Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, bringing young musicians from Middle East together

Posted on: April 5, 2018

“At a concert last August in Berlin, the audience was German, the music was Russian, and the musicians were inspiring: a mix that included Iranians, Syrians, Palestinians and Israelis,” reports Brit McCandless Farmer on CBS’s 60 Minutes on Sunday (4/1). “They’re members of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, co-founded and led by conductor Daniel Barenboim. This week … correspondent Holly Williams profiles Barenboim and his remarkable orchestra. It was the second time in 20 years that 60 Minutes [spent] an evening with the multi-talented maestro. Barenboim, who is also a distinguished concert pianist, grew up in Israel. He came up with the idea for the West-Eastern Divan orchestra 20 years ago, along with his friend Edward Said, the late Palestinian scholar. The goal was to find young musicians from across the Middle East and to bring them together for a few months a year, giving them an opportunity to play on the world’s most prestigious stages. As Williams reports, some musicians, like one Syrian violinist … are living in exile as war rages at home. Others risk punishment from their governments for performing with Israelis. But when they take the stage together, political differences surrender to something of a musical utopia.”

Posted April 5, 2018

Pictured: Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and at a Berlin concert, August 2017