The freedom to culture, which is not included as such in the Constitution but which represents a fundamental pillar in our society, must be asserted.

Quentin Dujardin



The World Health Organisation published a report in the end of 2019 which affirmed the beneficial impact of art on our physical and mental health. Based on 900 scientific papers, it stated that artistic activities are crucial to our development from conception to old age, and should be mainstreamed alongside therapeutic protocols in hospitals, education and everyday life to improve our well-being.

Barely a year and a half later, the whole world has faced the Covid-19 epidemic. A crisis which is causing unprecedented health, economic and social damage and which is having a lasting effect on our mental and psychological health. Psycho-social risks are becoming an emergency for specialists, especially in young populations.

However, for the past year, almost all cultural venues have come to a standstill and streaming on the Internet has become the main vehicle for the arts but also for the teaching of artistic disciplines. The International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation and the MUS-E Network were no exceptions and had to take a turn and adapt their activities. All our projects were impacted deeply and we come back on some of them :


The MUS-E Network and all the MUS-E Organizations active in Europe, Brazil and Israel and implementing artistic sessions in primary schools and other institutions for disadvantaged and vulnerable learners have shown all their creativity and innovative spirit. The artists of the programme have been able to create online courses, artistic initiatives to keep the children engaged in the school (not only in the MUS-E sessions but for all the more classic disciplines taught in schools). The apparition of the digital technologies in the MUS-E Programme may have produced a deep reflection on the future of the programme and its need for transformation and innovation as much as it has shed a light on the necessity of such a programme in Europe to build resilient school systems. Further surveys and evaluation of the MUS-E transformation of activities will be analyzed this year by the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation.

HOMELANDS, places of belonging

  • Homelands, places of belonging is one of the big project led by the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation. Through this project, we implement co-creative trainings for refugee and newcomer artists and co-creative workshops involving the local communities. We act really on the ground in local cultural and artistic centers. Those centers being closed, it was very hard to maintain the activities. We have experienced great difficulties in keeping the spirit up of the public we are working with. Being an artist in this period is very difficult. Coming from another country and trying to establish oneself as an artist in a new homecountry is even more difficult. Some of the refugee and newcomer artists could not proceed and had to stop their artistic profesional activity to find another professional direction. The crisis revealed once more the great necessity to maintain and continue to create opportunities of exchanges between newcomer and local communities, to continue to provide trainings for artists and have cultural events and activities that provide a sense of belonging, a sense of empowerement and bonds in our societies. Homelands, places of belonging also had to rethink and adapt its activities and of course confront the digital technologies and distant training or learning activities on the arts. We are very proud to have had the strenght and resources to produce a special Homelands digital talk show, and to launch this month online trainings on co-creation. Homelands adventure continues, stay in touch !


  • Our concerts, of course, were deeply impacted as well as our network of artists ambassadors for whom we are constantly trying to provide with new artistic opportunitites. Our great multicultural concerts are part of our the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation DNA. Bringing together musicians from different cultures, filling great venues with audience in awe while discovering a Syrian dancer, make people vibrate with the sound of the violin of Alessandro Quarta, etc. This is something we do since our creation. Our annual concert is not only a milestone of the year in the way we keep the bond with people and promote strong messages of peace, tolerance and intercultural dialogue, it is also a very important event for the Foundation financial stability. Again, this was a challenge. But very early in the crisis we tried to create musical content, to keep on providing opoortunities (even if not on a real stage) for musicians and to offer high-quality online concerts. We started with a short video of the Italian song « cade l’oliva » with some of our artists amabssadors and young European musicians, then a concert from home with Matthieu Sagli live from his studio, then a magnificent 1 hour concert filmed at the Brussels City Hall with the Matthieu Saglio Quartet to finish the year with music.



  • We did not stop there. In view of the situation, we also have launched an online concert hall ! Probably one of the first one : The aim of this platform is to first give visibility to young musicians impacted by the crisis and eager to break through but also create new opportunities for them. Indeed, the donations collected with this platform will be entirely dedicated to support young musicians to have the resources to create high quality musical content, high quality materials showing their work and produce them live when possible. With the money collected, we provide musicians with the necessary materials for recording, rehearsal and diffusion. As soon as i twill be possible, the money collected will also serve to the organisation of live representations of these artists.


  • We also want to come back on an initiative of one of our artists ambassadors, Quentin Dujardin. Did you hear about the 5 minutes of his song ‘Ave Maria’ that he played in the church of Crupet (Belgium) before being interrupted by the police who put an end to his performance. Quentin really opened a breach, drew attention to the status of the artist but also to the power of music. Quentin has been a powerful and meaningful advocate for one of the Foundation’s missions since its creation: giving a voice to the voiceless. IYMF is standing with him and we are preparing a special event with him, in a majestic place that he will fill with his music.


Of course, all of this cannot replace our deep need for direct access to beauty. Contact with art, far from being a “non-essential” activity, is on the contrary indispensable for our well-being, especially in times of crisis and we hope to come back soon with more !