The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which combines equal numbers of young musicians from Israel and the Arab countries, as well as some members from Spain, Turkey, and Iran, was founded in 1999 by Daniel
Barenboim and the Palestinian literary schol-ar Edward Said. The vision of a peaceful coexistence of cultures in the Middle East served as the guiding principle: not by coincidence did Goethe’s famous poetry collection titled West-Eastern Divan inspire the orchestra’s name. The orchestra rehearses their programs in intensive working sessions, subsequently presenting these on international concert tours. The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra has performed at such venues as the Berlin Philharmonie, the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, the Salle Pleyel in Paris, New York’s Carnegie Hall, Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Conservatory, and the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, as well as in Rabat, Ramallah, Qatar, and Abu Dhabi. The ensemble regularly appears at the BBC Proms, the Waldbühne in Berlin, and the Salzburg Festival. Most recently, in the spring of 2022, it performed Smetana’s Má vlast in Paris, Brussels, Luxembourg, Munich, Milan, and Prague; it also guested at the Ljubljana Festival earlier in August. Numerous CDs and DVDs, as well as Paul Smaczny’s film Knowledge Is the Beginning, document the work of the orchestra, which was named a UN Ambassador for Cultural Understanding in 2016. Through the Barenboim-Said Academy, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra is associated with a state-recognized university for music and the humanities.

Lucerne Festival debut on 21 August 2007, when Daniel Barenboim conducted works by Beethoven, Schoenberg, and Tchaikovsky.

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July 2022