Community engagement

Campaign to save the Trees of Music

Reforestation is an issue we’re passionate about here at Meaningful, so we were delighted to support the launch of Trees of Music, a new campaign by the classical music world to protect the endangered Pernambuco tree in Brazil. Pernambuco wood is essential in the manufacture of musical bows, and by helping to reforest these precious musical trees, the campaign aims to preserve the future of classical music for generations to come.

Pernambuco or brazilwood was found to be ideal for manufacturing bows in the mid-18th century due to its ability to hold a fixed curve, gaining favour with classical musicians due to its unique resonance and sound quality.

Yet years of illegal deforestation and exploitation mean the tree that gave its name to Brazil is now on the brink of extinction. Although Pernambuco was listed as an endangered species in 2007, over 20,000 violin bows made with illegally logged wood were seized in 2018 and the tree’s native Atlantic Forest habitat has shrunk to just 6% of its original size. Without help, the Pernambuco tree could be gone for good in less than a decade.

Trees of Music is now calling on lovers of classical music to help replenish these overexploited trees, restore their degraded native ecosystems and create a sustainable, long-term source of Pernambuco to keep the music playing for generations of classical music lovers to come. 

Led by Master bow-maker and ecologist Marco Rapso, the campaign aims to distribute 50,000 Pernambuco saplings to small-scale farmers in the Brazilian state of Espírito Santo. The saplings will be planted along environmentally-sensitive ecological corridors, helping to regenerate natural habitats, provide vital livelihood opportunities for rural agriculturalists and secure the long-term future of classical string instruments.

Trees of Music launched on 21 March 2021 to coincide with the United Nations’ International Day of Forests, kicking off a 12-month series of international events, activities and performances. There is a website where people can learn how to get involved, social media accounts to connect the global classical music community and a crowdfunding campaign to help mobilise resources.

Ahead of the campaign launch, Meaningful was pleased to provide Trees of Music with three months of pro-bono strategic and advisory support, which included:

  • Campaign strategy and direction
  • PR 
  • Digital marketing
  • Social media
  • Web development
  • Copywriting and content creation

The campaign has already received coverage from leading classical music press including BBC Radio 3, Classic FM and The Strad magazine, and has attracted some high-profile ambassadors from the classical musical world such as New Jersey Symphony Orchestra violinist JoAnna Farrer, cellist Nathalie Haas, and pianist and composer Ben Comeau.

Violinist Viktoria Mullova has recorded a special track for Trees of Music by Brazil’s first woman conductor Chiquinha Gonzaga: a simplified arrangement will be made available for individuals, ensembles and school orchestras to perform as part of the campaign.

Trees of Music uses classical music as a platform to inspire cross-cultural collaboration, elicit behaviour change and transform the impacts of harmful extractive industries into opportunities for reforestation. In future, the movement will extend its support to other endangered Trees of Music: the Pernambuco is just the beginning!

Learn more about Trees of Music