Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Date of Graduation

Spring 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


School of Music


Foster Beyers


The purpose of this thesis was to examine the work of two Israeli ensembles that bring diverse musicians together through music and dialogue. Dialogue is a key tool for transforming conflict and building peace that hinges on critical, empathetic listening.[1] Music ensembles, with their opportunities for participants to practice listening, are contexts in which participants and instructors can learn how to communicate and engage in dialogue to improve interpersonal relationships in pursuit of peace.

The Polyphony Foundation and the Jerusalem Youth Chorus bring Arab and Jewish youth together in Israel to make music and practice dialogue. This thesis examines the techniques, programs, structures, and missions of these groups to illustrate how they use music and dialogue to promote understanding and empathy. Qualitative data from interviews conducted with members of both the Polyphony Foundation and the Jerusalem Youth Chorus are presented within a peacebuilding framework.

Key findings from the literature review and field research speak to dialogue and empathy as existing at the heart of conflict transformation and the ways in which they may be enhanced through music-making. Application of this research can be used by ensemble directors to incorporate dialogue, listening, and empathy to the ensemble classroom. Implementation of these principles into higher education curricula may also follow the growth-trend of literature on music and conflict transformation. Both of these areas of application can equip musicians and leaders to create ways of using music and dialogue to transform conflict within their own lives.

[1] John Paul Lederach, The Little Book of Conflict Transformation (Intercourse, PA: Good Books, 2003), 21.



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