Music Rights Champions

The Five Music Rights represent the core values of the International Music Council. They have been guiding, since their proclamation in 2001, the work of the IMC and of its network comprising some 1000 music organisations in 150 countries of the world.

In 2016, 15 years after the proclamation of these rights, the IMC wishes to give new impetus to their promotion by appointing IMC Five Music Rights Champions, with the purpose of increasing the visibility of these core values and putting them ‘on the radar’ of musicians and music-lovers around the world as an expression of concerns they share with the IMC.

Five Music Rights Champions

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Dr. Ahmad Sarmast was born into one of Afghanistan’s most important musical families. Trained in trumpet and piano, he studied in the Soviet Union and Russia during the 1980s and 90s, becoming a refugee in Australia when Afghanistan’s Islamist parties began to forbid musical performance and persecute musicians. He learned English as an adult in Australia, eventually becoming the first Afghan to earn a Ph.D. in music.
In 2010, he founded the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, known by its acronym ANIM. Under his leadership, ANIM defied Taliban threats to teach boys and girls alongside one another, training them in Afghan and Western classical instruments and performing traditions. The school drew students from a range of economic and social backgrounds with an emphasis on those from disadvantaged backgrounds, and across all of Afghanistan’s ethnic groups. He also formed Afghanistan's first all-female orchestra, Zohra, as a student ensemble of ANIM.


Arn c Choeun Socheata minCredit Choeun Socheata-min

Arn Chorn Pond was born into a family of artists, but in 1975 was sent to a children’s labor camp. Under the instruction of a Master Artist, he survived by playing propaganda music. He escaped, spending time at a refugee camp in Thailand, before aid worker Peter Pond adopted him in 1980. He was educated in the US, and started up several community projects in his new country. In the 1990s, Arn returned to Cambodia to find his former teacher and to rebuild the artistic legacy of his family. After seeing the desperate conditions faced by Cambodia’s remaining Masters, Arn was moved to help. In 1998, along with a group of dedicated people from the US, he created the Cambodian Masters Performers Program, which grew into Cambodian Living Arts (CLA).
Expressing his gratitude for the nomination, he evoked his “dream for Cambodia and [...] for the world to have children carrying musical instruments, to sing, to dance and be able to learn in the future how to love - instead of carrying guns like I did”.



Evelyn credit Caroline PurdayCredit Caroline Purday

Dame Evelyn Glennie, is a Scottish percussionist and the first person in history to successfully create and sustain a full-time career as a solo percussionist, performing worldwide with the greatest conductors, orchestras, and artists. Her vision is to teach the world to listen, to improve communication and social cohesion by encouraging everyone to discover new ways of listening.
When nominated to champion the Five Music Rights she said: “It is the aims of total inclusiveness and people’s right to be exposed to music in its myriad of forms that I wholeheartedly believe in and wish to advocate as much as possible”.


Ramy photo Inaki MarconiCredit Inaki Marconi

Ramy Essam is an Egyptian musician known for his appearances in Tahrir Square in Cairo during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. His songs became the anthems of a whole generation of young Egyptians ́ struggle for a better future. 



TabuCredit Ketebul Music

Tabu Osusa is a key player in the East African music industry. A Kenyan native, he is the founding Executive Director of Ketebul Music and for the last 30 years has been involved in the music industry as a promoter, producer, composer and band manager.

In his words: “I feel that the fourth right is the most fundamental because it touches on the basic need to promote the diverse musical traditions of the world and at the same time giving all the artists an equal opportunity to be heard and promoted within a global platform.”



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