An Orchestra Beyond Borders : Voices of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
Bringing together young musicians from Palestine, Israel and the 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 powerful ray 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 its members. Through the prism of the orchestra, these youthful testimonies are a window into the life of the region. Together, they express 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 across political lines.
- Paperback | 320 pages
- 150 x 210 x 23.88mm | 353.8g
- 05 Oct 2009
- Verso Books
- London, United Kingdom
"Moving and illuminating." Morning Star "The music in Barenboim's life never stops - it shares the limelight with political activism. He sees the orchestra as a model for dialogue in the Middle East - an example of how to break the wall of hatred between peoples. Its members are drawn not just from Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, but also Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Iran. They share accommodation, food, transport and music desks." Andrew Clark, Financial Times "Barenboim believes that music should be not an alternative to living, but a model for livingA". By that he means not simply that people making music have to learn to co-operate, allow different voices to lead in turn, and relish the rich harmonies that are possible when everyone agrees to move together." Richard Morrison, The Times "Elena Cheah's invaluable - and rather inspiring - insider's book about the West-Eastern Divan project." Boyd Tonkin, independent "This is a sad and timely demonstration of how the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra can be enlisted to demobilise meaningful solidarity with the oppressed Palestinians." Raymonde Deane, Irish Left Review
About Elena Cheah
ELENA CHEAH was principal cellist of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and the Staatskapelle Berlin, before becoming professor of cello at the Academy for Orchestral Studies for the Barenboim-Said Foundation, Seville, Spain. Elena plays in the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and runs workshops for its members. Born in Pittsburgh, Elena currently lives in Berlin.