12 September 2011. Keys of Change founder Panos Karan has performed for communities in Northeast Japan affected by the 11 March earthquake and tsunami. Karan began his visit to Tohoku on 25 August playing 11 recitals in 8 days for people living in emergency shelters, schools and temporary housing in the prefectures of Fukushima and Miyage. Karan commenced and concluded the journey with fundraising performances in Tokyo.
“The tragedy in Japan has touched me deeply,” says Karan. “I went to Japan to let people affected by this extraordinary disaster know that they are not forgotten. They of course need food, shelter, and a roof over their heads. But music can give hope and encouragement in times of the greatest grief, sorrow and despair. I feel an everlasting respect to the stoicism and strength of the Japanese people. It seems I have left a part of me in Tohoku and that this trip has changed me as an artist and a person. It was incredible to experience reactions of tears and expressive openness from people that are generally perceived as shy and reserved. Japan, Tohoku and its people have taught me a sense of dignity and compassion that has touched me beyond words.” Karan was joined on this trip by Megumi Takamori, who helped overlook logistics, and travel photographer Tariq Zaidi. The trip was planned with the help of David Tharp, MD/Psychotherapist.
Keys of Change founder, 29-year old Greek-born Panos Karan, was educated at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He made his professional debut at the Southbank Centre at the age of 19. Notable appearances have included two solo recitals at Carnegie Hall, the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Hermitage Theatre (St. Petersburg) and the Athens Megaron Concert Hall. In 2009 he recorded Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Orion Symphony Orchestra.
“Can music change the world? We believe it can” is the motto of Keys of Change and Karan has already completed the first leg of a 5,000 miles journey along the Amazon River to make sure it does. Karan formed Keys of Change, to share the world of classical music with people in remote parts of the world. It was established in August 2010 by individuals who deeply believe that playing music is one of the simplest yet strongest ways for people to build bridges for peace and make positive social change. Keys of Change is working together with The Condor Trust for Education in Ecuador and aims to support several children in the Amazon to continue their education in secondary school. Visit www.keysofchange.org to learn more.