An Orchestra Beyond Borders
Voices of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
280 pages / October 2009 / 9781844674084
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The untold story of the West-Eastern Divan, an orchestra reaching across the Israeli-Arab divide.
Bringing together young musicians from Palestine, Israel and other countries of the Middle East, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra is both one of the most acclaimed youth orchestras in the world and a rare note of hope in a war-torn region. Founded by Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said in 1999, it aims to promote Arab-Israeli understanding through music. In An Orchestra Beyond Borders, Elena Cheah, a professional musician and assistant to Daniel Barenboim, explores the orchestra’s journey through the remarkable stories of the musicians that comprise it. These youthful testimonies are a window into the life of the region. Together, they communicate the musicians’ ambitions and hopes, their varied and conflicting views on life and politics, and above all the orchestra’s transformative ability to create an atmosphere of musical cooperation away from the implications and hardships of a world full of division and conflict.
“The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra is a beacon of hope on the dismal political landscape of the Middle East ... Raised in enmity, these talented young men and women set an example by their devotion to their common craft. Together they play with wonderful energy and unanimity in an orchestra that is larger than life.”