Kate on Conservation

How can music support children and wildlife to live in harmony?

lions in sunset and clouds

“When we pay attention to nature’s music, we find that everything on the Earth contributes to its harmony.”

Many of us who spend our lives looking to our planet’s incredible wildlife and nature will know that there’s a truth in the above quote from Hazrat Inayat Khan.


Our natural world is so full of intricate melodies, delicate harmonies and dramatic crescendos — which is why in recent years we’ve seen wonderful composers such as Hans Zimmer creating the breath-taking score of the documentary series Planet Earth II, and the likes of Philip Glass composing for the fascinating docufilm JANE.

Children and wildlife in harmony

Knowing that music, the natural world and human nature are so intrinsically linked, I was delighted to discover an exciting event taking place next Monday 11 June 2018, which will see a coming together of  the wildlife charity Born Free Foundation and internationally acclaimed pianist and conductor Panos Karan (responsible for establishing the charity Keys of Change); in a performance of music written by one of the great masters of Romantic composition, Frederic Chopin; Children and wildlife in harmony.

I’m excited to explore the musical journey as Panos performs Chopin’s 24 formidable and evocative Études. How wonderful to allow Chopin’s delicate thoughtfulness and graceful composition to be the soundtrack to thoughts of the future of our planet.

Panos Karan at piano

Panos will also speak about his charity Keys of Change, which uses music to improve the lives of young people living in extraordinary circumstances around the world, and Born Free Foundation President Will Travers OBE will be hosting the evening, while representing Born Free’s Global Friends programme.

The special event has been created to raise funds for both these important charities; the Global Friends programme — which supports schools and communities alongside the charity’s wildlife projects in Africa and Asia — and Keys of Change musical education programmes — which run from Ecuador and the Amazon, to India and tsunami-stricken Fukushima.

Both Keys of Change and Born Free believe that children are the future. Panos Karan, the Founder of Keys of Change, has seen the transformative impact of music and a personal engagement that music can have on individuals. Born Free has seen the same impact when children are encouraged to appreciate, understand and respect nature. What the world needs now is more kindness. And that’s what Keys Of Change and Born Free can deliver.

Helping local communities and wildlife live together…

I imagine Panos commanding the piano to flow between moments of light delicacy, through building layers of emotion, to reach purposeful places of darkness. The kind of emotion and drama that Chopin is synonymous with tells so many stories, that it seems perfectly conceivable that our planet’s delicate balance between human-wildlife conflict and human-wildlife compassion could easily be one of them.

The Global Friends communities supported by Born Free live in locations close to, or surrounded by wildlife. Many children in Global Friends Schools have not had the opportunity to go and see wild animals living in their natural habitat and indeed, some members of the community regard wildlife as a threat.


Born Free work to help find practical solutions to reduce conflict and increase empathy for the thousands of individuals who live in Global Friends communities.

The intention of this exciting event, therefore, is to help Keys Of Change raise the resources it needs to reach to and support traumatised communities while at the same time building and reinforcing the Born Free Global Friends Programme.

According to Born Free President, Will Travers; “Panos has a remarkable story. He is incredibly talented, but not wealthy as he puts his heart and soul into bringing music to people who’ve never had that experience. People in prison, people ten hours up a dirt track from the nearest town, people whose lives have been shattered by disasters like the Fukushima nuclear situation. Born Free also works on the edge – in communities that may not have water, electricity, modern communications, or no more than the occasional vehicle passing through. These are the communities that are getting left behind and that surely cannot be right.”

I love the idea of these two incredible charities coming together as a force for good.

As the force of Chopin’s incredible Études fills the Codogan Hall in London next Monday, I hope to share this experience and global vision with you. It’s my birthday after all — and this sounds like an ideal celebration!

For more information and to buy tickets visit: bornfree.org.uk/events/



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