Saturday, August 9, 2008

The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra: Harmony Heals?

The TimesOnline reports on Daniel Barenboim's efforts to use music to bring young people together:
This year, 120 musicians – the youngest 12, the oldest 30 – from Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and Iran are playing a massive programme: the Brahms Symphony No 4, Haydn’s Sinfonia Concertante, three Wagners including Act I of Die Walküre and Schoenberg’s Variations for Orchestra.

The Divan also includes a Spanish contingent, a nod to the Andalusian regional government, which helped to set up the Barenboim-Said Foundation. Four players from Gustavo Dudamel’s Simón BolÍvar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela swell the brass (and to the Divan girls’ delight, they play late-night salsa gigs).

There is more to the Divan than music, however. It is a philosophy that aims to teach logic in the midst of the illogical Middle East conflict...

...reflecting on the personal journey she has begun, Khleifi says: “The cornerstone of the Divan is that each side acknowledges there are two sides to stories. We don’t agree but not agreeing doesn’t mean that you don’t understand.”

No comments: