Conductor-pianist Daniel Barenboim (who made headlines performing Wagner in Israel) and the late Palestinian-American intellectual Edward Said, co-founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra as “a human laboratory to express to the whole world how to participate with each other. Perhaps this is the new evolution.
The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, an ensemble of musicians between the ages of 15 and 36, established in 1999, is made up of young musicians from countries engaged in war. The orchestra includes musicians from Israel, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Iran and Spain.
The word “Divan” comes from a collection of Persian, Arabic, and a suite of poems about the Middle East by Goethe. It also is the name for a couch. It in addition refers to the privy council of the Ottoman Empire,
Barenboim and Said brought young Middle Eastern artists together who might not, outside of their music-making, feel comfortable sitting together.
The work can be seen as a symbol for stimulating exchange and mixture between Orient and Occident. The word "west-eastern" does not only refer to German-Middle-eastern, but also Latin-Persian and Christian-Muslim. It mirrors the attempt to bring together Orient and Occident.
Ending of “Knowledge is the Beginning”