New York

16 May 2015

Remarks at Manhattan Chamber Music Festival

Ban Ki-moon

Your Excellency Ambassador Edita Hrdá of the Czech Republic, Dear Maestro Gum Nanse, Mr. Ryu Jin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Poongsan Group, Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen,

Good evening,

I am delighted to be here. It is wonderful to see so many distinguished colleagues and friends.

I sincerely thank Chairman Ryu and other Korean business leaders for sponsoring this exceptional Manhattan Chamber Music Festival. I applaud Maestro Gum and all the incredible musicians here tonight.

When I listen to music, I feel I can temporarily forget the troubles of the world. I hope all of the Ambassadors here will be able to do the same!

I am always impressed by Maestro Gum’s wonderful musical gifts. I know that it is his sincere belief that music should play an important part of people’s lives. In fact he has sometimes even been known to perform in the lobbies of large companies and in public libraries. As he has said; “My philosophy is to become a conductor for the public rather than one who conducted a great orchestra or conducted it in a great concert hall”.

I also thank Ambassador Hrda of the Czech Republic for enabling us to appreciate the beauty of this Bohemian National Hall.

This international event speaks to the universal power of music as a transcending instrument of peace, cross-cultural understanding and solidarity. All of you are here as individuals yet you are playing in harmony with one another. To do so you have to listen to one another, to cooperate and to work together. What would otherwise be the sounds of disparate instruments is replaced by music that is far more than the sum of its part.

That is the same spirit with which the United Nations strives to promote peace, protect human rights and reduce the suffering of the world’s most vulnerable people. Let us take inspiration from the beauty of the beautiful music we are about to hear, and work even harder to make our world a better place for all.

Thank you.