The Magnificat: educating for coexistence and peace on the notes of music

The Magnificat: educating for coexistence and peace on the notes of music

Interview with Fr. Alberto Joan Pari, Director of the Magnificat Institute

For almost thirty years, the Magnificat Institute of Music has been open in the heart of Jerusalem; together with the other schools of the Custody of the Holy Land  (the interview with fr. Badie of the Akko school is here; the interview with fr. George Haddad of the Bethehem school is here) it is an educational institution that is all the more necessary and fundamental in these times of dramatic conflicts, to teach peace and guarantee a future of coexistence and respect.

The Magnificat does so with the peculiarity that distinguishes it: it teaches fraternity through the language of music.

United in making music

“This school is unique in the Custody,” fr. Alberto Joan Pari, director of the Magnificat  explains. It succeeds in bringing together pupils and teachers of every nationality, religion  and ethnicity: in our school., Christians, Muslims and Jews study together, with in common the mutual passion or music. Here we promote fraternity and social friendship between the different cultures as an antidote to the many forms of violence, unfortunately still underway.”

“Music and art are not compulsory subjects in the curricula of Israeli or Palestinian schools,” fr. Alberto Joan continues, “this is why, for generations, it was not possible to develop the musical or artistic side of the youngsters in schools. The Magnificat was founded in 1995 precisely to fill this gap and now it is a solid local establishment.”

“The academic level of the teachers is very high and the language is not discriminating for anyone, as English is used. This is why our school is greatly appreciated. At the moment we have 190 students, the majority are Christians of  all the different confessions, then Muslims and some Jews, while most of the teachers are Jewish.”

International collaboration with the Pedrollo Conservatoire

Since 2005, the Magnificat has been able to boast of a prestigious international collaboration  with the Pedrollo Conservatoire of Vicenza, so that today it is  the only establishment in Israeli and Palestinian territory to award qualifications recognized abroad, thanks to an agreement with the Conservatoire recognized by the Italian Ministry of Universities and Research.

The daily challenges

Fr. Alberto Joan does not conceal the challenges that they have to face every day at the school: “Having Christians, Jews and Muslims coexist is not always easy: especially at  times like this when the tension, due to the conflict underway, shows no signs of decreasing in intensity, but every day we carry on this commitment, with humility and tenacity. It is a source of great pride for the Custody to witness that peace and coexistence can be fostered through music.”

How the Magnificat is supported

“The Magnificat does not benefit from any state subsidies, but we continue to keep the school fees low, a decision that was taken from the very beginning to give everybody the chance of having access to a school of music. Thus the Custody covers a good part of the costs: but with the war and the block of pilgrimages, many families who worked in tourism have found themselves without any income and this is why, as for the other schools of the Custody, we are now forced to help those families who cannot contribute to the school fees.”

Silvia Giuliano


You can support the Magnificat and the educational realities of the Custody that encourage coexistence and dialogue through the DONATE NOW page on the website of the Custody of the Holy Land and the next Collection , which will be on Good Friday, 29 March,  all over the world. This is the main source for supporting life around the Holy Places.