The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2024: it was founded in 1999 by Daniel Barenboim and the Palestinian literary scholar Edward Said. The vision of a peaceful coexistence of cultures serves as the guiding principle, and the motto is “equal in music.” The orchestra, which brings together an equal number of young musicians from Israel and the Arab countries as well as some members from Spain, Turkey, and Iran, prepares its programs over extensive work phases and subsequently presents these on international concert tours. The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra has performed at venues including the Berlin Philharmonie, the Vienna Musikverein, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Salle Pleyel in Paris, New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, and the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, as well as in Rabat, Ramallah, Qatar, and Abu Dhabi. So far in the summer of 2024, the orchestra has performed at the Bremen Music Festival, the Berlin Waldbühne, the BBC Proms, the Rheingau Music Festival, and the Salzburg Festival. Their fall tour takes the musicians to the Isarphilharmonie in Munich, the Mendelssohn Festival in Leipzig, and London’s Southbank Centre with a Mendelssohn-Brahms program. Numerous CDs and DVDs as well as Paul Smaczny’s film Knowledge Is the Beginning document the work of the orchestra, which was appointed UN Ambassador for Cultural Understanding in 2016. Through the Barenboim-Said Academy, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra is associated with a university for music and the humanities that is recognized by the state.

Lucerne Festival debut on 21 August 2007, when Daniel Barenboim led a program of works by Beethoven, Schoenberg, and Tchaikovsky.

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June 2024