MANILA, Philippines ? The Philippine Madrigal Singers will be named Unesco Artist for Peace tonight in a ceremony at the Unesco headquarters in Paris.
In a statement on its website, Unesco said its director general Koichiro Matsuura will confer the designation to the Philippine Madrigal Singers, also known as the Madz, just before its concert.
The Philippine Madrigal singers will receive this distinction ?in recognition of their efforts to promote dialogue and understanding among peoples in Southeast Asia, their contribution to extend Unesco?s message of peace and tolerance, and their dedication to the ideals and aims of the organization.?
The Philippine Madrigal Singers, which were brought together in 1963 by music professor Andrea Veneracion, performs many different musical genres but specializes in the Renaissance style for which it is named.
It has won numerous awards, including the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing in 2007 (Arezzo, Italy), and its influence in the Philippines and throughout Asia is far-reaching. Responsible for training more than 200 singers and choral music specialists since its creation, the group goes on tour twice a year, not only abroad but also to the most remote parts of the Philippines.
Named for two years, the Philippine Madrigal Singers are expected to bring their support to Unesco programs on cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue. Specific projects include a series of Concerts for Peace, a Sing for Peace festival, and various choral singing classes, workshops, and educational activities.
Unesco Artists for Peace are world-famous personalities who use their influence, charisma, and prestige to help promote Unesco?s message and programs. Among them are musician Manu Dibango (Cameroon), actress Patricia Velasquez (Venezuela), musician Gilberto Gil (Brazil), dancer Miyako Yoshida (Japan), soprano Sumi Jo (Republic of Korea), singer and founder of the musical group Gypsy Kings Chico Bouchikhi (France), and conductor Valery Gergiev (Russian Federation).