West-Eastern Divan Orchestra

The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which brings together young musicians from Israel, Arab countries, and Spain, was founded in 1999 by Daniel Barenboim and the Palestinian literary scholar Edward Said. The principle that inspired them was the vision of a peaceful coexistence of cultures in the Middle East. Not by chance was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s famous poetry collection West-östlicher Divan chosen as the ensemble’s namesake. After initially operating in Weimar and Chicago, WEDO found a permanent home in 2002 in Seville in southern Spain: in a region, that is, in which Jews, Muslims, and Christians were able to coexist with freedom of religion until the Reconquista of 1492; there, through rehearsals, presentations, and discussions, the musicians prepare the various programs which they then perform on their international concert tours. The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra has toured to venues including the Philharmonie in Berlin, the Musikverein in Vienna, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, the Salle Pleyel in Paris, Carnegie Hall in New York, and the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, as well as in Rabat, Ramallah, Qatar, and Abu Dhabi. The WEDO regularly performs at the BBC Proms and the Salzburg Festival. The ensemble recently gave a series of eight concerts in the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires at the end of July/early August. Numerous CDs and DVDs, such as Paul Smaczny’s film Knowledge Is the Beginning, document the work of WEDO, which in February 2016 was named UN Global Advocate for Cultural Understanding by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. In the fall of 2016, the Barenboim-Said Akademie Berlin is set to open as a state-
recognized university for music and the humanities with a concert hall by Frank Gehry.   

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

Further Information: www.west-eastern-divan.org

August 2016