by Jarrett Hoffman
IN THIS EDITION:
•Today: The Somerset Trio at Trinity at noon, and the CIM Orchestra at Severance at 7:30
•Almanac & interesting read: Daniel Barenboim, his projects promoting understanding between Israelis and Palestinians (Barenboim-Said Akademie and West-Eastern Divan Orchestra), and an article about how both are being tested by the Israeli-Hamas War
At noon, a Trinity Cathedral Brownbag Concert will feature The Somerset Trio (English hornist Danna Sundet, French hornist Mark Addleman, and pianist Elizabeth Etter) in music by Alexander Arutiunian, Valery Strukow, and Jan Koetsier. A freewill offering will be taken up. See program details and catch the livestream here.
And at 7:30 at Severance Music Center’s Mandel Concert Hall, guest conductor Anthony Parnther will lead the CIM Orchestra in Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Ballade in a, Jan Sibelius’ Violin Concerto featuring Yumiko Yumiba as soloist, and Dmitri Shostakich’s Symphony No. 5. Tickets are available here.
ALMANAC & INTERESTING READ:
On this date last year, Daniel Barenboim’s 80th birthday was clouded with the news that he would be taking time off due to a neurological condition. In January those health issues resulted in his resignation as General Music Director of the Berlin State Opera after serving in that position for 30 years.
The good news is that now, with the pianist-conductor turning 81, he is back onstage, albeit with a schedule that has been greatly pared down. From November 25 through December 1, he will lead the Staatskapelle Berlin (the resident orchestra of the Berlin State Opera) on tour in Toronto, Chicago, and New York City.
And last month, he led the Orchestra of the Barenboim-Said Akademie — which aims to bring together students from across the Middle East — in a concert at their home-base hall, the Frank Gehry-designed Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin (below). It was the ensemble’s first performance since the outbreak of the Israeli-Hamas War.
The Academy has its roots in the Seville-based West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, founded in 1999 by the Argentine-Israeli Barenboim and Palestinian scholar Edward Said, and recognized by the United Nations for its goal of promoting understanding between Israelis and Palestinians.
As Barenboim told The Guardian in an interview in 2008, it would not be quite correct to say that the Divan aims to bring peace to the Middle East.
It’s not going to bring peace, whether you play well or not so well. The Divan was conceived as a project against ignorance. A project against the fact that it is absolutely essential for people to get to know the other, to understand what the other thinks and feels, without necessarily agreeing with it.
Amidst the ongoing war, a recent article in The New York Times delves into the current atmosphere at the Academy. As Javier C. Hernández writes,
The scale of the conflict, the rapid spread of images of death and destruction on social media and the ubiquity of misinformation have made it harder to promote civil debate and to find common ground.
In an environment where Israelis, Palestinians, Iranians, Syrians, Egyptians, Lebanese and others study and live together, the war has prompted a reckoning. Some students, after heated debates with classmates over who is to blame for the carnage, have questioned whether they should even play music together in a time of war. Others say that music has brought them closer.
Hernández also touches on the Divan, noting that the war “has already tested friendships in the Divan orchestra and led some members to question whether they will take part when it reconvenes for its concert season next summer.”
Read the article here.
And click here to watch Barenboim, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, and soloist Kian Soltani play the Moderato from Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1, a performance that was part of the opening of the Barenboim-Said Akademie in 2016.