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.
Violinist Nabih Bulos shares his perspective on Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, which concludes the Waldbühnenkonzert on 25 August.
The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra will give the world premieres of Que la lumìere soit by Jordanian composer Saed Haddad and At the Fringe of Our Gaze by Israeli composer Chaya Czernowin at the Lucerne Festival. UNITEL CLASSICA will broadcast the 18 August concert at 20:15.
In order to bring the orchestra into my world I decided to start from MUSIC, or what we usually think about as MUSIC, with melodies, harmonies, counterpoint, etc., and then gradually stop the MUSIC, peelings its layers away so that one suddenly faces what is underneath the MUSIC, what is the undercurrent moving in the air on which “music” rides, which is where my music really starts.
In this sense, the piece is really trying to make the foreign familiar.
Listeners worldwide can join the audience in Marseille thanks to two live broadcasts. Radio France airs the orchestra’s August 12 concert live, beginning at 21:00 CEST. The following day, CultureBox will webcast the West-Eastern Divan’s August 13 performance at the Opéra de Marseille at 19:00 CEST.