Give generously!

Courtesy of the Met Collection and their Open Access Policy

Courtesy of the Met Collection and their Open Access Policy

Music has the power to open our heart and mind. The Music Without Borders Gala Concert is our invitation for you to open your heart and mind: a few weeks ago, the United Nations declared that the world is facing the worst humanitarian crisis since its creation. With what other than the generosity of our human spirit can we meet this challenge? Give generously—through donating, coming to the concert, or both—to support the global humanitarian efforts of MSF! 

Introducing Mr. Grant Assenheimer!

At tonight's concert, we will being having a conversation with the Deputy Executive Director of MSF Canada, Mr. Grant Assenheimer, P. Eng.

From small town Alberta, Grant Assenheimer is essentially a farm kid turned chemical engineer turned humanitarian worker. Graduating with a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Alberta, he spent the next 4 years doing field engineering in the water and wastewater sector.

In 2008, he took leave of absence from engineering to go abroad with MSF and he has been involved with the organization ever since. First in logistics and then as a project coordinator, he has completed 6 field assignments in Bangladesh, the Philippines, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Chad.

After returning from the field, Grant remained active with MSF and served on the Board of Directors from 2014 to 2016. Most recently, he has joined the MSF Canada Management team in Toronto as the Deputy Executive Director.

Buy One Get One Free at the Annex Chipotle!

Looking for a place to eat before the concert? Our sponsor Chipotle is offering a buy one get one free deal to all ticket holders at their 501 Bloor St. West location from the 8th to the 15th! Just show your ticket to the cashier.

Join our corporate sponsors to support MSF!

These corporate sponsors have donated generously to support the 2017 Music Without Borders campaign. We invite you to join them in supporting MSF! 

"The Karen Millar Team"—Royal LePage Signature Realty

Kocsis Engineering Inc.

Timothy Chan, Chartered Accountant

Marnac Development Corp.

Umbrella of Hope

It is raining and the colours of the rain represent all the hardship, suffering, happiness and emotions people have experienced. Under the umbrella (MSF), people come together despite their differences to mend and unite.

— by HY Chan

Doctors Without Borders Leadership Workshop

Do you work well with others under stress? Can you build consensus with those who are very different from you? What qualities are indispensable to being a leader that enables successful teamwork? 

Come find out at the leadership workshop Doctors Without Borders is organizing especially for Music Without Borders volunteers and participants. This is a rare opportunity to learn from an organization that has been awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize for their humanitarian works around the world’s war zones, disaster and crisis areas. Details are as follows: 

Date: Friday, February 17, 2017 9 am - 12:00 pm (NOTE: this is a PD day for most Toronto Schools)

Location: MSF Canada, 720 Spadina Ave, Suite 402. 

Capacity for the workshop is limited to 25 students currently in grades 7 to 12. Apply at by February 7th to participate in this rare leadership learning opportunity!

Featured Podcast—Larysa Kuzmenko's "In Memoriam: To the Victims of Chornobyl"

By Timm Suess - Flickr: Red Forest Hill, CC BY-SA 2.0,

In this piano piece, performed by Lilian Jin, Ukrainian-Canadian composer Larysa Kuzmenko memorializes the victims of the Chornobyl disaster, one of the worst nuclear power plant accidents in history. As nuclear destruction reemerges into the forefront of public consciousness, this piece reminds us of the importance of humanitarian values as an essential safeguard while we engage and make use of our ever-increasing power, brought about by technological innovation. Ms. Kuzmenko describes the piece: 

The opening theme is dark and ominous; it sets the tragic mood of the piece. Following this idea, I quote a sad but lyrical Ukrainian folk tune that describes a grave in the field begging the wind to keep it from dying and asking the sun to shine over it. The tempo suddenly quickens, and the music becomes very rhythmic, creating a rather chaotic atmosphere. The music reflects the mechanical sound of the nuclear reactor. The folk tune has taken on a different character here. It no longer is lyrical and is supported by jarring harmonies. The music signals the reactor’s first explosion at its first climax. Following this explosion, the music becomes very quiet, and slows down. Here, the folk tune essentially has exploded into little fragments, creating a kind of pointillistic texture. At this point, the music represents the invisible, yet fatal radioactive particles that are poisoning the atmosphere. The tempo builds up once again, and the music moves towards the second climax, signalling the second explosion. Here, I quote a sacred chant from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, asking God for forgiveness.

The piece ends with the reappearance of the opening material, setting a mood that questions the future of our planet.

—Larysa Kuzmenko

You can find the performance, along with other pieces, on our "Podcasts" page.

Film Screening and Panel Discussion with MSF

Music Without Borders will be hosting a film screening of MSF's "Access to the Danger Zone" on Monday, February 6th at 4:15pm, followed by a panel discussion with MSF staff!

It will take place at the University of Toronto Schools, 371 Bloor St. West, in room 230. 

To participate, please sign up at Make sure to fill out the permission slip!

"Live your life like a story"—Storyteller Louise Profeit-LeBlanc

Previously, we heard about the healing power of music. But traditional storyteller Louise Profeit-LeBlanc says that there is a healing capacity in story as well. To find out why, listen to this Artist In Us Interview, part of a spinoff project that explores questions relating to the arts.

Louise grew up in the small village of Mayo and had the privilege to live with her grandmother who was a masterful storyteller. As a child, Louise was nurtured with traditional stories which serve as the foundation of her life. Her more than three decades of commitment to the cultural and artistic heritage of her people includes being guest performer at various storytelling festivals around the world, co-founder of the Yukon International Storytelling Festival, and one of the original members of the Society of Yukon Artists of Native Ancestry. 

The Healing Power of Music—Violinist Etsuko Kimura

Music is not medicine, but can it help people heal? How? 

Music Without Borders is certainly a project that taps into the power of music to help others heal.

Listen to the story of Etsuko Kimura and her experiences with the healing power of music growing up. She is the Assistant Concertmaster of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. This is part of The Artist In Us Interview Series, a spinoff project that explores questions relating to the arts.

Introducing The Artist In Us Interviews!

The Artist In Us is an interview series that started last year, inspired by the 2007 social experiment with the world-renowned violinist playing incognito in the Washington Metro to "thunderous silence" and indifference. According to the Washington Post, which wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning article about this story, children were the only group of people who stopped and listened to Bell, while others just ignored him. 

Usually, people pay hundreds of dollars to go see Joshua Bell play, and when he returned to the Metro in 2014, the station was packed and the audience gave him a standing ovation. This raises some interesting questions. Why is it that in 2007 only a few people stopped to listen, even though Bell played as beautifully as usual and for free? Are we naturally attracted to beautiful music? Can we recognize its beauty even when it is least expected or seems ordinary? 

The Artist In Us Interviews ask these questions to various artists—amateurs, professionals, musicians, visual artists, storytellers and many others. We hope they help to generate discussions about the arts.

You can also find the interviews at