HRDs being interviewed by journalists


Murdered activists cross the ocean for the first time – Great success for The Thailand HRDs – For those why died trying Concert

7 August 2018

07/08/2018 – The music piece The Thailand HRDs, by Toronto composer Frank Horvat & inspired by the photo essay For Those Who Died Trying, by photographer Luke Duggleby, was played as a Premiere concert yesterday 06 August 2018 in Toronto, Canada by the world-renowned Mivos Quartet. Part concert, part photo exhibit, and memorial to these victims of violence, this unique event took place at the Gathering Hall in Toronto’s Mount Pleasant Cemetery and literally conquered its audience.

From our perspective, the actual concert went perfectly. Musically, Mivos performed the pieces with such skill and emotion. They are very moved by the project. Hearing each 2-minute piece while looking at the corresponding photo was a true experience. The audience was so quiet and so attentive during the whole performance. People afterward came up to tell Frank how much the music and photos moved them“, says Lisa Horvat, Frank Horvat’s manager.

Many people in the audience addressed messages to the composer like this one: “So glad you invited me to the premiere. It was stunning; so imaginative, creative, and thought-provoking. The presentation was perfect. The quartet gave an excellent performance. Thanks for an inspiring concert. I feel invigorated.

For those who died trying – The Thailand HRDs is a unique collaboration between Protection International, a Thai-based photographer, Canadian Composer, and NYC String Quartet.

For Those Who Died Trying‘, the initial photo exhibition by photographer Luke Duggleby, presents photographs of 37 murdered or abducted human rights defenders in Thailand by placing a portrait of the victim (following a Buddhist tradition), when possible at the exact place where they were murdered or went missing. “We wanted this photo exhibition to expose the situation of human rights defenders in Thailand and support their legitimate quest for justice,” said Liliana De Marco Coenen, Executive Director of Protection International.

The music piece Thailand HRDs presents each photo in a 2-minute classical string-quartet composition utilizing just the musical pitches/letters found in the names of each victim – implanting their unique musical DNA in every piece. “This music is not intended to be purely melancholic but has a tinge of defiance so the memory of these heroes lives on and will hopefully spur listeners to find their inner activist and fight for what they feel is important in this world,” explains Frank Horvat, the composer.

In the last 20 years, more than 59 Thai environmental activists and Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) have been murdered or have been abducted. Across the country, villagers who have simply been trying to protect their homes and their communities have been abducted or shot dead. Very few charges have ever been laid against the perpetrators of any of these crimes.

It is vital, for the victims and the families, that their fight and their death should not be forgotten and left unrecognized,” commented Luke Duggleby, the photographer.

These two art projects by Protection International look to remember those who died defending human rights and protecting the environment and helping make it harder for the perpetrators to remain under the radar and continue this cycle of violence. Enforced disappearance is still a reality in modern Thai society. Recognizing those who died trying as HRDs and a better administration of justice are critical steps to end these killings.

As performers of contemporary works, it is important to us to utilize the power of music to shed light on meaningful issues affecting the world today.” – MIVOS Quartet

“Collaborating with artists like Luke and Frank has been inspiring and moving for us and we believe the public greatly enjoyed the performance proposed by the excellent MIVOS Quartet. We hope to see more artists following their path and join human rights defenders in their struggles” concluded Liliana De Marco.

This event would not have been possible without the support of the Mount Pleasant Funeral Centre, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Ontario Arts Foundation.


For Those Who Died Trying

World Premiere Concert & Photo Exhibit

Monday, August 6 at 5 pm

Gathering Hall

Mount Pleasant Cemetery

375 Mount Pleasant Rd.

FREE Admission


  • New York Times Article:

    The silent portraits, looking small and vulnerable in their settings…looking back at the viewer from the scene of their last terrifying moments.” – The New York Times

  • Listen to the radio interview (29:20) by Bee Pranom from Protection International and composer Frank Horvat on Canadian Radio CIUT 89.5 FM on Friday 3 August at 11:30 am Toronto time, to talk about Mivos Quartet‘s world premiere concert For Those Who Died Trying, taking place on Monday 6 August at 5:00 pm in the Gathering Hall Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto, Canada.

About PROTECTION INTERNATIONAL: International non-profit organization that provides protection strategies and tools for security management to human rights defenders who are at risk.

About FRANK HORVAT: One of the most inventive songwriters to come out of the contemporary scene in Canada (WholeNote Magazine), this award-winning Toronto-based composer’s music explores a wide array of themes from love to social justice issues.

About LUKE DUGGLEBY: An award-winning British freelance photographer who has been based in Asia for about 15 years shooting documentary, portraiture, and editorial assignments for media, corporate, and NGO clients including National Geographic, Al Jazeera, TIME, New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.

About MIVOS QUARET: This New York Quartet has earned a reputation as one of America’s most daring and ferocious new-music ensembles (The Chicago Reader) and is active in performing works of contemporary composers and presenting new music to diverse audiences all across the world. While in Toronto they will be recording The Thailand HRDs for release in December 2018 on United Nations’ International Human Rights Day.

To schedule interviews or for more information please contact:

  • Frank Horvat’s manager: Lisa [at]

Photographs: by Jeremy Sale for Protection International.