On 21st September 2019 – the 20th Anniversary of Peace One Day – The World Orchestra for Peace performed at The Oxford Concert For Peace 2019 – a special concert at the iconic Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford.

The orchestra is comprised of musicians from around the world who are the “crème de la crème” in their field. Many of the violinists are leaders in prestigious world orchestras.

Between the musical pieces, Rotary Peace Fellows told their personal stories and explained why they wanted to become Peace Fellows.

Having the stories interspersed with music was awe inspiring. The orchestra was previously unaware of Rotary’s Peace Fellowship program, but the concert brought together two international organisations working in their own unique ways to promote peace.

Oxford Concert For Peace 2019

Suddenly, the orchestra could visualise an added meaning and dimension to their purpose. The musicians were so impressed with the Peace Fellows that many have expressed a wish to collaborate further.

Lady Valerie Solti, Patron of the World Orchestra for Peace and wife of the orchestra’s founder Sir Georg Solti, was present. She was very touched by the Peace Fellows and has committed to following their work.

Watch The Full Concert Video

Oxford Concert for Peace 2019 – details:

The Musicians:

  • Philippe Aiche – 1st violin, France
  • Bertrand Cervera – 1st violin, Corsica
  • Erik Chapman – 1st violin, USA
  • Eric Lacrouts – 1st violin, France
  • Laura Samuel – 1st violin, Scotland
  • Krzysztof Wisniewski – 1st violin, Poland
  • Mirelys Morgan-Verdecia – 2nd violin, Cuba
  • Lela Mtchedlidze – 2nd violin, Georgia
  • Sandis Steinbergs – 2nd violin, Latvia
  • Karmen Tosunyan – 2nd violin, Armenia
  • Xin Xin – 2nd violin, China
  • Scott Dickinson – viola, Scotland
  • Cristina Pozas – viola, Spain
  • Philip Hall – viola, UK
  • Jon Thorne – viola, UK
  • Rebecca Gilliver – cello, UK
  • Cyrille Lacrouts – cello, France
  • Sally Pendlebury – cello, UK
  • Leon Bosch – contrabass, South Africa
  • Philippe Noharet – contrabass, France

The Pieces:

  • W.A. Mozart – Eine Kleine Nachtmusik K525
  • Edvard Grieg – Holberg Suite Opus 40
  • Edward Elgar – Serenade for Strings Opus 20
  • Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Serenade Opus 48 Piotr

The Speakers:

  • David Kujabi  – Rotary Peace Fellow, Gambia
  • Charles Kaye – Co-Founder of The World Orchestra for Peace
  • Ghenwa AL-Shoumari – Rotary Peace Fellow, Syria
  • Philip Hall, Viola – World Orchestra for Peace
  • Hassan Fahimi – Rotary Peace Fellow, Afghanistan
Oxford Concert For Peace 2019Programme 2019 - Programme Download

What people said about the Oxford Concert for Peace 2019

“Well done! What an extraordinary evening it was! Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to be part of it. I loved hosting the scholars who are unbelievable young individuals. We are so lucky to have been able to be in their company and to share their experiences.

I do hope this leads to more such occasions. I believe you may have started something which hopefully will snowball giving the Rotary Peace initiative the boost it needs to be recognised as one of the most innovative programmes around the world. Fingers crossed for the future!  Thanks so much for the amazing experience.”

Carol Hall


“Congratulations on putting together such a superb event. It was both a musical masterpiece and a great showcase for Rotary.”


“We have had three peace conferences in Oxford and you have managed to get more people to one event to hear the Rotary Peace Fellows speak than all three conferences combined.”


“Thank you for providing us this lifetime experience and memorable opportunity. I personally enjoyed being there, talking to many people and learning from this experience. I found everything perfect and each one of you so caring about all of us. Thank you so much!!!

Hassan – Rotary Peace Fellow


“On the International Day of Peace what a wonderful experience to hear The World Orchestra for Peace, led by five of its concert-masters, at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford last night .
Fabulous music and playing culminating with Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings was interspersed with very moving addresses by 3 young peace activists from Gambia, Syria and Afghanistan.

Their stories, particularly Hassan Fahimi’s from Afghanistan, were heartbreaking. In these troubled times they really did put everything into perspective.”

Rosalind Plowright – Opera Singer


“Many thanks for the concert, I had a fabulous evening, it was an evening that will be long remembered.”

Andy Pratt

“I thought the evening was fabulous. Such amazing musicians.”

Andrea Buckingham


“What a truly fabulous concert it was. The standard of playing was unbelievably high and I was struck by the generosity of the musicians, all of whom were leaders of their own orchestras, sharing the leading of this orchestra and clearly enjoying playing together. this was balanced beautifully with speakers talking very movingly about their work for peace in their own countries. The message came across clearly – much work for peace still needed but it is possible to all work together to create something wonderful.”

Kay Davis


“I would like to sit through it all again, not just to listen but to enjoy the physical presence of such gifted musicians and watch the harmony of the group.”

Jane Jones


“Thank you for hosting such a uniquely uplifting and worthwhile occasion. I can honestly say that in almost 20 years of being WOP’s touring manager, I have never before been so moved by not only the playing but also the positive atmosphere.”

Christine Cummings


“Many thanks – all I can say is that we all loved the evening – it was truly inspiring. How impressive those young speakers were! What harrowing stories some of them had. Truly a moment to consider their words.”

Peter Savage


“Thank you for all your help whilst we were in Oxford. It was a real pleasure to be involved.”

Leon Bosch – Musician


“Congratulations on a fantastic concert. I really enjoyed the music and I thought the peace fellows were brilliant and that the personal stories worked well with the music.”

Karen Eveleigh

Rotarian Carol Hall hosted two Rotary Peace Fellows from Bradford University – David from The Gambia and Ghenwa from Syria. Here’s what she said:

Rotary Peace Fellows at Oxford Concert For Peace 2019

Rotary Peace Fellows with Lady Valerie Solti (third from left) and Orchestra Director Charles Kaye (right) at a special performance of The World Orchestra for Peace.

“Ghenwa comes from southern Syria which has not had the destruction, bombing, and killing that has taken place in northern Syria. However, she cannot live in Syria for fear of reprisal or arrest because of her association with Rotary.

The government in Syria is suspicious of any nongovernmental organisations and organizations such as Rotary. Because of that and out of concern for her family who still live there, she and her husband must live outside Syria. These Peace Fellows are exceptional young people. I loved hosting them and felt so privileged to be in their company and to share their experiences.

One moving story, which brought everyone to tears, was shared by Hassan. Hassan is from Afghanistan and has seen some horrible things. He talked about recently losing several of his friends, one of whom was beheaded. He also spoke of the bombing at a wedding in Kabul in which many were killed. Many of us recalled seeing it in the news. The reason for the bombing was that the Taliban prohibits music, and of course there is always much music at an Afghan wedding. It did not escape us that here we were at that very moment sitting in the magnificent historic Sheldonian Theatre listening to some superb musicians without any fear of bombing and death!”

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