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Spring 2012













WEDI/Brown program participants, 2011

View a short video of the spring 2012 program.

Visit the spring 2012 photo gallery.

The West-Eastern Divan Institute (WEDI) and Brown’s Cogut Center for the Humanities are pleased to announce an upcoming pilot program to take place in Berlin during the week of Brown’s 2012 Spring break. This program will bring together Brown University students with student musicians of Daniel Barenboim's Al-Andalus Orchestra and members of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra (WEDO) as well as members of the Staatskapelle Berlin and Maestro Daniel Barenboim.

The one-week program will take place in Berlin. The academic core will be organized around a mini-seminar of the theme of Art and Violence. This seminar follows the model of the work-based
multi-disciplinary seminar as outlined in the Cornerstone document of the Brown-WEDI collaboration (2009). It also builds on the successful first pilot workshop held in the Spring of 2011
and expand its scope based on the lessons learned on that occasion.

The week’s schedule will include three two-hour seminar meetings, and rehearsals and a concert, all conducted by Daniel Barenboim, including:

  • Staatsoper production of Rheingold (30.3.)
  • Staatskapelle rehearsals of Anton Bruckner, Symphony No. 7 (optional)
  • Staatskapelle/Staatsoper rehearsals of Lulu and Die Walküre

Also included will be guided museum and cultural landmark visits such as the Museum of Islamic Art and the Jewish Museum Berlin.

Mini-seminar: Art and Violence
In March 2012, the Berlin State Opera will revive Guy Cassiers’s production of Die Walküre and present Andrea Breth’s production of Alban Berg's opera Lulu. Both are conducted by Daniel Barenboim. The March 2012 mini-seminar, the second in a series of explorations of new forms of teaching Music and the Humanities will explore a themes shared by Die Walküre and Lulu which are also fundamental to the personal, regional, and global concerns of the WEDO and WEDI encounters and of the humanities in general: the theme of violence as a psychological and social factor. What constitutes an act of violence, between individuals as well as between societies? Are there acceptable and inacceptable forms of violence and coercion, and if so, what are the boundaries for legitimate use of violence? Can violence be restricted to achieve specific outcomes, and if so, under which circumstances? What repercussions does violence have for the violator? How are these different forms and uses of violence depicted or aestheticized in the works under discussion?

The tentative plan for our three sessions is as follows:

1. How should we listen to these two operas for their combined depictions of beauty and violence? How do they portray political, racist, generational, and sexual violence? How are their aesthetic and ethical languages similar and different?
2. How does a legacy of violence inform the perceptions and options of successive generations? We will discuss this problem in relation to Eytan Fox’s 2004 film Walk on Water.
3. We will continue our discussion of No. 1 above following the two opera rehearsals.

Airfare, lodging, group meals and group ground transportation expenses will be covered.