Daniel Barenboim Plans Academy for Israeli and Arab Musicians

Monday, November 19, 2012 - 12:00 PM

Daniel Barenboim has united Arab and Israeli musicians through his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, an ensemble he co-founded in 1999 with the late Palestinian literary scholar, Edward Said. Now, he intends to expand the concept into higher education.

The Israeli-Argentine conductor and pianist has announced plans for a conservatory in Berlin geared towards musicians from the Middle East. The academy will comprise training in music, social sciences and international politics, and will be housed in a former warehouse for the Berlin State Opera, where Barenboim is artistic director.

About 80 students are expected to attend the Barenboim-Said Academy of Orchestral Studies, all on full scholarships. It is due to open in 2015. Star architect Frank Gehry and acoustic engineer Yasuhisa Toyota have reportedly volunteered to design an 800-seat concert hall named after Pierre Boulez to be part of the facility. The space will host performances by members of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and the Staatskapelle Berlin.

In an interview with Deutsche Welle, Barenboim said the school's curriculum will be apolitical, even with the inclusion of political subject matter. "We're not involved in political negotiations," he said. "We must simply try to understand and appreciate one another."

The German parliament has already approved 20 million euros ($25.5 million) for the academy. An additional eight million euros have been donated by private sponsors.

Below is the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra's performance at the BBC Proms in July.

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Comments [2]

Unfortunately everything that has to do with Israeli-Arab issues is politically tainted. Edward Said was a rotten antisemite who does not deserve to be eternalized at all but Baremboim, well, Baremboim is not very Jewish himself, if we go by his conduct in the past (see his contemptous attitude toward Wagner and the Israeli public). Ghery doesn't have the slightest idea nor interest to know about his ancestors and his Jewish past.
I wish Baremboim a total failure in his endeavor which will confirm history: there is no peace nor understanding between Jews and Arabs. While Jews value life i.e. the 10 Commandments, Arabs value death and martyrdom, see suicide bombers. Baremboim is only trying to publicize his image with a controversial subject and the Germans go along out of historical remources while Toyota is just another Asian ignoramus on such extremely complex issue like the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Nov. 23 2012 04:15 PM
Lorenzo1706 from Italy - Reggio Emilia

Wonderful!! I am speechless for this project!!Many Thanks to "Maestro" Barenboim, to Mr.Ghery,to Mr.Toyota and to German Parliament for this generous gift!! Bring Peace to all men of goodwill!! Give a chance to the future!! Let god be with you!

Nov. 22 2012 07:17 AM

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