The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra will return to Berlin once again this summer for their annual Waldbühnenkonzert, a magnificent open-air performance that marks the orchestra’s 15th anniversary. This year’s forest stage concert opens with Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27, KV 595, featuring Divan co-founder Daniel Barenboim as conductor and soloist. Ravel’s Rhapsodie espagnole, Alborada del gracioso, Pavane pour une infante défunte, and Boléro close out the performance.
2014 Summer Workshop & Tour highlighted by Buenos Aires residency, European tour, and world premieres
The musicians of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra will come together this August for their annual workshop & summer concerts: a residency at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, a tour to major music festivals in Europe, Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde in concert (Act II and Liebestod), and the world premiere performances of two new works by Syrian-born composer Kareem Roustom and Israeli composer Ayal Adler.
Founded in 1999 by pianist/conductor Daniel Barenboim and the Palestinian author/scholar Edward Said, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra is comprised of musicians from Palestine, Israel, and other Arab countries – as well as musicians from Spain and Germany.
In joining together to perform, the orchestra reaffirms its commitment to promote mutual understanding, non-violence, and reconciliation through music.
Continuing on Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority’s (TCA Abu Dhabi) Encounters between East and West performances that commenced with a celebration of Richard Wagner in December, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra will debut will debut in the UAE on 23 January 2014 at Emirates Palace.
This month the musicians of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra reunite for concerts led by Daniel Barenboim in Seville (January 19) and Cádiz (January 21). Their first performance together this year takes place on January 19, when the Divan co-founder conducts the Orchestra in a performance of the Second Act of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde at the Teatro de la Maestranza. Two days later in Cádiz, Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan perform Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra at the city’s Gran Teatro Falla. The January 21 concert commemorates the ensemble’s co-founder, the late Palestinian author and scholar Edward Said, who passed away ten years ago.
On December 1, Daniel Barenboim was awarded the Marion Dönhoff Prize, awarded annually to individuals who foster international relations through cultural initiatives. Barenboim was chosen as the 2013 recipient for his work with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which he founded in 1999 with Edward Said.
The Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel awarded Daniel Barenboim with an honorary doctorate on 4 November, 2013.
I am deeply grateful to all the members of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Israelis, Palestinians and other Arabs, for participating with me in this unique adventure that defies all accepted norms of political thinking and is willing to spare itself no effort in order to achieve the highest degree of musical excellence paired with the acceptance and participation of the other.
Read the full text of Barenboim’s keynote address.
In this installment of the Voices of the Divan video series, we ask the musicians what song they last listened to outside of work. Read more to watch the episode.
Pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim, co-founder of the West-Eastern Divan, will receive the Freedom Award of Freie Universität Berlin in an October 23, 2013 ceremony that will include performances by two former members of the West-Eastern Divan: Israeli violinist Guy Braunstein (former concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic) and Israeli-Palestinian pianist Saleem Abboud Ashkar. The Freedom Award honors persons who have advanced freedom in a political, social, or academic context.
Though it has now been ten years since Edward Said’s untimely passing, his legacy to the orchestra lives on in the ensemble’s concerts and workshops, its partner projects, and in the lives and communities of its musicians worldwide. We invite you to explore his writings and to attend the forthcoming Edward W. Said Memorial Lecture at Columbia University (October 17) and “Palestine and the Public Intellectual: Honoring Edward Said” (October 30). Read more for details.
In this new installment of the Voices of the Divan video series, musicians of the orchestra share personal stories of how they came to make music. Read more to watch.
The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra’s annual concert at the Waldbühne Berlin will take place 24 August, 2014.
Orchestra co-founder Daniel Barenboim will lead the orchestra in a program comprising Mozart’s overture to Le nozze di Figaro and Concerto for Two Pianos & Orchestra No.10 in E-flat Major, KV 365. The Orchestra and Barenboim will also perform Ravel’s Rhapsodie espagnole, Alborada del gracioso, Pavane pour une infante défunte, and Boléro.
Edward Said, co-founder of the West Eastern Divan Orchestra, will be remembered at an event at Columbia University on September 23.
Captured in a live performance at the Opéra de Marseille on 13 August, 2013, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra’s concert of Verdi’s overtures to Les vêpres siciliennes and La forza del destino, as well as the composer’s preludes to Acts I and III of La traviata and Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique is available for streaming through February 24 on France TV’s Culturebox. Enjoy the concert here.
While the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra was on tour in Europe in summer 2013, Radio France spoke with four of its musicians — Syrian violinist Nouras Hanana, Palestinian clarinetist Jussef Eisa, Israeli violinist Rachel Abitan, and Lebanese violinist Georges Yammine — and its co-founder Daniel Barenboim about the ensemble’s efforts to promote understanding through music. Click here to watch all five interviews.
Violinist Tyme Khleifi shares her perspective on Verdi, whose Prelude from Act 1 and 3 of La traviata and Ouverture from La forza del destino feature on the program of the Waldbühnenkonzert, 25 August.
Verdi plays a game with our expectations, a game that we can only appreciate in hindsight.
Violinist Asaf Levy shares his perspective on Wagner, whose music will be performed at the Waldbühnenkonzert, 25 August.
The two pieces we will play at the Waldbühne tonight capture perfectly the essence of this struggle. They reveal the unique difficulty in “grasping” Richard Wagner. They expose the polarity of his work as much as the polarity of his effect.