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  • Musician Spotlights: WQXR Radio Interviews

Musician Spotlights: WQXR Radio Interviews

Four musicians of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra spoke with WQXR radio at the Lucerne Festival this summer. Their interviews are available here to discover.

Layale Chaker, Lebanon/Palestine, violin

“In this orchestra, we come to a place that is by default a place of debate, and of dialogue, and of coexistence–which is very rare and actually doesn’t exist anywhere else…. Here we’re not in a situation where there is an oppressed and an oppressor. It’s different. We are by default all equal, which makes it possible–and beautiful–to see human relationships and friendships grow day after day.”

Boris Kertsman, Israel, trumpet

“Having grown up in Israel, of course, it’s a democratic country. But we have our media there, of course. The first time I was talking to an Arab musician, it was totally different [from narratives in the media]. We were fighting, struggling. We had conversations. Little by little, I started seeing other sides, other aspects, and a fuller picture of the thing.”

Mina Zikri, Egypt, violin

“The Divan Orchestra, for people that participate in it, is more than musical project. It’s also a human project. It sends a clear message, not necessarily giving any solutions, but it offers a model of thinking at least…. Sometimes you are accused of normalization and looking over obvious problems. But we always stress that we are not a peace project; we’re not trying to solve anything when we can’t. But we are listening to the narrative of the other and at least understanding it—which is what happens in the orchestra, when you play the primary line and the clarinet has to listen to you, while he or she still plays, and you the do the opposite. So there is a space for everyone to express themselves. While the others are not necessarily silent, they are still expressing–-in support of the other or listening to the other.”

Miriam Manasherov, Israel, viola

“The music sets a bridge. Through the music you open yourself to things you would not have been open to otherwise.”