West-Eastern Divan Orchestra

Edward W. Said and Daniel Barenboim

" The origins of the West-Eastern Divan lie in the conversations between its founders, Edward Said and Daniel Barenboim. Over the course of their great friendship, the Palestinian author/scholar and Israeli conductor/pianist discussed ideas on music, culture and humanity. In their exchanges, they realized the urgent need for an alternative way to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The opportunity to do this came when Barenboim and Said initiated the first workshop using their experience as a model. This evolved into the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra that global audiences know today. "

"For 20 years, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra has been a significant presence in the international music world. In 1999, Daniel Barenboim and the late Palestinian literary scholar Edward W. Said created a workshop for young musicians to promote coexistence and intercultural dialogue. They named the orchestra and workshop after Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s collection of poems West-Eastern Divan, a central work for the development of the concept of world culture. The orchestra’s first rehearsal sessions took place in Weimar and Chicago. An equal number of Israeli and Arab musicians form the base of the ensemble, together with members from Turkey, Iran, and Spain. They meet each summer for rehearsals, followed by an international concert tour."


For upcoming performances: https://west-eastern-divan.org/events