Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Verso Books (2009)
Dimensions: 20.9 x 14.2 x 2.4 cm
In 1999 Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said founded the West-East Divan Orchestra as an experiment for people who ‘believe that politics should serve humanity and not vice versa.’ Today it is one of the most acclaimed youth orchestras in the world and a rare note of hope in a war torn region bringing together young musicians from Palestine, Israel and other Middle Eastern countries. While it is of course incapable of bringing peace to the Middle East, its aim is to promote Arab-Israeli understanding through music. Elena Cheah, a professional musician and assistant to Daniel Barenboim explores the orchestra’s journey through the stories of the musicians that comprise it, their stories provide a window into the life in the region and it’s history in human terms. 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.