DANIEL BARENBOIM and the WEST-EASTERN DIVAN ORCHESTRA RETURN TO THE US, NOVEMBER 5 – 11, 2018
ISRAELI, PALESTINIAN and MULTI-NATIONAL ARAB MUSICIANS EMBRACE THE PHILOSOPHY #EqualInMusic
Chicago, Symphony Center Washington D.C., The Kennedy Center New York, Carnegie Hall Berkeley, Zellerbach Hall, Cal Performances Los Angeles, Walt Disney Concert Hall
R. Strauss: “Don Quixote” – Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 Iranian Cellist Kian Soltani and Israeli Violist Miriam Manasherov
CBS 60 MINUTES REPORT FROM RAMALLAH and BERLIN On the WORK of DANIEL BARENBOIM with the WEST-EASTERN DIVAN ORCHESTRA and the BARENBOIM-SAID AKADEMIE AIRED APRIL 1
Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra return to the US for five performances, Coast to Coast, November 5 – 11, 2018. The Divan will perform R. Strauss’s “Don Quixote” – with the Iranian cellist Kian Soltani and the Israeli violist Miriam Manasherov stepping forward from the orchestra to play the solo parts – and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.
The tour will open at Chicago’s Symphony Center (presented by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra), followed by a performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. The Divan will return to Carnegie Hall in New York, before traveling to the West Coast for concerts at Cal Performances’ Zellerbach Hall at UC Berkeley, and at Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles (presented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association).
On Sunday, April 1, 2018, CBS 60 Minutes aired a report taped in Ramallah, in the West Bank, and in Berlin, Germany, on the work of Daniel Barenboim at the Barenboim-Said Music Center, Ramallah, the Barenboim-Said Akademie, Berlin, and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. The Akademie, an accredited music conservatory brings together young musicians from the Middle East, including Iran, Israel, Syria, Turkey and North Africa, to be educated in the humanistic tradition of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.
The 2018 US tour of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra is their first visit to the US in more than five years, after performing the Beethoven cycle at Carnegie Hall in January 2013, with additional performances in Boston and Providence.
About the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra has been a significant presence in the international music world for almost 20 years. In 1999, Daniel Barenboim and the late Palestinian literary scholar Edward Said created a workshop for young musicians from Israel, Palestine and several Arab countries to promote coexistence and intercultural dialogue. They named the orchestra after Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s collection of poems entitled “West-Eastern Divan,” a central work for the development of the concept of world culture.
The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra’s first sessions took place in Weimar and Chicago. An equal number of Israeli and Arab musicians including musicians from Turkey and Iran form the base of the orchestra, together with a group of Spanish members. They meet each summer for a workshop, where rehearsals are complemented by lectures and discussions and followed by an international concert tour.
The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra has proved time and again that music can break down barriers previously considered insurmountable. The only political aspect that prevails in the work of the Divan is the conviction that there is no military solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, and that the destinies of Israelis and Palestinians are inextricably linked. Through its work and existence, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra demonstrates that bridges can be built to encourage people to listen to the narrative of the other. While music alone cannot resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, it grants the individual the right and obligation to express him/herself fully while listening to his/her neighbour. Based on this notion of equality, co-operation and justice for all, the orchestra represents an alternative model to the current situation in the Middle East.
The Orchestra’s repertoire extends beyond symphonic works to opera and chamber music performances. Concert highlights have included performances at the most prestigious venues in Europe, Asia and the Americas. While the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra has become a regular guest at the main international music festivals in Europe, one of its goals is to perform in the home countries of its members. Concerts in Rabat, Doha, Abu Dhabi and the emblematic concert in Ramallah in 2005 have been steps towards fulfilling this aspiration. The orchestra has also performed at the United Nations: in December 2006 in honour of Secretary General Kofi Annan at the General Assembly in New York and in October 2015 for the first time at the UN headquarters in Geneva. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon named Daniel Barenboim UN Messenger of Peace in September 2007 and designated the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra as a United Nations Global Advocate for Cultural Understanding in February 2016. The WestEastern Divan Orchestra has released a number of highly acclaimed CDs/DVDs.
The most recent addition to Barenboim-Said projects is the Barenboim-Said Akademie, Berlin. Edward Said and Daniel Barenboim consider music to be an integral part of society. Daniel Barenboim has written and lectured widely on the subject of Education Through Music rather than mere music education (cf. his 2006 Norton Lectures at Harvard University, expanded into the Book Everything is Connected, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2008). Since 2015, talented young musicians from the Middle East also study at the Barenboim-Said Akademie in Berlin. In the fall of 2016, this university for Music and the Humanities housed in the renovated former stage depot of the State Opera started enrolling up to 90 students in a four-year bachelor program. Also housed in the same building as the Akademie is the Frank Gehry-designed Pierre Boulez Saal that enriches Berlin’s musical life, started in March 2017.