Daniel BarenboimAn internationally acclaimed conductor and pianist, Daniel Barenboim is also a prominent activist for peace in the Middle East. He is the only Israeli in the world to hold both Palestinian and Israeli passports, and he fiercely believes that the solution to the conflict in the Middle East is not a military one.
Music is fundamental to Barenboim’s work with young people, which is in stark opposition to what he sees as the savage conflict denying people the possibility to continue to live, and fulfil their ideas and dreams.
Together with the Palestinian literary scholar Edward Said, Barenboim founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra nearly 10 years ago. The Orchestra brings together young musicians from Israel and the Arab countries, enabling them to combine musical study with the opportunity for dialogue and reflection on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Their 2005 concert in the West Bank town of Ramallah was an historic occasion. Many of the young musicians were forbidden by law to either travel through Israeli land or enter Palestinian territory. That Barenboim overcame these obstacles is testimony to his ambition and dedication. The Orchestra featured in the 2008 BBC Proms.
The Barenboim-Said Foundation was established in 2004 to promote peace, dialogue and reconciliation. It does this primarily through music projects for young people which include the creation of music kindergartens in Ramallah and Berlin, a Music Education Project in the Middle East, and an Academy of Orchestral Studies in Seville.
Barenboim has said of the young musicians “what they demonstrate is not an alternative solution to the conflict but the fact that, when Israelis and Palestinians join forces, the result is not mutual destruction but rather mutual enhancement.”
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