«Only through music can suffering be healed

Euripides, Medea

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Personalities from the world of music and art are convinced of their therapeutic effect and share the concerns of the ART-THERAPIE Foundation.

© Keystone

With his harp, musician and composer ANDREAS VOLLENWEIDER has created his own unconventional and unique world of sound. He surprises again and again with new ideas, and the typical “Vollenweider Sound” has become a world-famous trademark with which he has celebrated international triumphs. The artist entered fascinating new territory with a very special project: At the request of a research group at the University Hospital of Geneva, which studies the brain development of extremely premature babies, Andreas Vollenweider developed music that they listen to at precisely determined times. The first results show a significant improvement in brain development and at the same time the relaxing effect on the babies who are exposed to great stress in their situation. Andreas Vollenweider explains
“It’s not really a secret, but regrettably still an underestimated phenomenon: Music can lead us into our deepest inner being, into the deep layers of our soul, into the bedrock of our subconscious. And just as every disturbance and every illness has its origins here, every healing process also begins in this depth. Music that is built on a consistently positive, harmonising effect can activate an incredibly rich world of positive inner images and feelings here, which in turn can trigger and support complex healing processes.
Painting, visual arts, dance and literature are also able to unleash the most important of our human abilities, our imagination. It is, then, the central force in recovery; if we cannot imagine being or becoming healthy and happy, the road is rocky and difficult… Art therapy should therefore take a central role in all areas of human medicine, as well as in research.”

NIC MAEDER (singer and guitarist with Swiss rock band Gotthard) was born in Lausanne but spent many years living in Australia. Music has been his companion for much of his life and is an important facet of his personality. In 2011, he joined the band Gotthard as lead singer and began touring in Switzerland and abroad. Since then, he has become a household name among rock fans.

I saw the benefits of music therapy for myself when I worked with a group of disabled people for three years when I lived in Australia, and I was won over by the mission of the ART-THERAPIE Foundation and the enthusiasm of its staff and the art therapists I met during a visit to Zurich’s paediatric university hospital (Kispi). The positive effects of art therapy and its ability to help children in hospital recover are undeniable.

© Michael Sonderegger

© EliasPhotography

Pianist LOUIS LORTIE from Canada made his debut at the age of thirteen with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and later went on a historic tour of China and Japan with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Since then he has been playing with world-famous orchestras and in renowned concert halls and commutes between Canada, Belgium and Italy, where he founded the LacMus Festival on Lake Como. In October 2021, Louis Lortie gave a benefit concert with violinist Pavel Berman at the LAC cultural centre in Lugano.
“The ART-THERAPY Foundation deserves our full support. I am impressed by the knowledge and commitment of Dr Pezzoli (head of paediatrics at Lugano Hospital). Unfortunately, we musicians still know too little about the therapeutic effect of our art and should already learn during our studies to participate in this wonderful development. I will be happy to champion these visionary programmes and wish them full success!”

Ilva Eigus, born in Switzerland in 2007, is an exceptional talent. She took her first violin lessons at the age of three with Liana Tretiakova at the Zakhar Bron School of Music in Zurich, made her orchestral debut at the age of eight and has since performed with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, the Musikkollegium Winterthur, the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, the Prague Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Novosibirsk Philharmonic Orchestra, among others. In 2023, Ilva made her debut at the Zurich Tonhalle with Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor and at the Menuhin Festival in Gstaad. She was also a Junior Soloist at the renowned Verbier Festival Summer Academy. Ilva is a repeated winner of the Swiss Youth Music Competition and has won numerous prizes in international competitions, including first prize at the 21st Nutcracker Competition in Moscow and second prize at the Wieniawski-Lipinski Competition in Lublin, Poland. Ilva is currently a pre-college student at the Royal Conservatory in Liège, Belgium, with Professor Marc Bouchkov, and is preparing for her baccalaureate at a German gymnasium. She has been inspired by Zakhar Bron, Augustin Dumay, Daniel Hope, Latica Honda-Rosenberg, Janine Jansen, Michaela Martin, Priya Mitchell, Alexandra Soumm, Ingolf Turban and Maxim Vengerov.  Ilva plays a 1707 Stradivarius Omobono, generously on loan from the Habisreutinger-Huggler-Coray Stradivarius Foundation.

«What can I do to get involved in a good cause? – a question that preoccupied me as a young violinist. I’ve always been convinced of the positive impact of music and art in general. It’s so important for everyone to have the opportunity to express themselves, to create, to listen and to pay attention. That’s why I’m all the happier to have become an ambassador for the ART-THERAPIE Foundation and to see how the lives of children and young people in difficulty are enriched by exposure to the fascinating world of art.»

© Ilva Eigus

The world-famous singer, songwriter and actress Petula Clark lives in Switzerland. She is the foundation’s patron of the heart from the very beginning and dedicated the song “Butterfly in the Snow”, which she wrote and composed, to the seriously ill children. The touching song gives courage and awakens and strengthens the positive feelings of the little patients. 
“Art and music reach a great number of young patients. They touch places in them where no injection can reach.”
The cellist SOL GABETTA has made a name for herself with numerous international guest appearances. She also teaches at the music academy in Basel and started the SOlsberg chamber music festival. 
“As a cellist I am familiar with the emotional power and relaxing effect of music and feel a friendly relationship to the ART-THERAPIE Foundation and its causes.”
“Music is an essential element, particularly for stressed people. I experience this myself directly with my handicapped sister. She is happy and is immediately calmer when she hears me practising. The melody takes all her tenseness away. She also has a very good ear for music. She likes to sing and was soon able to memorise the lyrics, whereas she can’t remember much else.”

© Julia Wesely

The internationally-known artist comes MICHEL HUELIN from the Jura and lives in Geneva. He has made one of his fascinating works available for the CD cover of Petula Clark. He is convinced that the creative therapy approach releases vital internal powers.
The painter says: “The huge plus of art therapy is its ability to use the potential of young patients. This is why I support this approach , of converting creative energy to inner strengths.”
Music in the colours of the soul : The famous pianist ELISABETH SOMBART plays in the most prestigious concert halls in the world and devotes herself to training young pianists in Switzerland and abroad. As founder and president of the Résonnance  foundation she brings music to the places of suffering: In hospitals, prisons, retirement homes and residences for the disabled. “For injured souls” as she expresses it in her empathetic manner. 
“Our consciousness perceives tones directly with both our physical bodies and our souls. In this way we have the ability of bringing them back into harmony.”

© Holger Hage & Deutsche Grammophon

Born in Bregenz in 1992, the cellist of Persian descent KIAN SOLTANI is probably the most fascinating representative of the young generation. The charismatic musician is at home both in the world of European classical music and in contemporary Iranian music and performs with renowned orchestras and famous conductors. He won the Credit Suisse Young Artist Award in 2018 and was Artist in Residence of the famous Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 2019. He is firmly convinced of the therapeutic effect of music:
“Music connects people across all borders and cultures, because it touches their innermost. I am convinced of its therapeutic effect on sick children and young people and support the causes of the ART-THERAPIE Foundation.”
“They say the sound of the cello is very similar to the human voice. Like this, music can have a particularly beneficial effect on sick children and young people, because it relaxes, comforts, stimulates, motivates and helps to alleviate their suffering.”


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