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A Journey through Aesthetic Realms

Daniel Barenboim: A Life Fostering Peace through Music, Part 2 of 2



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Now, we continue to learn more about Mr. Barenboim’s ongoing endeavors for artistic perfection and his unique approach to promoting peace and dialog through music. In a London hotel lobby in 1993, Mr. Barenboim met the late Palestinian-American literary scholar and cultural critic, Edward Said. They collaborated to achieve their shared vision of co-existence and peace in the Middle East. On August 16, 1999, after two years of preparation, Mr. Barenboim and Mr. Said jointly founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra after a summer workshop. The West-Eastern Divan orchestra is composed of an equal number of Israeli and Arab young talents along with members from Turkey, Iran and Spain. Their mission is to perform in all the countries represented in the orchestra. The orchestra was designated a UN Global Advocate for Cultural Understanding in February 2016.

In 2005, Mr. Barenboim conducted a benefit concert with Staatskapelle Berlin and soloists Plácido Domingo, Thomas Quasthoff and René Pape for the victims of the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia.

In January 2008, Mr. Barenboim gave a benefit concert in Ramallah to raise medical funds for children in the Gaza Strip. He was then granted Palestinian citizenship and became the first person in the world to retain both Israeli and Palestinian passports.

In 2011, the maestro took the Divan Orchestra on an international tour including the Doha Festival of Music and Dialogue, and performed in the Korean Demilitarized Zone.

In June 2019, just before his 50th anniversary for conducting the Berlin Philharmonic, Mr. Barenboim was named the orchestra’s first honorary conductor.

In 2020, Mr. Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra were awarded the prestigious Rheingau Musik Pries by the Rheingau Music Festival in Germany. He was described as “not only one of the most renowned conductors and artistic personalities of our time but also a great humanist, free thinker, and visionary of inestimable social value.”

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