Barenboim gives "Arab" concert in Geneva

Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim has brought his troupe of young Arab and Israeli classical musicians to Geneva.

This content was published on August 7, 2009 - 19:34

Friday's performance at Geneva's Victoria Hall of works by Alban Berg and Hector Berlioz is dedicated to the late Palestinian-American academic Edward Said and the contentious choice of Jerusalem as this year's "Arab Cultural Capital".

The ten-year-old West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, founded by Barenboim and Said, includes Israeli and Palestinian musicians as well as performers from Arab countries such as Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, and non-Arab states Turkey and Iran.

"The Arab World is not just Muslims. It's also Christians and Jews," said the Argentinian-born Barenboim, who moved to Israel when he was nine, at a press conference.

"West Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and East Jerusalem will inevitably be the Palestinian capital. The city is neither Israeli nor Palestinian. It is universal."

He rejected the idea that his orchestra could serve as a "political chorus", but insisted that its younger members could develop new, apolitical ways of promoting cooperation and understanding.

The tour, which began in the orchestra's home base of Seville last week, continues with performances in Salzburg, Bayreuth and London.

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