A unique global broadcasting event, to coincide with UN Human Rights Day on 10 December, will promote a message of unity through music with the first-ever radio broadcast of Max Richter’s VOICES, incorporating text from the historic 1948 Declaration of Human Rights.
This special performance, produced by BBC Radio 3 and co-conceived by Richter and his creative partner Yulia Mahr, will be broadcast by 37 EBU radio channels from 34 countries.
VOICES is inspired by the opening statement from the Declaration: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” A decade in the making, the piece premiered in London in February 2020, weeks before the pandemic brought unprecedented changes to the lives of citizens worldwide. With months of uncertainty still on the horizon, the recording’s uplifting messages of community and hope have particular resonance.
Max Richter and Yulia Mahr said, “Thinking back now to the premiere of VOICES in February feels like visiting another world. In these strange and anxious times, it is a great privilege to be able to mark Human Rights Day by presenting the work again, despite the pandemic.
“We are thrilled about the partnership with the UN Human Rights office and the collaboration with BBC Radio 3 and the EBU, which have made it possible to perform our work once more. In this challenging time in human history, the text of the Declaration is more important than ever.”
Víctor Fernández, Chief, Communications Section, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said, “Collaborating with Max Richter, BBC Radio 3 and the EBU on Human Rights Day was a natural way for the United Nations Human Rights Office to promote the global human rights message through high quality music.
“VOICES is a musical interpretation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and music, like human rights, is universal. Both have the power to unite, to inspire and to promote peace and understanding. This concert on BBC Radio 3, broadcast via the EBU, helps ensure that the principles enshrined in the Declaration reach a wide audience.”
This is the second time that the EBU has collaborated with Richter. During Easter 2020, as the world was closing down, EBU radio channels across Europe presented the composer’s eight-hour work - Sleep - to audiences in 20 countries as a moment of hope in unprecedented times. VOICES will continue that tradition.
Jean Philip De Tender is Director of Media, EBU, “We’ve already seen great examples of partnership among public service media outlets during the pandemic. Once again, here is a huge response from 37 EBU radio channels around the world, who have committed to broadcasting this unique work and in so doing, will bring joy and also much-needed time to reflect to millions of listeners in this most challenging of years. One of the strengths of public service media is that we are a community and our audiences come first. Through broadcasts like this, we can send a message of strength and reassure listeners that they are not alone.”
The BBC Radio 3 broadcast of VOICES will be presented by Elizabeth Alker and features soprano Grace Davidson; violinist Viktoria Mullova as soloist; British actor Sheila Atim as the narrator; the Tenebrae choir; the Max Richter ensemble – with Richter himself on keyboards and electronics; and conductor Robert Ziegler.