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„Muzika yacu, Ubuzima bwacu“

[proverb from Rwanda]

Marie-Elisabeth Helmchen

Born in 1987 to a pastor’s family in Zwickau as the fifth of eight children, I grew up in a large family. At the age of 5, I began cello lessons at the Robert-Schumann-Conservatory in Zwickau. All of my siblings were also enrolled there for instrumental music lessons.

At home in the parsonage, there were numerous opportunities to practice various combinations of chamber music and to perform at the church, in hospitals or care facilities – anywhere music was needed. I was a teenager when I began to consider a career in music. At the age of 14, I was able to continue my musical training in Dresden while still going to school in Zwickau, where I graduated after completing the Abitur.

The International Rostropovich Competition in Paris of 2005 was a turning point in my musical career. My participation in the competition led to a number of concerts; without giving much thought to the matter, I had become a concert musician. As I grew into adulthood, I began to think more deeply about the implications of a life in the concert business and began to have some doubts about the path my life had begun to take. I began to realize that I was interested in more than simply giving concerts. I wanted to get to know people who did not have the opportunity to attend classical concerts, and that might experience music as a vehicle to discover a deeper meaning in their lives.

It was this beginning that led us to Rwanda – another turning point in my life. After every visit to Rwanda, I return home with my heart brimming with thankfulness and a wealth of new impressions. These allow me to see beyond the borders of the music business as I return to my work as a musician. Each visit reminds me anew of the power of music and of why I chose music as my profession. 


In Rwanda, there was still no classical chamber music concert cultur in public. In cooperation with the Goethe-Institute in Kigali, we gave two public concerts, both of which were enthusiastically received. One performance took place in the Hotel Serena, the other in the Goethe-Institute’s own auditorium. We plan to continue our cooperation with the Goethe-Institute to give further performances.

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How you can support us:

In addition to the urgent financial help we need, you can also actively participate:
• You can even organize charity concerts for "Music Road Rwanda"
• You can send us instruments, sheet music, strings, tuners, metronomes, etc. that you no longer need
• If you are a musician, you can share with us or friends to teach locally in Kigali
• Or if you tell your friends about us colleagues!


If you would like to donate to Music Road Rwanda click here for more Details