The Canales Project and New York Live Arts Present Second "Between Two Worlds" Concert


Second Concert of The Canales Project Series
To Be Presented in Conjunction with New York Live Arts

New York, New York – On December 4, The Canales Project (TCP) will present the second concert in its inaugural 2016-2017 season.  The “Between Two Worlds” program—part of a series focusing on using the arts to help heal the cultural divisions in our society—will be presented in partnership with New York Live Arts (NYLA) at their performance center at 219 West 19thStreet in Manhattan. 
Founded by internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Carla Dirlikov Canales, The Canales Project aims to recruit what Dirlikov Canales calls an “army of compassion,” a diverse roster of artists that includes musicians, poets, and composers, each of whom has a personal story about living “between two worlds” and of dealing with the tensions of different cultural environments. The concert uses performance and conversation to explore the artists’ experiences, relate them to the challenges facing the audience, and help lead, in Dirlikov Canales’ words, “the journey from the other to the all.”
The artists performing on December 4 are an exceptionally accomplished group with compelling stories.  They include:  

  • Drew Alexander Fordea Juilliard-trained classical violist who has gained international social media attention known as “ThatViolaKid.”
  • Samite Mulondoone of Africa’s best-known musicians who is using his art to help the victims of that continent’s wars.
  • Daniel Bernard Roumainan award-winning composer, violinist and activist now at work on a new opera on racial tensions in urban America to be directed by Bill T. Jones.
  • James Allister Sprangan innovative and inspiring spoken-word poet, a YoungArts Alumnus.

The inaugural “Between Two Worlds” concert was held on November 10 at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center and presented in conjunction with Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute. There are four such concerts during the 2016-2017 season, in addition to educational programs created in conjunction with Education Through Music and a community outreach program called “Finding Your Voice,” created and presented in conjunction with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tucson, Arizona. 
For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit:
About The Canales Project
The Canales Project, (TCP), a not-for-profit (501-c-3) organization, has been created to give voice to issues of identity and culture through the arts and conversation. TCP’s inaugural concert series, Between Two Worlds, will explore these ideas via music and interaction with artists who understand the divisions which threaten society today. Our educational programs will explore the same issues with students.

About New York Live Arts
Located in the heart of Chelsea in New York City, New York Live Arts is an internationally recognized destination for innovative artistry. New York Live Arts produces and presents dance, music and theater performances, offers an extensive range of participatory programs for adults and young people, supports the continuing professional development of artists and serves as home for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company.

The Canales Project Artists Featured at TEDxMidAtlantic

Washington, D.C.— At the Sidney Harman Hall of the Folger Shakespeare Theater, artists and partners affiliated with The Canales Project played a major role in this year’s TEDxMidAtlantic program.  Appearing before over 500 delegates at the event, TCP founder and CEO Carla Dirlikov Canales introduced TCP’s mission to bring together artists who are committed to leading positive social change and helping to heal cultural divides and take audiences on a journey from the “other” to the “all.”
In addition to Dirlikov Canales, TCP artists and partners who performed and spoke at the event included:

  • Tariq Al Sabir, a vocalist and composer, who performed “The Little Things” from the operetta Quadar by Tony Small (who accompanied Al Sabir on the piano) and who also presented the world premiere of a piece on the struggle for racial equity in the U.S. called “Too Close.”  Al Sabir is a graduate of the Peabody Institute, grew up in Baltimore, and now teaches and performs in New York City.


  • Judah Adashi, a composer and faculty member at the Peabody Institute, presented a piece he wrote that was also inspired by the tensions in Baltimore where he lives and works, entitled, “The Beauty of the Protest.”  Adashi’s piece was performed on cello by his wife Lavena Johanson.


  • Sarah Johnson, director of Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, a partner of The Canales Project, introduced Carnegie’s “The Lullaby Project,” an initiative that harnesses the power of creating lullabies for newborns to help build mother-child bonds in families facing special challenges.  Participants in the program from teen mothers to the homeless have worked with professional musicians to compose personalized lullabies for their babies.  Following Johnson’s remarks, Dirlikov Canales and TCP artists Jessica Garand, a violist, and Joshua Cerdenia, a pianist, performed two lullabies that were written as part of the project.

As Dirlikov Canales explained in her remarks during the event, these artists are part of the growing roster of artist-advocates working with TCP programs across the country such as the “Between Two Worlds” concert series, the in-school programs related to “Between Two Worlds” and the “Finding Your Voice Program” now piloting with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tucson. 
“We have a surplus of talented artists in this country who want to make a difference and a social deficit of the critical skills and abilities artists can offer.  At TCP we bring those artists in search of great programs and venues together with organizations in search of artists with special gifts and motivation.  TEDxMidAtlantic, like Carnegie, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tucson, and our many other wonderful partners, was great to work with and a perfect showcase for our team,” said Dirlikov Canales.
Dirlikov Canales was returning to TEDxMidAtlantic a year after her initial presentation for the group, an appearance she described in her 2016 talk as having inspired her to launch The Canales Project.  The focus of this year’s TEDxMidAtlantic was “New Rules” for a rapidly changing world.  The event featured speakers like the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, former Maryland Governor and 2016 presidential candidate Martin O’Malley, and many others. 

“The Canales Project artists were nothing short of inspiring,” said Nate Mook, Curator of TEDxMidAtlantic. “They are exceptionally talented musicians, but also thought-provoking — and shared the stories behind the performances, which provided context and engaged the audience on a deeper level. They were the perfect complement to our program, and the audience feedback has been incredible. We are delighted to be partners with Carla and TCP, and are looking forward to future collaborations."

Tariq Al Sabir said of the experience: "I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to connect with so many thought leaders and world changers at TEDxMidAtlantic. I thank The Canales Project for inviting me, and I’m excited to be a warrior of the Army of Compassion."

"We couldn't have enjoyed our experience at TEDx more! To a person, everyone we interacted with was warm and enthusiastic. There was a palpable sense of shared purpose, a collective desire to create a more just and empathetic world. We were grateful for the chance to share words and music with this community, and proud to represent The Canales Project," shared Judah Adashi.

The Canales Project Launches "Finding Your Voice Project" in Tucson, Arizona

In Partnership With the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson | Using the Arts to Address Issues of Identity

New York, New York - Last week, from October 10-13, The Canales Project inaugurated its "Finding Your Voice" project presented in conjunction with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson.  The project, supported by a generous gift from Linda and Stuart Nelson of Tucson and New York City, brought together more than two dozen teenagers (all of whom are members of Boys & Girls Clubs), from across the greater Tucson area in an effort to use the arts to give them tools to help express and deal with the challenges they face associated with cultural divisions in our society.
Internationally known opera singer Carla Dirlikov Canales, founder and CEO of The Canales Project, and pianist Justin Snyder, led three days of intensive sessions in which the young people--hailing from across Tucson and its Clubhouses--systematically explored their common experiences and feelings and sought to help them express those feelings through music and song.  The session is the first in a series for the participants and is part of what will be a year-long program that will ultimately result in the production of a music video produced by and starring the students.
"It was an exceptionally moving experience," said Dirlikov Canales, "watching these students, many of whom did not know each other at first, gain the sense of trust that enabled them to express themselves openly.  When they did, they found they were not alone in many of the concerns they had and they began to work together at finding ways to translate their feelings into the lyrics that will be part of the song we collectively produce."   
The Canales Project has been in development of the "Finding Your Voice" initiative for several months with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson.  Laurie Wetterschneider, an Emeritus Board Member of the Boys & Girls Clubs who has been affiliated with the organization for 27 years and is the daughter of the Nelsons, said, "In the almost three decades that I have been a part of this amazing organization which is dedicated to serving children from the most at-risk populations in our community, I have never been more touched by a program's ability to not only educate and open the minds of our children, but to show them that someone like them has made a great career in the arts.  Carla is a one of a kind performer and human being and she should be very proud of this program!” Since the conclusion of the first workshop, Ms. Wetterschneider has worked with local residents to secure pianos for the local Boys & Girls Clubhouses to ensure the program participants are able to continue to work on the project on an on-going basis, with two pianos secured within a few days of the conclusion of the first session.
“This program aligns perfectly with our mission to provide young people in Tucson, especially those who need us most, with a clear path to reach their full potential and pursue their dreams. With this program, our youth have the opportunity to gain new pathways and tools to develop and feel confident through their voices. We are so grateful to the Nelsons and Ms. Dirlikov Canales for providing this incredible opportunity and for debuting it at BGCT,” said Debbie Wagner, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson.
Upcoming sessions of the program will take place throughout the 2016-2017 academic year and will culminate in the spring with the production of a video and a song that will be presented on local radio, YouTube, and other channels. 
The Finding Your Voice workshop was featured on KVOA, Tucson’s local news station. Watch the segment here:

The Canales Project and Founder Carla Dirlikov Canales Kick-Off Inaugural 2016–17 Season


Washington, D.C. – The Canales Project’s CEO and founder Carla Dirlikov Canales has completed a whirlwind kick-off to the 2016-2017 season.  On September 21 in New York City, she hosted the launch event for The Canales Project.  The next day she flew to China where she was the featured singer with the China National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Tan Dun at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beiing. She performed songs from the film scores Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and The Banquet, both composed by Tan Dun. As a heartfelt encore, she sang “I Love You, China”. All three songs were performed in Chinese. 

Earlier that same week, Dirlikov Canales was honored to be included in the New York Fashion Week show for Tracy Reese’s new spring collection. The idea behind the presentation was to highlight real women and their accomplishments, and to bring diversity and awareness to fashion. You can read more about the show here

When she returned from China, Dirlikov Canales turned her attention to the work of TCP’s new season.

On October 9–14, Dirlikov Canales will be launching the “Finding Your Voice” program with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tucson (BGCT). The first part of an ongoing program, Carla and the BGCT will lead a week long workshop designed to spark young people across Tucson to use music and storytelling to address their own personal challenges associated with issues of identity and cultural divisions. 

On October 21 and 22, Carla will be re-appearing with TEDxMidAtlantic to share the story of her journey over the past year, and to introduce the audience to four of The Canales Project’s artists. This event will take place in Washington, D.C. For more information, please go here.

From October 31–November 1, Dirlikov Canales will be co-directing a weeklong intensive seminar on cultural entrepreneurship titled “Music as a Catalyst for Change”, at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. For more information please visit this page

It was also just announced that Dirlikov Canales will be starting a two year fellowship with the Hermitage Artist Retreat.  Hermitage Fellows are a select group of America’s most significant and promising creative artists.  She will be attending her first set of meetings as part of this project in November.

Also in November, Dirlikov Canales will host the first of The Canales Project’s Between Two Worlds concerts on November 10.  This event will be presented in conjunction with the Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute as part of their Neighborhood Concert Series. Performers will include TCP artist-in-residence and poet Jacqueline Suskin, Oud player and entrepreneur Hadi Eldebek, guitarist Gabriel Morales, and violinist and YoungArts alumnus Kevin Hu. For more information, please visit this page.

For more information on The Canales Project, Carla Dirlikov Canales or The Canales Project’s artists or partners, please contact Maria Ory

Introducing The Canales Project


New York, New York - CEO and founder Carla Dirlikov Canales is pleased to announce the launch of The Canales Project (TCP), a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to give voice to issues of identity and culture through the arts and conversation. 

At a time when cultural tensions at home and abroad dominate the headlines, Dirlikov Canales seeks to harness the power of the arts and the talents of artists to help build bridges and promote understanding and healing. “Our goal,” she said, “is to help artists help communities in need of their special gifts, energy and commitment.”  

As the daughter of a Mexican mother and a Bulgarian father, Dirlikov Canales felt that she was born into a state of cultural confusion. Her life’s journey has brought her to the conclusion that cultural diversity is best understood when we start by celebrating what we have in common, and that nothing can do so with greater power than the arts. 

“I could not be more thrilled to be launching The Canales Project. Throughout my life, I have been checking the “other” box, and I came to realize that I am not alone. We must come together and celebrate our similarities rather than our differences, and it is my hope that we can lead the journey from “the other” to “the all,” Dirlikov Canales said. 

TCP’s inaugural concert series, “Between Two Worlds,” will delve into these ideas via music and interaction with artists who understand these divisions. These concerts will offer music from many traditions as well as conversations between the artists and the audience in which key themes will be explored.

In future years, The Canales Project will build on this effort with other initiatives that will tap the power of the arts to advocate for social progress and to give voice to those whose stories need to be heard.  Dirlikov Canales developed the project as a direct result of her work both as an opera singer and as an advocate. She is a Turnaround Artist for Turnaround Arts, a program of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, and has served for almost a decade as a State Department Cultural Envoy.


Perhaps most importantly, we could not achieve our goals without the commitment and collaboration of a wonderful group of partner organizations: 

  • Americans for the Arts
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson 
  • Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute
  • Creative Santa Fe 
  • Education Through Music
  • NAMM Foundation
  • National Sawdust
  • National YoungArts Foundation
  • New York Live Arts
  • TEDxMidAtlantic

Participating TCP Artists

TCP is pleased to announce the following artists, who will be participating in the inaugural “Between Two Worlds” concert series:

Artists-in-residence & Collaborators

Joining us on the journey through our inaugural concert series, TCP is excited to host two artists-in-residence – Jacqueline Suskin and Kurt Crowley. As artists-in-residence, they will have the opportunity to create content, share their stories, and encourage others to produce their own content as well. 

TCP is also proud to announce that Sheryl Winarick, immigration lawyer and founder of Hope Domino, will be joining The Canales Project as our Community Correspondent. 

The Creative Santa Fe Artist for Change Award

In partnership with Creative Santa Fe, The Canales Project will be awardingMariela Shaker, a violinist, with the Creative Santa Fe Artist for Change Award this year.  Mariela is a Syrian refugee who fled Aleppo and is currently pursuing her Masters’ degree at DePaul University.  

The Creative Santa Fe Artist for Change Award recognizes artists using the transformational power of the arts to: bring diverse communities together, stimulate discourse and awareness, ignite action, and inspire audiences to engage with some of our world’s most urgent issues.

We would like to thank the Rajeev Motwani Educational Commitment, which makes the One Plus One Initiative possible, giving TCP the opportunity to organize a program for young people for every public performance we do.

We would also like to thank Linda and Stuart Nelson for making the Finding Your Voice Project possible, in partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tucson.


Twitter: @TheCanalesProj



For more information or questions about The Canales Project, please contact Carla Dirlikov Canales ( or Maria Ory, Communications Consultant (

Visit TCP online: 


Announcing Global Cultural Leadership Summit in Abu Dhabi

Hello Friends,

I wanted to drop you a line to let you know about another project I am working on.  It is called TCP Ventures, LLC and it is the for-profit enterprise we have set up to do work in areas like cultural diplomacy, cultural entrepreneurship and some of my own arts projects.  It is my great pleasure to announce our first major project has just gotten underway.  It is called CultureSummit 2017, Abu Dhabi: The Global Cultural Leadership Summit.  It is an event we are doing in conjunction with theAbu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) and The FP Group, publishers of Foreign Policy Magazine.  

Next April, we will bring together top artists as well as leaders from government, museums, performing arts presenters, film, video, new media and other cultural organizations from around the world to discuss some of the most important next generation issues this community faces.  It will be unlike any other event of its kind and we could not be more proud to be playing a leading role in shaping it--as the curator of its cultural and arts content--and with me as a member of the four person steering committee overseeing the entire event.  It is a multi-year commitment and we very much hope to build this into a must-attend event for the people shaping global arts, culture, and media today.  Please take a look at the official press release below.

Warm regards,



2017 Event to Convene Government, Arts and Media Leaders to Address Emerging Challenges and Opportunities Associated with Culture in a Connected World

September 13, 2016 - Abu Dhabi, UAE—Abu Dhabi will be the site of a high-level international summit that will bring together leaders from the worlds of government, the arts and the media to address the role culture can play in addressing some of the great challenges of our time.  It will also explore how new technologies are changing the very nature of culture and cultural interactions worldwide with major consequences for education, our economies, politics and virtually every other dimension of our lives.

Announcing the event, HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), said, “This event underscores our commitment to culture and the arts as well as to exploring the next generation issues that are of importance to each of us in the UAE and to citizens of every country worldwide.”

The event will be hosted by TCA Abu Dhabi and presented in conjunction with The FP Group, publishers of Foreign Policy Magazine, and TCP Ventures, LLC, a producer of artistic ventures and an advisory firm focused on issues associated with the arts and culture.

“This event perfectly complements the other cultural priorities here in Abu Dhabi especially those in the Saadiyat Cultural District. It will share in its first year a common theme with them, identifying universal concepts and ideas that link us all worldwide.  And it will bring an exceptionally influential group of thinkers to Abu Dhabi for an event unlike any other anywhere,” Al Mubarak added.

HE Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs and Chairwoman of Media Zone Authority - Abu Dhabi and twofour54, commented: “Never before has there been an event dedicated to the role of global cultural leadership in world affairs. Abu Dhabi is a hub of cultural diversity, dialogue and exchange, which makes it the ideal place to welcome our international and regional friends and step up this important conversation. We believe that engaging both the regional and international community is crucial to achieving a future where coherence and tolerance are the new normal. I’m delighted to be part of this groundbreaking event.”

The summit will seek to bring together delegations (live and virtual) representing almost every country in the world to discuss common interests, create new collaborations and address in concrete ways challenges ranging from the preservation of cultural heritage to understanding the disruptions likely to be associated with emerging technologies, from bringing arts education to the young to finding new ways to finance the arts, from combating threats like extremism to developing public policies that promote creativity and social development.

David Rothkopf, CEO and Editor of the FP Group, said, “We are on the verge of a historical watershed, for the first time ever every person on the planet will be connected together thanks to new technology in a single global cultural ecosystem.  That offers the promise of greater understanding and also is perceived as threatening our unique cultural heritages.  How we grapple with those issues has profound consequences for the planet.”

Carla Dirlikov Canales, CEO of TCP Ventures said, “Since our focus is culture, a vital part of the meeting will be using the arts to illustrate key points, creating new collaborations and seeking to identify ways to mobilize the talents of the artistic community to help address the biggest problems we face worldwide.”

The event will take place from April 9-13 at Manarat Al Saadiyat on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi and at other selected cultural locations throughout the UAE.  For further information, see the attached overview document or contact: Maria Ory at The FP Group in Washington, DC at

Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
April 9-13, 2017



The Cultural Leadership Summit will convene the leaders of the world’s art, media and cultural policy communities for the first time ever to address their shared opportunities and challenges.   The event comes at a watershed moment in human history.  For the first time ever, we are just a few years away from every individual on the planet being connected in a single man-made system.  That system, the Internet, thanks to the advent and rapid dissemination of smart phone and computing technology, will enable the creation of a single global cultural ecosystem.  Whereas in the past, geography has determined the divides between cultures and thus led to both a richness of different perspectives and creative visions and idioms and at the same time has produced tensions that torment us to this day.

The Watershed: Dawn of a Single Global Cultural Ecosystem

The new environment will enable anyone anywhere to connect with anyone or everyone anywhere else instantly, at very low cost and with very high potential impact.  The opportunities it presents for communications and knitting together societies are profound.  Similarly, it is seen as presenting a threat to those identity-forming elements of culture many of our national, ethnic and religious systems see as foundational and defining.  We are confronted with a challenge between the promise of the universal and new and great challenges in preserving what makes us unique.

At the same time, it is also true that the arts communities of the world—like the scientific communities—are leading indicators of change nationally, regionally and globally.  They help drive changes that often establishment communities from government to the business world lag or resist.  They have helped drive massive global changes in views toward climate change, the role of women in society, the LGBT community, the nature of human rights and countless other issues.  With most citizens of the planet consuming via new media and traditional channels cultural products virtually through every waking hour (on average, Americans, for example, are consuming media products of one sort or another for almost 17 hours a day).  That means that the principle source of ideas, motivations, emotional drivers, and other factors in people’s lives—the foundations of their belief systems—are derived or shaped through these cultural conduits.  This creates a great opportunity for the arts and cultural organizations to do good and to lead—and it creates great opportunities for abuse.  

The Mission

The Cultural Leadership Summit has been conceived to create a forum to address these issues—but also to convene a group of leaders who can take action on an agenda they shape to produce the positive change these developments are making possible.


The attendees at the event will be drawn from almost every country on the planet (the UAE is literally at the center of the modern world—with two-thirds of the world’s population within an eight hour flight of Dubai or Abu Dhabi).  Regional and national balance will also be important.  They will also be drawn from the entire range of disciplines shaping global cultural outcomes.  This will include ministers of culture and public policy officials, artists of every type, administrative leaders from arts institutions, media leaders, technologists, philanthropists and other thought leaders.  A special effort will be made to include both established leaders and those who are the emerging leaders of tomorrow and half the participants will be drawn from the under-40 community.   

Format, Themes and Philosophy

The format of the event will be designed to promote collaborations that might not have otherwise taken place.  It will also include the creation of new art and, at the same time, explorations into how new technological developments will shape the cultural ecosystem that is now coming into focus.  Plenary sessions will bring the whole group together to hear from and see examples of what is working, what is new, and what challenges are emerging.  Workshops will present an opportunity to identify solutions.  

The future and “arts with purpose” will be themes that are interwoven throughout every program element.

The entire event will be built around a Q-A-A structure: we will begin by trying to frame the questions we should be asking, then focus on identifying the best answers to those questions and then, importantly, define the actions the group should take to produce the best possible outcomes.  Specific initiatives will be sought and concrete steps announced at the event—and on-going progress throughout each year, between annual summits, will be monitored and sought.

A Central Focus on Technology and the Future

New technological platforms—from an event app to a full range of interactive web-based community and content management features—will be created to prepare participants for the event, to enable their interaction at the event and to keep them in contact, up-to-date and working together throughout the year.

Exhibits and workshops during the event will present arts innovation from around the world—and make the event literally the cultural nerve center of the planet during its duration by creating a series of “virtual” satellite events during the course of the program linking participants to communities worldwide, especially those of the young and of disadvantages or challenged communities.

The Faculty and Honorees

The faculty for the event will be experienced, well-known, world-class artists and cultural leaders who will have shaped the program and who will chair sessions and help guide them to productive conclusions.  The format will enable this faculty to meet daily and to shape the following day’s program based on the findings and feelings of the preceding day’s outcomes.  This faculty will also present their own views and, where appropriate, performances or art projects linked to the themes of the program.

Other arts components of the event will include performances commissioned with 3-5 “artists in residence” and developed in an “arts incubator” that will create new collaborative combinations among artists under 40.   We will also recognize the achievements of five “Cultural Diplomats of the Year” for artists, administrators and public policy makers who have used culture to address and help solve global problems or create new opportunities for cross-border communities.


The event will be hosted by the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority and presented in conjunction with The FP Group, publishers of Foreign Policy Magazine, and TCP Ventures, LLC, an active producer of artistic ventures and an advisory firm focused on issues associated with arts, culture, cultural diplomacy and cultural entrepreneurship.