London Mozart Players and Roxanna Panufnik launch music video to raise money for Myanmar refugees

London Mozart Players and oboist Olivier Stankiewicz have joined forces with LMP Associate Composer Roxanna Panufnik to highlight the crisis in Myanmar and raise money for Myanmar refugees who are fleeing attacks by the military.

LMP have released a brand-new video of Panufnik’s ‘Letters from Burma’, her 2004 composition inspired by Nobel Peace Prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi’s remarkable collection of letters, describing everyday life in the country, and written during her time under house arrest.

This spring, the military in Myanmar once again seized power in a coup, launching a brutal crackdown on people peacefully protesting against military rule, and this has cast the composition in a new and poignant light. LMP’s moving and thought-provoking video weaves Roxanna Panufnik’s evocative melodies – which assimilate elements of the country’s traditional music – with recent footage from Myanmar, and voiceovers from those who have experienced the violence at first hand.

Since the coup began on 1st February 2021, more than 700 people have been killed by security forces in Myanmar, including almost 50 children. More than 5,000 people have been arrested, and are subject to beatings, torture and sexual assault. Thousands of people are also fleeing the cities seeking safety.

All money raised by the video will go to the refugee charity Advance Myanmar. The charity is providing emergency aid to thousands of villagers forced to flee their homes. It is helping people escape arrest and torture, and reach places of safety. It is funding the building of shelter, food, clothing and medical care for protesters who have fled to remote areas of Myanmar for safety.

Advance Myanmar relies on donations to provide this life-saving support. Please donate if you can via the Advance Myanmar website.

The video, filmed by students from Surrey University, has been released during Refugee Week (14–20 June 2021) a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. The video was recorded at St Martin-in-the-Fields church in Trafalgar Square, famous for its music and its charitable foundation supporting vulnerable people.

Alongside the video is an interview with noted human rights activist Benedict Rogers, brother of LMP’s leader, Ruth Rogers. Benedict Rogers is the Senior Analyst for East Asia at the human rights organisation Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), and author of three books on Myanmar.

Roxanna Panufnik / Letters from Burma (2004)

  1. Aung-ze Paing-ze
    ii. Young Birds Outside Cages
    iii. Thazin
    iv. Kintha Dance

Roxanna Panufnik’s ‘Letters from Burma’ is a 2004 composition in four movements inspired by Aung San Suu Kyi’s vivid and poignant picture of her native land. ‘Aung-ze Paing-ze’ is based on the traditional Myanmar folk song about the power and valour of the King, while ‘Young Birds Outside Cages’ depicts the harrowing image of children trying to touch parents who are political prisoners behind bars. The Myanmar orchid ‘Thazin’ is a romantic national symbol; the final movement, ‘Kintha Dance’, evokes Myanmar’s courageous Mon sword dancers. Originally written for oboe and string quartet, London Mozart Players presents ‘Letters from Burma’ in its orchestral version with oboist Olivier Stankiewicz.

Roxanna Panufnik commented: “Letters From Burma describes every facet of the beauty and also the severe hardship of the country, but my piece finishes in triumph. I hope and pray Burma’s suppressed will do so, one day too. Please help support those brave enough to endeavour to make this happen, and the innocent victims of totalitarian oppression.”

Anna Roberts, Executive Director, Advance Myanmar said:

“It’s wonderful that the London Mozart Players and Roxanna Panufnik are creating this opportunity for their beautiful music to raise awareness of the continuing humanitarian and human rights crisis in Myanmar after the military coup. This event will raise vital funds to help support refugees fleeing the brutality of Myanmar military attacks.”

Advance Myanmar is a registered charity, Charity Number 1139662

Advance Myanmar relies on donations to provide life-saving support.

Please donate if you can.

Roxanna Panufnik has written a blog about this project on the ArtsDesk website.

LMP Leader Ruth Rogers has written an article about the project for The Strad magazine.

Advance Myanmar relies on donations to provide life-saving support.

Please donate if you can.