Menu West-Eastern Divan Orchestra



Joint Statement on Current Events in Israel/Palestine

We are deeply saddened and concerned by the news reaching us from Israel/Palestine and share the worries of our members. During these trying times, we must stress the importance of the art of listening. Listening skills are learnt and perfected by playing in the orchestra. We must remember how important it is to apply what we learn on stage to other aspects of our lives as well. To quote Schopenhauer, “Nothing will bring us back to the path of justice so readily as the mental picture of the trouble, grief, and lamentation of the loser.” In this conflict, both sides are losers. 
The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra is a community that is built on trust, respect, empathy, and a culture of listening and understanding. These values are the core of our work together. That is why the Divan is a beacon of hope for all.

Daniel Barenboim & Mariam C. Said

Read More >



  • Summer Tour Celebrates Divan at 15
  • Summer Tour Celebrates Divan at 15
    © Monika Ritterhaus
  • Summer Tour Celebrates Divan at 15
    Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires

Summer workshop & tour celebrates Divan at 15 with Buenos Aires residency, European festivals and world premieres

In less than one month, the members of the West-Eastern Divan reunite in Buenos Aires for a residency at the city’s iconic Teatro Colón, the first of five cities the orchestra travels to on their 2014 summer tour. In addition to their annual workshop, which this year takes place in the Argentinian capital, the West-Eastern Divan performs at the Teatro Colón in a series of concerts–highlighted this season by esteemed guest artists and two world premieres–before setting out to the Lucerne Festival, BBC Proms, and Salzburg Festival. The Divan’s summer tour culminates once again at the Waldbühne Berlin, which hosts their spectacular concert on August 24.

Explore the summer concerts & residency here.

Founded 15 years ago 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.

Click “read more” to learn more about this summer’s tour.

Read More >



  • Join us for the Waldbühnenzkonert

Das Waldbühnenkonzert features Ravel’s Boléro and Barenboim as pianist & conductor

Join the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and Daniel Barenboim for this summer’s Waldbühne Berlin concert, the finale to their 2014 tour. The open-air concert sees Barenboim conducting and soloing with the Divan in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27 in B-flat Major, KV 595. The Divan also perform Ravel’s Rhapsodie espagnoleAlborada del graciosoPavane pour une infante défunte, and BoléroPurchase tickets here.

Read More >

  • Vacancies and auditions
    Photo © Monika Ritterhaus

Vacancies and auditions

While the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra currently has no vacancies for summer 2014, we invite interested musicians to submit recent audio and visual recordings as audition material. Applicants will be contacted directly in the case of cancellations or immediate vacancies. All materials will be kept on file for consideration for the 2015 workshop and tour.

Read More >

  • Listen online: Edward Said Memorial Lecture

Edward Said Memorial Lecture 2014

Renowned Palestinian lawyer and writer Raja Shehadeh delivered this year’s Edward Said Memorial Lecture titled “Is There a Language of Peace?” earlier this spring at the British Museum and last fall at Columbia University, where the West-Eastern Divan co-founder held the preeminent position of University Professor of English and Comparative Literature. The London lecture is now available to listen to streaming online.

Listen to it here.

Read More >


  • Barenboim-Said Akademie begins construction
    From left: Daniel Barenboim, Monika Grütters, Michael Naumann
  • Barenboim-Said Akademie begins construction
    Pierre Boulez Concert Hall designed by Frank Gehry

Barenboim-Said Akademie begins construction

A new, unique music academy is taking shape in Berlin: Starting in the fall of 2016, gifted young students will embark upon a new course of study. In addition to musical instruction, the Barenboim-Said Akademie will include a core curriculum in music and the history of thought. The pedagogic and musical leadership will be provided by Daniel Barenboim. The renovation of the former stage depot of the Berlin State Opera on Französische Straße began today, May 6, 2014.

The idea of the Academy is deeply rooted in the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, founded in Weimar in 1999 by Daniel Barenboim and the Palestinian-American academic and critic Edward W. Said.

The ensemble consists of equal numbers of young Israeli and Arab musicians who, through their shared music making, individually advocate for peaceful coexistence. “Perhaps the Academy is best understood as an unusual attempt to further, through the means of music and thought, a kind of human development that leads to mutual understanding“, said the Academy’s founder Daniel Barenboim in Berlin on the occasion of the Academy’s groundbreaking.

Read More >

  • Composers spotlight: Ayal Adler and Kareem Roustom
    Kareem Roustom (L) Ayal Adler (R)
  • Composers spotlight: Ayal Adler and Kareem Roustom

Composers spotlight: Ayal Adler and Kareem Roustom

This summer the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra will premiere and tour two new commissions: Ramal for orchestra by Syrian-born composer Kareem Roustom, and Resonating Sounds for large orchestra by Israeli composer Ayal Adler. Both composers introduce their works in program notes reprinted here for you to read.

Read More >

  • Returning to BBC Proms with UK premieres

Divan returns to BBC Proms with UK premieres

As part of their 2014 summer tour, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra will return to the BBC Proms, the British Festival announced today. On August 20, 2014 at Royal Albert Hall, the Divan, led by Daniel Barenboim, performs a concert featuring the UK premieres of Kareem Roustom’s Ramal and Ayal Adler’s Resonating Sounds — two works specially commissioned for this year’s tour. Mozart’s Overture to Le nozze di Figaro opens the program, which also includes Ravel’s Rapsodie espagnoleAlborada del graciosoPavane pour une infante défunte, and BoléroReserve tickets here.

Read More >

  • “Wagner & Ideology: Barenboim & Said in Conversation”

"Wagner & Ideology: Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said in Conversation"

This summer the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra performs Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde (Act II, Prelude & Liebestod) in a series of concerts at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires and on tour at major European festivals. The following is an edited conversation about Wagner between the Divan’s co-founders Edward Said and Daniel Barenboim at Columbia University. The conversation appears in full in the Summer 1998 issue of Raritan, a quarterly publication of Rutgers University.

Read More >


  • Waldbühnenkonzert celebrates 15 years of West-Eastern Divan

Waldbühnenkonzert celebrates 15 years of West-Eastern Divan

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 espagnoleAlborada del graciosoPavane pour une infante défunte, and Boléro close out the performance.

Purchase tickets to the performance.

Read More >


  • Announcing the 2014 Summer Workshop & Tour
    Photo © Monika Ritterhaus
  • Announcing the 2014 Summer Workshop & Tour
    Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires
  • Announcing the 2014 Summer Workshop & Tour
    Ayal Adler
  • Announcing the 2014 Summer Workshop & Tour
    Kareem Roustom

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.

Explore the summer concerts & residency here.

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.

Read More >


  • In Pictures: January Tour 2014
    A representative from the UAE Ministry of Culture visits with the orchestra
  • In Pictures: January Tour 2014
    Arriving in Abu Dhabi
  • In Pictures: January Tour 2014
    Mariam Said greets UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
  • In Pictures: January Tour 2014
    Act II from Tristan und Isolde in Cádiz
  • In Pictures: January Tour 2014
    Cello sectional rehearsal
  • In Pictures: January Tour 2014
    Rehearsal break
  • In Pictures: January Tour 2014
    Rehearsal break
  • In Pictures: January Tour 2014
  • In Pictures: January Tour 2014

In Pictures: January Tour 2014

In January 2014, the musicians of the West-Eastern Divan reunited in Spain to prepare for concerts in Seville, Cádiz, and Abu Dhabi – the orchestra’s debut in the United Arab Emirates.

Photographs by Manuel Vaca.

Read More >


  • January 2014 concerts announced
    Photo © Monika Ritterhaus

West-Eastern Divan reunites for concerts in Spain this January

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.

Read More >