String Players Take a Stand

We can all be Human Rights Champions! Right now, string players around the world #StandUp4HumanRights by playing a movement of music dedicated to a Human Rights Defender (HRD) who has been abducted or murdered because they stood up to big powerful interests who wanted to harm their communities. Their fight lives on in all of us. They will not be forgotten. View the photo essay that inspired this campaign.

Juilliard String Quartet (New York) performs Mvt 6 – Mr Boonyong Intawong

MR. Quartet (Hong Kong) performs Mvt 8 – Mr Chai Bunthonglek

Cuarteto Caroní (Venezuela) performs Mvt 32 – Mr Suwat Wongpiyasathit

Merel Quartet (Zurich) performs Mvt 16 – Ms Montha Chukaew & Ms Pranee Boonrat

Pavel Bořkovec Quartet (Prague) performs Mvt 17 – Ms Pakwipa Chalernklin

Babylon Quartet (Russia, Netherlands, Canada, USA) performs Mvt 23 – Mr Preecha Thongpaen

InConcerto (Quito) performs Mvt 10 – Ms. Chaweewan Pueksungnoen

(members of the London Symphony Orchestra, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Música Ocupa)

Ulysses Quartet (New York) performs Mvt 3 – Mr Narin Phodaeng

Many thanks to the performers: Akhtamar String Quartet, Alma Quartet, Altius Quartet, Amenda Quartet, Arcadia Quartet, Artaria String Quartet, Artume Quartet, Atlantic String Quartet, Axiom Quartet, Babylon Quartet, Bennewitz Quartet, Bergamot Quartet, Cong Quartet, Cuarteto Caroní, Diogenes Quartett, DSCH Quartet, Fry Street Quartet, Helikon Kwartet, InConcerto, Janus Quartet, Juilliard String Quartet, Julius Quartet, Kubus Quartett, Lux Quartet, Lux String Quartet, Madison String Quartet, Merel Quartet, Mivos Quartet, MR. Quartet, Mucha Quartet, Nordic String Quartet, Pavel Bořkovec Quartet, Quartetto Noûs, Quatuor Ardeo, Quatuor MP4, Quatuor Sésame, Quatuor Tchalik, Regina Symphony String Quartet, Saorsa Quartet, Sixteen Strings String Quartet, Tana Quartet, Ton Beau String Quartet, Ulysses Quartet, Utrecht String Quartet, Vaughan String Quartet, Zemlinsky Quartet and all those who are currently recording their video dedicated to Human Rights Defenders! See Thomson Reuters Foundation article for more.

Don't miss any new videos or big updates.

(we never share emails, unsubscribe anytime)

About This Project

Our planet is at a critical point in time. We understand more than we ever have about our planet, yet it is under even more of a threat. Today, an increasing number of people find themselves having to defend their homeland, their villages, from corporations or state-run enterprises that seek to destroy them for their own profit, regardless of those affected. These are HRDs (Human Rights Defenders).

Around the world HRDs have lost their lives for protecting a wide range of environmental values and human rights ranging from exposing waste-dumping, illegal deforestation, and land grabs, to opposing the construction of polluting coal plants and mines.

Music for Human Rights Defenders (#music4HRDs) aims to bring the Classical music community together to show their support for HRDs who are fighting around the world and to the families of those who have been murdered.

String players, learn how you can take part.

In Thailand, research by the NGO Protection International documented over 59 cases of Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) who have been murdered or abducted in the last 20 years. This makes Thailand one of the worst offenders in terms of violence against HRDs and demands international attention to ensure everyone in Thailand has the right to defend their rights and freedoms without fear of threats or attack.

Across the country, villagers who have simply tried to protect their homes and communities have been abducted or shot dead. Very few charges have ever been laid against the perpetrators of any of these crimes as the influence of the powerful can easily override justice. The effect of these assassinations on a small community’s struggle can be devastating and rampant impunity puts community-based HRDs at high risk of violence and injustice.

This project is a tribute to those Thai Human Rights Defenders who have lost their lives over the last 20 years. Photographer, Luke Duggleby, created the 35-photo essay, For Those Who Died Trying, by driving almost 10,000 km, visiting the families or friends of the victims and requesting a portrait of each person. The portrait of the Human Rights Defender was then taken to and placed at the exact location where they were murdered or disappeared; representing the last time they were ever seen alive.

The silent portraits, looking small and vulnerable in their settings…looking back at the viewer from the scene of their last terrifying moments.The New York Times

Frank interviews Pranom Somwong, Thai Human Rights Activist, Lawyer affiliated with Protection International (start listening at 28:30)

Mivos Quartet premieres 35mvt composition, The Thailand HRDs, by Frank Horvat (photo credit Jeremy Sale / Protection International) Inspired by the stories of these HRDs and Luke’s photos, I composed The Thailand HRDs, a 70-minute, 35-movement string quartet utilizing just the musical pitches/letters found in the names of each victim – implanting their unique musical DNA in every piece. The music is not intended to be purely melancholic but have a tinge of defiance so that these deaths do not mark an end but a continuation of the fight. My goal was to make a powerful artistic statement in bringing awareness to an issue that has received very little attention in the western media.

I hope that all these string quartets performing my composition can shed light on the heroism of these Thai HRDs and HRDs around the world to ensure that their work will not go unnoticed.
– Frank Horvat, composer

One of the most inventive songwriters to come out of the contemporary scene in Canada (WholeNote Magazine), this award-winning composer’s music explores a wide array of themes from love to social justice issues. Musically emotional and intense, Frank Horvat is an accomplished multi-genre composer and pianist who has made the tricky musical leap that allows him to pursue a niche of his own (Edmonton Journal). With a continuously growing discography and composition premieres on four continents, his works have been featured in plays, films, and on TV and radio networks internationally. Discover his latest projects at

A BIG THANK YOU to those who have inspired #music4HRDs
Photographer Luke Duggleby in PakistanLUKE DUGGLEBY
An award-winning British freelance documentary and portrait photographer, Luke Duggleby has been based in Bangkok for over a decade. Traveling the globe yet focusing on Asia he undertakes assignments and works on personal projects all over the continent for many of the worlds most respected publications and NGOs. For Those Who Died Trying has been exhibited across Europe and Thailand including the UN Headquarters in Geneva and the European Parliament in Brussels, and was the topic of a TEDx talk he gave in early 2018. His work can be viewed on

Protection International LogoAn international non-profit organisation that supports human rights defenders at risk worldwide since 2004. Protection International works with local partners in over thirty countries, empowering defenders and demanding from those who have the responsibility to protect them to fulfill this obligation. Building upon a foundation of research, partnership, and fieldwork, Protection International finds durable solutions to protection issues and builds the capacity of defenders to manage their own protection effectively and holistically. Learn more about their work at

THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, it set out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected. The Declaration was adopted by the UN General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948. Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are interrelated, interdependent and indivisible.

Please meditate on:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion
Everyone has the right to education
Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any literary or artistic production of which he or she is the author.

Take Part

We need string players from around the world to help spread the word about the plight of HRDs (Human Rights Defenders / Activists). If we can shine a light on this issue, it makes it much harder for the perpetrators of these abuses to continue their crimes unnoticed.

STEP 1: Assemble a string quartet*

STEP 2: Download the 35-movement score (learn more about the piece, The Thailand HRDs)

STEP 3: pick a 2-minute movement you would like to videotape yourselves performing

STEP 4: upload your video to your social media site(s) and tag
#music4HRDs #StandUp4HumanRights

You can also link to this site if you wish –

STEP 5: optionally, try contacting your local media to see if they would write about your participation in #music4HRDs to help spread this message to even more people

Keep Us Updated
Thanks for participating!

*solo, duo and trio options also available – for more information.

Share a Story

Share a Story

Have you been inspired by the work and tenacity of an HRD (Human Rights Defender)? Please share their story with everyone here in the comments below. This project probably would never have happened if photographer Luke Duggleby didn’t hear the story of HRDs, Ms. Montha Chukaew and Ms. Pranee Boonrat. Learn more about Luke’s journey …


Want to support this project or have any questions?
Email me:

String Players, vist the Take Part page and create Music for Human Rights Defenders #music4HRDs

Media inquires:

Don't miss any new videos or big updates.

(we never share emails, unsubscribe anytime)