Brown to host West-Eastern Divan Orchestra

December 5, 2012  |  Media Contact: Courtney Coelho |  401-863-7287
World-renowned conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim and the young musicians of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra — an ensemble of young Arab and Israeli musicians that he co-founded in 1999 with the late Palestinian-born literary scholar Edward Said — will visit Brown University from Tuesday, Jan. 22, through Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, for a residency that will include concerts of Beethoven symphonies and a campus conversation. The campus conversation will be streamed live on Thursday, Jan. 24, at 6 p.m.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Brown University will host internationally acclaimed conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim and the young musicians of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra (WEDO) from Tuesday, Jan. 22, through Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. The group will perform Beethoven’s Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3 on Saturday evening and Symphonies Nos. 1, 8, and 5 in a concert on Monday evening. Both concerts will take place at Veterans Memorial Auditorium. Barenboim will also participate in a public campus conversation on Jan. 24 during the residency. (The campus conversation will be streamed online at http://www.brown.edu/web/livestream, beginning at 6 p.m.) Additionally, Najla Said, daughter of WEDO co-founder the late Edward Said, will perform a one-woman show on Jan. 23 in honor of the orchestra's visit.

Tickets for the concerts will be available beginning Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. Members of the general public may purchase tickets through the Veterans Memorial Auditorium box office (www.vmari.com) or by phone at 401-421-2787.

Brown faculty, staff, and students may reserve two free tickets per person for balcony seating for each concert. Tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and may be reserved online.

On Jan. 23, writer and actor Najla Said, daughter of WEDO co-founder the late Edward Said, will perform a shortened version of her off-Broadway show "Palestine", a coming-of-age story about her own journey to become an Arab-American on her own terms. The show, which is free and open to the public, begins at 8:30 p.m. in Pembroke Hall, Room 305.

On Jan. 24, Barenboim and Mariam Said, vice-chair of the Barenboim-Said Foundation, will take part in "Dissonance and Harmony: A Conversation," discussing topics of tolerance and peace with Izzeldin Abuelaish, founder of The Daughters for Life Foundation and author of I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity, and Miko Peled, peace activist and author of The General's Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. and pre-registration is required.

More information about this event, as well as a link to register, can be found on the event website.

Barenboim’s career has spanned more than 50 years, during which he has been honored for both his virtuosity as a musician and his work as an author, lecturer, and humanitarian. Together with the late Palestinian scholar Edward Said, he founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in 1999, with the aim of combining musical study and development with the sharing of knowledge and comprehension between people from cultures that have traditionally been rivals. The project unites young musicians from Israel and Arab countries each summer to play music together and enable a conversation between the various cultures.

Music enables conversationThe West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, an organization of young Arab and Israeli musicians, will be in residence at Brown Jan. 22-29, 2013. The orchestra will perform two concerts of Beethoven symphonies at Veterans Memorial Auditorium.Music enables conversation
The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, an organization of young Arab and Israeli musicians, will be in residence at Brown Jan. 22-29, 2013. The orchestra will perform two concerts of Beethoven symphonies at Veterans Memorial Auditorium.
“Since their first visit to Brown in 2006, Brown students and faculty have supported and participated in numerous programs of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and their satellite educational programs, traveling to such places as Berlin, Seville, Nazareth, and Ramallah,” said Michael Steinberg, director of the Cogut Center for the Humanities, which is sponsoring the events with the Office of the President. “We are thrilled to welcome the full ensemble and Maestro Barenboim back to Brown and to Providence for a week of music and discussion, listening and learning.”

Daniel Barenboim

Daniel Barenboim is one of the most compelling figures in the music world today. As well as being renowned as a conductor and pianist, he is a noted author, lecturer, and public intellectual whose work aims to foster an appreciation for music’s vital humanity in an increasingly interdependent world. Serving as music director of the Staatsoper Berlin, Staatskapelle Berlin, and the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Barenboim is also in great demand by leading orchestras and opera houses around the world. Barenboim’s prodigious career as a symphonic and operatic conductor and a solo and collaborative pianist has included more than 90 recordings, eight Grammy Awards, music directorships with the Orchestre de Paris and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, as well as frequent performances at the Bayreuth Festival. Born in Buenos Aires in 1942, Barenboim moved to Israel at the age of 10 and currently holds citizenship in Argentina, Israel, Palestine, and Spain.

The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra

Founded by Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said in 1999, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra brings together musicians from Israel, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt — joined by a number of musicians from Iran, Turkey and Spain — to perform music and promote reflection and mutual understanding. They meet each summer in Seville, Spain, for a workshop, where rehearsals are complemented by lectures and discussion and followed by an international concert tour. Over the years, the orchestra has evolved into a world-class ensemble, appearing at leading international music festivals and concert halls and giving historically unprecedented performances in Ramallah, in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, and most recently at Castel Gandolfo at the invitation of Pope Benedict XVI. Former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has hailed the orchestra as “a source of inspiration and a model for the Middle East and the rest of the world,” and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon named Barenboim a U.N. Messenger of Peace for his work with the Divan. An Emmy Award-winning documentary titled Knowledge is the Beginning was made about the orchestra in 2006.

Although Said died in 2003, his partnership with 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.

Editors: Brown University has a fiber link television studio available for domestic and international live and taped interviews, and maintains an ISDN line for radio interviews. For more information, call (401) 863-2476.