Patrick Kabanda, a native of Uganda, has been passionate about music since his childhood, when he first heard the pipe organ at Namirembe Cathedral in Kampala. As a child he began to understand how the arts could help reconcile the conflicts that lay behind hostilities, generate income, and improve people’s livelihoods. He learned the piano and the organ from cathedral organists in Uganda who saw his fascination, and continued to teach himself copying music scores by hand, playing by ear, composing, and practicing the art of improvisation. With that background, Kabanda has pursued a career linking music and international affairs. He earned his Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy degree at The Fletcher School at Tufts University with a thesis that outlined policy measures that could advance the value of African music in the international trade in services.
Kabanda is currently consulting for the Office of the Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at the World Bank. In this assignment, he is writing a book on the role of the performing arts in development — the book is based on his working paper The Creative Wealth of Nations: How the Performing Arts Can Advance Development and Human Progress, which was published with a Foreword by Amartya Sen, a Nobel Laureate and Professor of economics and philosophy at Harvard. Kabanda earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s of Music degrees on scholarship at The Juilliard School in New York City. At Juilliard, he was awarded the 2003 William Schuman Prize for outstanding achievement and leadership in music and the 2001 Daniel and Nina Carasso Prize. He made his European debut in 2003 at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. At the invitation of London’s South African High Commission, he returned there in 2004 to perform with other artists in celebration of the tenth anniversary of South Africa’s Independence. He has performed around the world and engaged policy makers and young people around the intersection of music, international affairs, and development.