Daniel Barenboim concert
13 heures le journal
First broadcast date
Last night, for the first time, Israeli and Arab musicians have participated together in a big concert organized in the city of Ramallah.
Program : Mozart and Beethoven, orchestrated by the famous Argentine-Israeli pianist Daniel Barenboim.
France 2 - Own production
Music and songs
- Contemporary historical challenges 19th-20th c.
Credits / Cast
- Laroche Joubert Martine - Journalist
- Palestine - West bank - Ramallah
This coverage, broadcasted during France 2’s midday newscast on August 2nd, 2005, mentions a “historic” concert by the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, played on the previous night in the West Bank and conducted by Daniel Barenboim.
This concert, which was then broadcasted throughout the entire world by many TV channels, aims to help the reconciliation between the Near East’s Jews and Muslims. The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra brings together, for the first time, young musicians from Israel and Palestine as well as Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and even Spain. The concert, designed to be a beacon of hope for the future, was held in Ramallah’s new cultural center, inaugurated the previous year, and gave these musicians an opportunity to express themselves together away from political and religious divides.
Born in 1942 of Argentinean, Spanish, Israeli and, from now on, Palestinian origins, Daniel Barenboim is the cornerstone of this event. This isn’t Daniel Barenboim’s first attempt to defend the Palestinian cause; this “world citizen”, spurred by the works of Edward Said, with whom he has published the 2003 book “Parallels and Paradoxes” has conducted the Ramallah orchestra in playing a piece by Richard Wagner –wishing to overcome the fact that Wagner was Adolf Hitler’s favorite composer – at the Tel Aviv auditorium in 2001, has delivered a scathing speech before the Knesset, condemning the “dangers of Zionism” in 2004 and has created the first musical education program for the Palestinian authority in 2005.
A ray of sunlight in an otherwise bleak history, this concert attracts, alongside Ramallah’s Palestinian youth, dozens of young Israelis, Syrians and Lebanese, who crossed the Israeli borders with special authorizations from their countries. The context is, however, extremely tense; a barrier, which could become something more, is starting to be built, eating away at a large part of West Bank territories in a move that goes against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan to dismantle Israeli settlements on occupied lands.
After this peculiar concert, Daniel Barenboim said that an entire book could be written about the logistical problems that emerged –contradicting messages from the Syrian government, a Lebanese lack of faith as to the government-issued authorizations, the fear of Israeli families, promises of diplomatic passports being issued to Spanish musicians broken by the Spanish government… there were doubts the concert would happen, up until it actually began.
The conductor is heavily invested in his craft and believes music to be a prime channel for tolerance and humanity. The West-Easter divan orchestra, a name borrowed from Goethe in a universal feeling of peace amongst men, plays Mozart or Beethoven’s Symphony Number 5. This orchestra shows how members of communities who share bloody relationships can learn to play together, live together and work together within the orchestra to build the world of tomorrow. A live CD of this incredible performance has been recorded.
- Daniel Barenboim Parallèles et Paradoxes : Explorations musicales et politiques, Le Serpent à plumes, 2003, 239 p
- Daniel Barenboim La musique éveille le temps, trad. Dennis Collins, Fayard, 2008, 208 p.
- Site du west eastern divan orchestra