Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra will salute H.H. Pope Benedict XVI with a private concert on July 11, his saint’s day. St. Benedict is one of the patrons of Europe, which lends yet another shade of meaning to the event in these turbulent times.
The concert will take place in the historic Palazzo Pontificio in Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer residence near Rome. The programme will feature works by Ludwig van Beethoven, whose music will be the focal point of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra’s summer tour. With the 5th and the 6th symphonies, the WEDO will rise to this festive occasion.
Since the earliest day of his papacy, Pope Benedict XVI has promoted active dialogue between Jews, Christians and Muslims, the so-called Abrahamite religions sharing many historical roots and an origin in the Middle East. That message of an exchange based on mutual respect is very much in harmony with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, whose members this year will come from Israel, Palestine, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Algeria, Tunisia, Iran, Turkey and Spain. Every year they come together for summer workshops, which take their inspiration from the spirit of music and a willingness to engage with the views and experiences of the assembled musicians, each with personal ties to the troubled situation in the Middle East.