Monday, January 12, 2009

The Most Eloquent Response To Gaza Catastrophe - The Arab-Israeli Orchestra

[This is from the closing of a much longer article: Israel's Latest Gamble May Backfire by Muriel Mirak-Weissbach.

The most eloquent response in Germany to the ongoing Gaza catastrophe has been provided by musician and director Daniel Barenboim, who, prevented by the hostilities from performing as scheduled in Qatar, quickly reorganized his concert program, to bring his historic Arab-Israeli orchestra to Berlin on January 12.

The fact that his concert was sold out in 24 hours, and a second concert in Berlin had to be added
seek solutions to conflict through the medium of the universal ideas of great music.

Whether reported on the media or not the entire world is fed up with the massive abuse of power throughout the planet.

The most eloquent response to the ongoing Gaza catastrophe is another of the many evolving peaceful ways being created daily to remove war and other abuses of power when and where ever they show up on planet earth. From the symbol of the sole of shoes, to playing beautiful music, and other ways that tap into universal ideas much more is joyfully on the way for a more peaceful better world for everyone - people and nature.

Perhaps someone will invite Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra play for Obama' presidential inaguration. Or perhaps someone will make arrangements so they can have a concert for world peace that night in DC or some other world city and have it broadcast to the world.

Daniel Barenboim's website:

His performance schedule is open for next week's inauguration:

Below is the last paragraphs of the much longer article.]

Before the last 3 paragraphs of the article are about Bareboim's full committment to peace for Palestinians and Israelis, and the rest of the world too. Listen to his music. This is from his website's biography:

Musicians are by definition communicators. In their performances and with their unique interpretation of the music they convey the style and the meaning of a work to their audience. Daniel Barenboim's incisive intelligence, exceptional technique and meticulous musicianship have been at the core of many definitive performances and recordings as both pianist and conductor. He has also succeeded in building a variety of other bridges:

Photo: Richard Haughton1) A Jew born during the Second World War - and an Israeli by nationality - he has worked closely over many years with three German orchestras - the Berlin Philharmonic, the Staatskapelle Berlin and the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra - in an atmosphere of mutual affection and respect.

2) In the early 1990s, a chance meeting between Mr. Barenboim and the late Palestinian-born writer and Columbia University professor Edward Said in a London hotel lobby led to an intensive friendship that has had both political and musical repercussions.

These two men, who should have been poles apart politically, discovered in that first meeting, which lasted for hours, that they had similar visions of Israeli/Palestinian possible future cooperation. They decided to continue their dialogue and to collaborate on musical events to further their shared vision of peaceful co-existence in the Middle East. This led to Mr. Barenboim's first concert on the West Bank, a piano recital at the Palestinian Birzeit University in February 1999, and to a workshop for young musicians from the Middle East that took place in Weimar, Germany, in August 1999.

The West-Eastern Divan Workshop took two years to organize and involved talented young musicians between the ages of 14 and 25 from Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia and Israel. The idea was that they would come together to make music on neutral ground with the guidance of some of the world's best musicians. Weimar was chosen as the site for the workshop because of its rich cultural tradition of writers, poets, musicians and creative artists and because it was the 1999 European cultural capital. Mr. Barenboim wisely chose two concertmasters for the orchestra, an Israeli and a Lebanese. There were some tense moments among the young players at first but, coached by members of the Berlin Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony and the Staatskapelle Berlin, and following master classes with the cellist Yo-Yo Ma and nightly cultural discussions with Mr. Said and Mr. Barenboim, the young musicians worked and played in increasing harmony.

The West-Eastern Divan Workshop was held again in Weimar in the summer of 2000 and in Chicago in the summer of 2001. It has since found a permanent home in Seville, Spain, where it has been based since 2002. Each summer, following their workshop, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra gives public concerts; to date they have performed in Europe and North and South America, including at the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh, Lucerne and Salzburg festivals. In 2004, they performed a historic concert in Ramallah, the Orchestra's first concert in an Arab country. In December 2006, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra went to the U.S.A., performing at Carnegie Hall and ending the tour with a farewell concert at the United Nations for outgoing Secretary-General Kofi Annan. In 2007, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra was invited to be in residence at the Salzburg Festival.

Edward Said passed away in 2003 but his partnership with Daniel Barenboim lives on through the West-Eastern Divan Workshop and Orchestra and through the Barenboim-Said Foundation, which promotes music and co-operation through projects targeted at young Arabs and Israelis. In January 2005, Daniel Barenboim delivered the first Edward Said Lecture at Columbia University in New York City.

3) Mr. Barenboim is keen to draw young people to music as he believes they need more aesthetic education at school than is generally offered. To this end, he was instrumental in founding music kindergartens in Ramallah and Berlin in 2004 and 2005 respectively. Through the Barenboim-Said Foundation, based in Seville, he has inspired the creation of an Early Childhood Music Education Project, a Music Education Project in the Middle East and an Academy of Orchestral Studies in Seville.

4) Mr. Barenboim has reached out, both in relation to his audiences and to opening himself up to new musical experiences. He has programmed contemporary works alongside repertoire from the classical and romantic eras. He has also expanded his repertoire to include African American music, Argentinian tango, jazz and Brazilian music and shared these experiences with his audiences.

In October 2002 Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said jointly received Spain's prestigious Prince of Asturias Concord Prize for their work in founding the West Eastern Divan Workshop. Mr. Barenboim was also named an honorary citizen of Spain. In November 2002 he was awarded the Tolerance Prize by the Protestant Academy of Tutzing, in southwestern Germany, for his efforts to bring Palestinians and Israelis together through music. The same month, the president of Germany awarded Mr. Barenboim the Grosses Bundesverdienstkreuz, the highest honor given to someone who is not a head of state. In 2004, Mr. Barenboim received the Buber-Rosenzweig Medal, the Wolf Prize for the Arts in the Knesset in Jerusalem and the Haviva Reik Peace Award. In 2005, he won the Special Ambassador of Music Prize of Echo Klassik and was named the 2006 Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University where he delivered six lectures in autumn 2006. Also in 2006, Daniel Barenboim won the Kulturgroschen award, the Peace Prize from the Korn and Gerstenmann Foundation and the Music Prize of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation. He was the first performer ever chosen to deliver the prestigious BBC Reith Lectures, which he delivered in London, Chicago, Berlin and Jerusalem; they were broadcast in the UK and on the BBC World Service. In 2007, Daniel Barenboim was awarded the Goethe Medal by the Goethe Institute and was given an Honorary Doctorate of Music degree by Oxford University; he was named Commandeur de la légion d’honneur by the French President Jacques Chirac and an Ambassador for Peace by the United Nations. He also received the Praemium Imperiale award in Japan.

Mr. Barenboim is the author of A Life in Music, and co-author of Parallels and Paradoxes: Explorations in Music and Society, a series of conversations between Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said. Both books have been published in multiple African Portraits (Teldec, 1995)languages. In November 2007, the Italian publisher Feltrinelli released Daniel Barenboim’s latest book, La Musica Sveglia il Tempo (Music Awakens Time); the book is scheduled to be released in a dozen other languages in the coming year.


Click here for a chronology of Daniel Barenboim's life and career events


Israel's Latest Gamble May Backfire
by Muriel Mirak-Weissbach

The psychological control exerted on large parts of the population in Western countries, in Europe and the U.S., as a result of the horrendous crimes perpetrated by the Nazis in World War II against the Jews, has been massive. But, now, in light of the atrocities committed against Palestinian civilians in Gaza, that control is being broken. Tens of thousands of Germans have taken to the streets since the New Year, to protest the war in Gaza, political figures have spoken out, and letters to the editors of leading German dailies have documented the fact that the psychological blackmail no longer works.

The most eloquent response in Germany to the ongoing Gaza catastrophe has been provided by musician and director Daniel Barenboim, who, prevented by the hostilities from performing as scheduled in Qatar, quickly reorganized his concert program, to bring his historic Arab-Israeli orchestra to Berlin on January 12, and then to Moscow, Milan and Vienna. Barenboim's commitment has been to define a completely new, higher level, from which standpoint this insane conflict, manipulated over decades by geopolitical forces, can be overcome. The fact that his concert was sold out in 24 hours, and a second concert in Berlin had to be added to accommodate the demand, testifies to the desire among many Germans, to seek solutions to conflict through the medium of the universal ideas of great music.


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