The first coast to coast US Tour of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and Daniel Barenboim concluded last night in Los Angeles. The orchestra returned to the US for the first time after a Beethoven symphony cycle in January 2013 for five performances, November 5 – 11, 2018. The Divan performed Richard Strauss’s “Don Quixote” – with the Iranian cellist Kian Soltani and the Israeli violist Miriam Manasherov as soloists – and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.
The tour opened at Chicago’s Symphony Center (presented by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra), followed by a performance at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. The Divan returned to Carnegie Hall in New York for a concert which was broadcasted by WQXR and live streamed on medici.tv and carried on Facebook Live – watched by 100.000 viewers all over the world, before traveling to the West Coast for two more concerts at Cal Performances’ Zellerbach Hall at UC Berkeley, and at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles (presented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association).
The concerts were widely recognized both by audiences as well as US Media. Michael Cooper of the New York Times published with the title “Orchestra That Bridges Mideast Divide Tours a Fractured U.S.: The group’s deceptively simple premise — that getting musicians from groups that have been opposed for decades to play together would foster understanding — seems even more ambitious in this polarized age. These musicians from different sides of the Middle East divide are visiting a United States riven by tribalism and racial animosity, and reeling from the anti-Semitic killing of 11 at a Pittsburgh synagogue and the spate of pipe bombs mailed to prominent critics of President Trump.” In the Los Angeles Times, Mark Swed, the Classical Music Critic, wrote: “This may sound grandiose, but unless I am missing something, the Divan is the best orchestra and the most significant cultural orchestra to have yet performed in Los Angeles”.
„The US-Tour of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and Daniel Barenboim in November 2018 was part of the initiative »Wunderbar together – Germany and the US«, an initiative funded by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, implemented by the Goethe Institut and supported by the Federation of German Industries (BDI).”