The West-Eastern-Divan Orchestra: Using bows not bombs

Posted by Ian on Jan 11, 2009 in blog | One Comment

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of the West-Eastern-Divan Orchestra. The brain child of Jewish-Argentine conductor Daniel Barenboim and the late Palestinian-American intellectual Edward Said, the orchestra, popularly known as the ‘Peace Orchestra’ is comprised of young musicians from both Israeli and Palestinian backgrounds. The simple thought of Said and Barenboim was that if Palestinians and Israelis could create musical harmony, then this could provide a role model for harmonious coexistence. This poetic political project is an inspiring example of the power of art to bring people together through expression and experience.
Unfortunately, the recent return to violence in Gaza has caused the orchestra to cancel its Middle Eastern concerts due to security concerns. Will this also delay Barenboim’s promise to construct a concert hall in Ramallah? Despite the cancellations, the orchestra is continuing to tour the world and provides a needed foil to the images of conflict that dominate Israeli-Palestinian relations. We can only hope that in time, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra will cease to be a unique inter-cultural project and be one of many harmonious celebrations of a culturally diverse coexistence in the Middle East.
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1 Comment

  1. Harriet
    12 January 2009

    GREAT!!! Can you contribute to the construction of the concert hall?


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