositions of teenagers. It is the first time that New York Philharmonic brings its "Young People's Concert" to the city of Shanghai. The orchestra played a piece by Chinese student Liao Shuwen who made a 3-minute piece about wolves chasing each other in the moonlight. The other work was from Kenyan young composer Hawa Sakho.

Click here to watch the news item made by CCTV.

Musical Postcards between New York City and London

photo: Chris Lee
posted: 29 April 2015

Musical Postcards were exchanged between children from New York City and London. The Barbican Centre published a blog post that offers an interesting case history from the collaboration between the New York Philharmonic Very Young Composers program and Barbican and Guildhall School's Future Band, which culminated in a performance during our recent residency at the Barbican during the EUROPE / SPRING 2015 tour:
"As part of April’s New York Philharmonic Residency, we have been exploring ideas of musical creation without borders working with young people from East London and New York. Through musical postcards, emails, pictures, sound files and musical notes, our young composers have been sharing who they are, their cities and their musical ideas to help inspire a musical creation across the Atlantic."

The result? Pieces of music that would be performed by an ensemble of New York Philharmonic musicians and Guildhall School of Music and Drama graduates on our freeStage during the New York Philharmonic Residency.

The Barbican spoke to Graydon Hanson, one of the Philhamonic Very Young Composers, who gave a composer's eye view on the process. Check it out!