Top conductor Barenboim mulls Tahrir Square concert in Cairo
Aug 16, 2011, 11:08 GMT
Berlin - Daniel Barenboim, the Berlin-based conductor, proposed Tuesday an open-air concert by his orchestra of Jewish and Palestinian musicians on Tahrir Square, the symbolic home in Cairo of Egypt's Arab Spring uprising.
An equal number of instrumentalists from both sides of the Mideast conflict perform in his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, founded in 1999 to promote reconciliation between enemies through a love of culture.
On Monday, the orchestra played Beethoven's Ninth Symphony for an audience of 8,000 at the armistice line between North and South Korea. The ensemble has performed on the West Bank but never in Israel.
'We would like to play in the Gaza Strip, on Tahrir Square in Cairo and in Israel too,' said Barenboim, 68, in a telephone interview from Seoul before the orchestra flies to Germany for more concerts.
Tahrir Square was the centre of the Cairo uprising against former president Hosny Mubarak at the start of this year, with protesters risking their lives as pro-Mubarak groups responded with mob violence.
The main job of the Argentine-born pianist and conductor, who also has Israeli nationality, is head of the Berlin State Opera orchestra. The Divan orchestra, based in Seville, Spain, is one of his part-time projects.
The uprisings in the world were a cause for hope, said Barenboim.
'The revolts, and the nuclear disaster at Fukushima as well, demonstrate how fragile the established order is, how quickly autocratic government can crumble,' he told the German Press Agency dpa.
His orchestra had shown how music could bridge political differences and had spawned other similar groups.
'But if I had listened to the politicians, the orchestra would never have come into being,' he said. He founded the ensemble jointly with the late Egypt-educated literature critic Edward Said (1935-2003).
A group of Latin American intellectuals including Nobel literature laureate Mario Vargas Llosa plan to formally nominate Barenboim this Wednesday for the Nobel Peace Prize because of it.
'I wouldn't like to comment (on the planned nomination),' said Barenboim. 'Either you actually get the prize, and you have to formulate what you'll say about it, or you don't get it, in which case you shouldn't say anything.'
West-Eastern Divan Orchestra: http://www.west-eastern-divan.org
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