Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra at the Doha Festival for Music and Dialogue

Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra arrived in Doha, Qatar this week to prepare for a series of concerts and events as part of the Doha Festival for Music and Dialogue.  First on their schedule today was an open rehearsal of Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 ("Eroica") for Qatari public and private primary schoolchildren, most between the ages six and twelve, at the Qatar Opera House.   Following the rehearsal, Barenboim remarked: “This rehearsal showed once again that music, no matter when and where it was written, speaks to people all over world at any time. Those children today heard an orchestra play for the first time, they heard a symphony written over 200 years ago and they had so much joy, it was as if they heard something completely familiar to them, written today, in Qatar.”  

"It was an amazing sight: seeing these youngsters mesmerised by what Daniel was telling them about music," observed Mariam Said, who was in attendance and is the widow of the WEDO's co-founder, Edward Said.  "Even more amazing was a young girl who had confidence enough to say that she would like to play the flute. Daniel obliged by asking the first flute to play for her; she walked over and inquired about learning how to play that instrument.”  

This evening, Daniel Barenboim will give a talk with Al Jazeera’s Nick Clarke on "The Human Side of Music."  Tomorrow, May 12, WEDO musicians will visit a number of local schools, and in the evening a film about the orchestra, Knowledge is the Beginning, will be screened at the museum of Islamic Art and will be followed with a discussion.  On May 13, Barenboim and members of WEDO will present an evening of chamber music that includes works by Mendelssohn, Mozart, and several Arabic composers, and on May 14 Barenboim and the full orchestra will perform in a program highlighted by Beethoven's "Erocia" Symphony.   Both concerts take place at the Qatar Opera House. "We are very happy to be here," says Barenboim.  "These concerts have been called concerts for peace; but peace requires many other things. These are concerts to foster the understanding of the other.”


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