This year, 30 cities and countries around the world will hold concerts, broadcast radio segments, and hold educational seminars as part of Music Freedom Day. Liverpool’s lecture and concert, just one of three events in the UK, is scheduled to start at 2pm and will involve live performances of a work by Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich (String Quartet No. 8) written in response to Soviet censure of his music as well as a selection from German-British composer George Frideric Handel’s Messiah, reportedly banned from performance in China.
As the city has a long-established Chinese community, the presentation will also highlight that localisation by exploring China’s censorship issues. Nikki Fu, a presenter earning her M.A. in Music Industry Studies at the University of Liverpool, will offer insight on these Chinese regulations. She explains, “In China, political issues don’t allow you to talk about these things. Now, understanding the music industry in Liverpool, I think this event will be a good opportunity to share this information.” A general discussion of free speech and musical expression will close the event.
Though freedom of musical expression is often taken for granted, censorship, intimidation, and cultural pressures still threaten many creative endeavors. Liverpool joins the global fight against such injustices by raising awareness and allowing audiences to hear what's not being played. Following on from the city’s recent “Capital of Culture” status, this Music Freedom Day event builds upon Liverpool's reputation as an internationally lauded cultural hub that values freedom of speech and cultivates cultural expression in all forms.