Menu West-Eastern Divan Orchestra

  • Orchestra of Mideast Musicians Builds Bridges for Peace

Orchestra of Mideast Musicians Builds Bridges for Peace

“It is not easy to come face to face with human beings you normally grow up viewing or thinking of as your enemy,” [Palestine born violinist Tyme] Khleifi said. “Just confronting that and reckoning with it and coming to terms with it is a huge thing, and so that is why actually every member of the orchestra, the people who decide to come back, are very courageous for doing so and for making that decision.”

Another member of the orchestra, Israeli violinist Guy Braunstein, said it is naive to think music can bring peace, but he said it can break down barriers among communities.

“The acceptance of what we do with the instruments is important,” he said. “It should be escorted by the acceptance that we are equal, with and without the instruments.”

Read the article by The Voice of America.

Read More >

  • BBC News: Uniting Arabs, Israelis
    Manuel Vaca

BBC News: Uniting Arabs, Israelis

“Here we are, over five years later, and the situation in the Middle East is somehow – unimaginably – worse.

And yet the members of the West-Eastern Divan meet on, play on and through their courage in the face of increasing hostility at home – not a single government represented by the orchestra’s members gives them its blessing – they are the living, breathing proof of a model in which Arabs and Israelis do come together.

It isn’t perfect: there is plenty of disagreement within its ranks; but nor is it the product of some kind of utopian idealistic vision. Since the orchestra’s almost accidental inception fifteen years ago, hundreds of Arabs and Israelis have participated, and their daily discussions and debates about the conflict and the situation in the Middle East are as fundamental to their programme as the music rehearsals and concerts.”

Clemency Burton-Hill, who has toured and performed with the Divan, profiles the orchestra for BBC News. Read the article.


Read More >

  • NY Times: Arabs and Israelis Find Common Ground Under a Baton
    Monika Ritterhaus

New York Times: Arabs and Israelis Find Common Ground Under a Baton

Mr. Barenboim and his tireless charges offered five other encores in sparkling accounts: four numbers from Bizet’s “Carmen” and a tango they had just picked up in Argentina. A brilliant concert on the surface.

And underneath, something more. “This is the only place in the world where an Israeli or an Arab does something important,” Mr. Barenboim said, referring to the solos within the orchestra, “and the others support him. It is another way of thinking for the majority in the region.”

Jim Oestreich of The New York Times profiles and reviews the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and its co-founder Daniel Barenboim.

Read the article here.

Read More >

  • Radio France Interview

Radio France Interview

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.

Read More >