The West-Eastern Divan is a youth orchestra based in Sevilla, Spain, consisting of musicians from countries in the Middle East, of Egyptian, Israeli, Jordanian, Lebanese, Palestinian, and Syrian background. The Argentine-Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim and the late Palestinian-American academic Edward Said founded the orchestra in 1999, and named the ensemble after an anthology of poems by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The first orchestra workshop was in Weimar, Germany in 1999, after the organisation had received over 200 applications from Arab music students.
The aim of the West-Eastern Divan is to promote understanding between Israelis and Palestinians and pave the way for a peaceful and fair solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The orchestra has performed around the world, including Israel and the Palestinian territories. It has an annual summer school in Seville. Since 2002, Junta de Andalucía (Regional Government of Andalusia) and a private foundation have provided a base for the ensemble in Seville, Spain. Young musicians from Spain now also take part in the orchestra.
The West-Eastern Divan Workshop takes place during several weeks each summer in Andalusia. Once the working period is over, the concert tour of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra starts. The orchestra has been awarded several prizes since its creation, among them the Prize Príncipe de Asturias of the Concorde in 2002 for Said and Barenboim, and the Premium Imperiale awarded by the Japan Arts Association.
In 2004, the Barenboim-Said Foundation, based in Seville and financed by the Junta de Andalucía (Regional Government of Andalusia), was established with the purpose of developing several education through music projects based on the principles of coexistence and dialogue promoted by Said and Barenboim. In addition to managing the orchestra, the Barenboim-Said Foundation assists with other projects such as the Academy of Orchestral Studies, the Musical Education in Palestine project and the Early Childhood Musical Education Project in Seville.
In 2007, the Orchestra received the Praemium Imperiale Grant for Young Artists. A film by Paul Smaczny about the Orchestra, Knowledge is the Beginning, won the Emmy Award for best documentary related to arts of 2006. The orchestra has recorded for the Teldec label.

Edited by antares10 on 10 Jan 2009, 14:44

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