Europa Nostra joins MERITA network meeting at the String Quartet Biennale in Amsterdam

The EU-funded project MERITA, of which Europa Nostra is a partner, hosted a network meeting on 2 February 2024 in Amsterdam at the architectural icon Muziekgebouw. The event took place as part of the String Quartet Biennale, the world’s largest string quartet festival.

Stakeholders from across the heritage and music sectors gathered to endorse the MERITA platform. Prominent personalities in attendance included Yasmin Hilberdink, Founder and Artistic Director of the String Quartet Biennale Amsterdam, who moderated a discussion during the meeting on MERITA’s impact on the music community, underscoring the pivotal role of the music industry in providing new opportunities for emerging professionals and fostering a resilient and inclusive society.

MERITA network meeting at the String Quartet Biennale in Amsterdam

Francesca Moncada, Founder and President of Le Dimore del Quartetto and the MERITA platform, introduced the programme to young quartet members and encouraged them to expand their network and become part of a broader European community. She delved into the history of MERITA, emphasising the importance of implementing visionary initiatives, particularly in contemporary societies, and highlighted the project’s achievements to date.

Antigoni Michael, Coordinator of the 7 Most Endangered Programme at Europa Nostra, focused on the significance of cultural heritage within MERITA. She outlined Europa Nostra’s role in the project and underscored the importance of music in cultural heritage sites, stressing the symbiotic relationship between musicians and historic spaces in revitalising narratives and engaging diverse communities, particularly minorities and vulnerable groups.

Mark Withers, musician, advisor, and principal SQBA tutor for Disabilities and Social Hardship, shared insights into the tangible impact of MERITA in daily life. He highlighted the transformative power of music for individuals with health challenges, drawing from his personal experience, and underscored the mutual benefits derived by emerging musicians and vulnerable groups through musical engagement.

MERITA network meeting at the String Quartet Biennale in Amsterdam

Following the network meeting, attendees enjoyed a remarkable concert titled “TRUST,” featuring performances by the Karski Quartet, Belinfante Quartet, and Visio singers. Yasmin Hilberdink and Mark Withers delivered an inspiring introduction, focused on mutual trust and understanding throughout our communities. 

The hall resonated with a diverse audience united in the realm of artistic expression. During the concert, attendees were invited to participate in the composition, a true example of community engagement and a return to music’s grassroots origins, resonating with people from diverse backgrounds.

MERITA embodies a vision for a more inclusive society, offering equal opportunities for creatives and vulnerable groups. Recognising its potential for social cohesion and equality, cultural heritage has embraced the project wholeheartedly. Europa Nostra eagerly anticipates continued collaboration with the MERITA team.

Upcoming concerts within the MERITA project include:

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