[QODLink]
Archive
Peace Orchestra unites Arabs and Israelis
A rare spell of Middle Eastern harmony has been cast in Morocco, where Israeli-Argentinian musician Daniel Barenboim led an orchestra composed of young Palestinians, Israelis and other Arabs in a wildly applauded concert.
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2003 11:39 GMT
Conductor Daniel Barenboim hopes to take his orchestra throughout the Arab world
A rare spell of Middle Eastern harmony has been cast in Morocco, where Israeli-Argentinian musician Daniel Barenboim led an orchestra composed of young Palestinians, Israelis and other Arabs in a wildly applauded concert.

Sunday's concert of the West-Eastern Divan, dubbed the "peace orchestra," was one of the first of its type to be given in an Arab country, and it was attended by Her Royal Highness Lalla Salma, representing her husband King Muhammad VI.

The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, co-founded five years ago by Barenboim and US-based Palestinian Christian author Edward Said, is composed of 80 musicians from Israel, the Palestinian territories, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. The players' ages range from just 13 to 26.

The orchestra's goal is to "work for dialogue and friendship between our peoples, cultures and religions", according to the founders.

Three pianos


"We think that this project will only truly be realised when this orchestra can play in all the countries represented within the orchestra"

Daniel Barenboim,
pianist and conductor

The one-off concert in Rabat, the group's first in an Arab country, included renditions of Beethoven's Eroica Symphony and Mozart's Concerto for three pianos, played symbolically by Barenboim along with a Palestinian and an Israeli pianist.

"We think that this project will only truly be realised when this orchestra can play in all the countries represented within the orchestra," Barenboim told reporters before the concert.

Some of the Arab musicians confessed to the BBC that they were worried about appearing alongside Israelis on Arab television, while others said they were proud to part of a "historic" event.

After concerts in London, Seville and Rabat, the "Peace Orchestra" was due to play on France's Cote d'Azur on Monday in the presence of French President Jacques Chirac.

Child prodigy

Barenboim was born in 1942 in Buenos Aires to parents of Jewish-Russian descent. He was a child pianist prodigy who gave his first concert aged just seven.

In 1991 he took over from Sir Georg Solti as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and also served as director of the Israel Festival from 1971-73.

He has been general musical director of Berlin's flagship opera house, the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, since 1992. The house orchestra, the Staatskapelle Berlin, voted him their chief conductor for life in late 2000.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
More than 400 gaming dens operate on native lands, but critics say social ills and inequality stack the deck.
The Palestinian president is expected to address the UN with a new proposal for the creation of a Palestinian state.
Nearly 1,200 aboriginal females have been killed or disappeared over 30 years with little justice served, critics say.
Ethnic violence has wracked China's restive Xinjiang region, leading to a tight government clampdown.
Malay artists revitalise the art of puppeteering by fusing tradition with modern characters such as Darth Vader.