November 27, 2006
Brown to Host Daniel Barenboim, West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
World-renowned conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim and the young musicians of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra will visit Brown University from Thursday, Dec. 14, through Saturday, Dec. 16, 2006, for a series of conversations and workshops leading to a concert at VMA Arts and Cultural Center Saturday afternoon. All events are open to the public. A ticket is required for the concert, free of charge.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Brown University will host internationally acclaimed conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim and the young musicians of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra from Thursday, Dec. 14, through Saturday, Dec. 16, 2006. The group will participate in a series of conversations and workshops leading to a concert at VMA Arts and Cultural Center in Providence at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, 2006, featuring works by Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms.
All events are open to the public, but tickets are required for admission to the final concert, free of charge. Tickets are available at the Office of University Events, 71 George St., from Monday, Dec. 4, through Wednesday, Dec. 6, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Community groups interested in reserving blocks of seats, or anyone needing further information, should call the ticket hotline at (401) 863-1055.
On the evenings of Dec. 14 and 15, Barenboim, members of the orchestra, and distinguished guests will lead two open “campus conversations” about the history of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and their musical, political, and cultural work. Thursday’s session will open with a working rehearsal, featuring Barenboim and the Brown University Orchestra. Friday’s session will begin with a special performance by members of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and the Providence Quartet.
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 toward peace in the Middle East. Together with the late Palestinian scholar Edward Said, he founded the West-Eastern Divan Workshop 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 dialogue between the various cultures.
The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra’s history is depicted in an International Emmy Award-winning documentary, Knowledge is the Beginning, which will be shown on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2006, at 8 p.m. in Smith-Buonanno Hall. Mariam Said, widow of Edward Said, will participate in a discussion following the film.
“Daniel Barenboim may be the world’s most distinguished living classical musician, but even more than that, he is a citizen of the world and a profoundly committed teacher,” said Michael Steinberg, director of the Cogut Center for the Humanities, which is sponsoring the events along with the Office of the President.
“Through music and most specifically through the achievements of the West-Eastern Divan, Barenboim has found a way to fuse music-making with the production of knowledge and understanding of some of the most severe and most pressing issues of our time,” Steinberg said. “These issues, and the intersection of politics and the arts, are central to the work of a great university. The opportunity to welcome, host, and engage with Daniel Barenboim and the hundred members of this unique orchestra speaks to Brown’s mission and strengths with unparalleled rigor and richness.”
Schedule of Events
Wednesday, December 6
Thursday, December 14
Friday, December 15
Saturday, December 16
Born in Buenos Aires and raised in Israel, Daniel Barenboim gave his first public concert when he was just 7 years old. His skills as a conductor have been recognized as a “phenomenon” since his youth. At age 10, Barenboim gave his international debut performance as a solo pianist in Vienna and Rome, followed by Paris (1955), London (1956), and New York (1957). Since then, he has regularly toured Europe, the United States, South America, Australia, and the Far East.
Since his conducting debut in 1967 with the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, Barenboim has been in great demand with leading orchestras around the world. His distinguished career includes positions as chief conductor of the Orchestre de Paris, music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and general music director of Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin.
Barenboim’s numerous honors include Spain’s Príncipe de Asturias Prize; the Tolerance Prize from the Evangelical Academy of Tutzing; Germany’s Großes Verdienstkreuz mit Stern; the Buber-Rosenzweig-Medaille from the Deutscher Koordinierungs-Rat; the Israeli Wolf Foundation’s Arts Prize; “Kulturgroschen,” the highest honor awarded by the Deutscher Kulturrat; the international Ernst von Siemens Musikpreis in Vienna; and the Peace Prize by the Korn and Gerstenmann Foundation in Frankfurt. In 2003, Barenboim won a Grammy for his recording of Wagner’s Tannhäuser and he and the Staatskapelle Berlin received the Wilhelm Furtwängler Prize. Barenboim has published two books: the autobiography Music: My Life, and Parallels and Paradoxes, which he wrote together with Edward Said.
The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
In 1999, Barenboim, together with the late Palestinian literary scholar Edward Said, founded the West-Eastern Divan Workshop, which brings together young musicians, ages 15-28, from Israel and Arab countries every summer to play music together. The workshop seeks to enable dialogue between the various cultures of the Middle East and promote the experience of playing music together. Since its creation, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra has performed in countries around the world, including Spain, Germany, Uruguay, Brazil, and France. In Summer 2005, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra presented an historic concert in the Palestinian city of Ramallah.
Said died in 2003, but 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.
Note for Media
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.