UNESCO's City of Music programme is part of the wider Creative Cities Network.

The Network launched in 2004, and has member cities in seven creative fields. The other fields are: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, and Media Arts.[1]

Criteria for Cities of Music

Korenlei and Graslei, Ghent, Belgium

To be approved as a City of Music, cities need to meet a number of criteria set by UNESCO.[2]

Designated UNESCO Cities of Music share similar characteristics:

  • recognised centres of musical creation and activity
  • experience in hosting music festivals and events at a national or international level
  • promotion of the music industry in all its forms
  • music schools, conservatories, academies, and higher education institutions specialised in music
  • informal structures for music education, including amateur choirs and orchestras
  • domestic or international platforms dedicated to particular genres of music and/or music from other countries
  • cultural spaces suited for practicing and listening to music, e.g. open-air auditoriums.

About the cities

In March 2006, Seville was designated as the first City of Music. Bologna was named approximately two months later.[3]

Seville has a "legendary Flamenco scene," and UNESCO lists Flamenco as an "intangible cultural heritage."[4]

Hamamatsu, Japan, is the founding city of musical instrument companies Yamaha, Kawai, and Roland.[5]

Liverpool—"the city that spawned The Beatles," earned its designation due to music's "place in the heart of the city's life." UNESCO also noted a "clearly defined" music, education, and skills strategy for young people.[6]

Idanha-a-Nova "lives by the rhythm of music;" Ghent is a "city full of culture," in Belgium; and Auckland is the "beating heart of New Zealand's music industry."[7][8][9]

Varanasi, India, is "sacred, soulful, spectacular," and Daegu is a "pleasant and progressive place."[10][11][12]

Cities of Music

The Cavern Club, Liverpool, England

As of 2019, forty-seven Cities of Music have been designated by UNESCO.

Nineteen of the participating cities are European, ten are Asian and Middle Eastern. South America and North America each have six; Africa has four; and two have been designated in Oceania.

Seven countries have two member cities. Portugal and Colombia are the only countries to have three member cities

The Cities of Music are:

See also