Concerts for Compassion (CFC) was inspired by the diverse backgrounds of its founders. Jocelyn Zhu was born in Jackson, Mississippi to immigrant parents from China and Taiwan. Mariella Ochoa grew up in the South of Germany before immigrating to the United States in her teenage years. Although vastly different, their backgrounds share a common theme: communities that have histories of racial discrimination. CFC grew from a mutual desire to use their Juilliard education as a tool to make a difference.
Working with organizations such as The United Nations Refugee Agency, The Red Cross, and Support International, Concerts for Compassion has visited ten countries in North America, Central America, Europe, and the Middle East. Concerts for Compassion is the proud recipient of The U.S. Department of State Federal Assistance Award and The Tarisio Trust Young Artists Grant. Founders, Jocelyn Zhu and Mariella Haubs, are 2018 winners of The Hill McGraw-Robert Sherman Award for Outreach and Education presented by WQXR at The Juilliard School.
Concerts at Refugee Camps
CFC aims to bring meaningful musical experiences to displaced peoples by performance, interaction, and education. Thus far, they have visited many types of refugee camps, ranging from unofficial shelters made by people who had just arrived in boats, to more structured camps under the Red Cross’ jurisdiction. These concerts feature music from around the world, ranging from American Bluegrass to Western Art Music.
CFC performs benefit concerts for organizations supporting global communities: Jesuit Refugee Services and Support International.
When performing in traditional performance venues for local communities, CFC features works by composers who were either refugees themselves or faced adversity in their lives. By doing so, CFC hopes to build deeper understanding and compassion in local communities.
CFC’s commitment with young people is aimed toward encouraging the development of creativity and artistry. In their children’s workshops, CFC demonstrates musical instruments and live-music making, encourages artistic creativity through interactive games, and discusses a wide range of topics, including chamber music, composers, compositional methods, and the role of music in society. Their workshops end with the children given the opportunity to try out violins for themselves. Besides their work in refugee camps, they also perform similar musical workshops in local elementary and middle schools. In their hope to build deeper understanding, CFC features works by composers who faced adversity of all kinds.