Press Releases

MUSIC FOR OUR CHILDREN Exquisite music supporting UNICEF’s efforts to help children in need around the world

December 23, 2016

Fourth Annual “Music for Our Children” UNICEF Benefit Concert is January 13, 2017 Event Features Members of the Cleveland Orchestra and Cleveland Ballet

Cleveland, OH — For the fourth year running, some of the finest world-class musicians from the Cleveland Orchestra and Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM), along with dancers from Cleveland Ballet have graciously donated their time and talent to perform together in a benefit concert titled Music For Our Children. The concert takes place on Friday, January 13, 2017, at 7 p.m. at Andrews Osborne Academy, located at 38588 Mentor Avenue, Willoughby, Ohio, 44094. The concert is organized by Ralitsa Georgieva-Smith, Founder and Artistic Director, Music for Our Children, and Cleveland Institute of Music Collaborative Piano faculty member, alongside Jason Smith, Executive Director, Music for Our Children, and Cleveland State University Music faculty. All proceeds go directly to UNICEF’s United States Fund.

Internationally acclaimed Cleveland Orchestra members Richard King (French horn), Lisa Boyko (viola), Paul Kushious (cello), Chul-In Park (violin), Barrick Stees (bassoon), Kevin Switalski (bass), and Robert Woolfrey (clarinet) will perform Ludwig van Beethoven’s Septet, Op. 20.

The Cleveland Ballet will perform Polovetsian Dances by Alexander Borodin from the opera Prince Igor, along with music arranged for two pianos by Victor Babin, played by Georgieva-Smith and Cleveland Orchestra member Carolyn Warner. Choreography is by Gladisa Guadalupe, Artistic Director of Cleveland Ballet. In addition, Georgieva-Smith will perform J. S. Bach’s French suite for piano No. 2 in c minor, with choreography by Guadalupe. An exciting new addition to the program is the appearance of internationally recognized Russian tenor Mikhail Urusov, who has sung operatic lead roles in Carmen, La Traviata, Madama Butterfly, Tosca, La Boheme and more. There will also be a special appearance by CIM Piano faculty Emanuela Friscioni.

Steinway Piano Gallery of Cleveland has generously agreed to transport one of its finest quality pianos for the event. The school’s auditorium is graciously provided by the administration of Andrews Osborne Academy.

Tickets for the event are available through Eventbrite at Admission tickets are $30 for adults, $10 for college students, and free for those under 18 years of age. All funds from ticket sales go directly to support UNICEF’s work around the world. Immediately following the performance, concert-goers are invited to mingle with musicians and dancers at a dessert reception, with live jazz music by the Jason Smith Quartet. The reception is made possible through the generous support of the International Women’s Group of Cleveland, headed by Sybille Schomerus.

“As a native of Bulgaria, I didn’t come from a wealthy country. I lived a simple and modest life, but with a very happy childhood,” said Georgieva-Smith. “I believe every child deserves this. Even in a wealthy country like the United States, it is difficult to fathom that there are still so many underprivileged children. By unifying my fellow music colleagues, we can make a larger collaborative impact in raising funds that we hope sends a message of love to children in need.”

The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF’s work, and other efforts in support of the world’s children, through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. 90% of every dollar spent goes directly to assist children. UNICEF’s motto, “Children First,” aims to save and protect the world’s most vulnerable children.

UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories all over the world, including children caught in conflict in Syria and the Central African Republic, as well as the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page, Ralitsa Georgieva-Smith is available for interviews by e-mailing her directly at, or calling executive director Jason Smith at 813-390-7037. Performer bios are available by contacting Andrea C. Turner at