Daniel Barenboim on music and shared humanity

A message from the co-founder of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra

Editor’s note: In 1999, Barenboim co-founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra with Edward Said, a Palestinian public intellectual. The ensemble brings together young musicians from across the Middle East and is an official UN Global Advocate for Cultural Understanding. Today at medici.tv, we wanted to amplify their message. This selection of programs has been made free to view for all, worldwide.

“In the current situation, I naturally ask myself about the significance of our joint work in the orchestra and the academy. It may seem little—but the mere fact that Arab and Israeli musicians share a podium at every concert and make music together is of immense value. Over the years, through this commonality of music-making, but also through our countless, sometimes heated discussions, we have learned to better understand the supposed other, to approach them and to find common ground. We start and end all discussions, no matter how controversial, with the fundamental understanding that we are all equal human beings who deserve peace, freedom and happiness.

“This may sound naive, but it is not: for it is this understanding that seems to be completely lost in the conflict on both sides today. Our experience shows that this message has reached many people in the region and around the world. We must, want and will continue to believe in our shared humanity. Music is one way to bring us closer together.”

Read Maestro Barenboim’s full statement in The Guardian here