Suraj Yengde Lecture

Event Date

2203 SS&H Andrews Confernce Roon

* Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet in A-major
* Prayer – Tribute to Edward Said by Kinan Azmeh
* An exclusive screening of footage from Knowledge is the Beginning, a documentary film about the Orchestra
* An intimate conversation with the ensemble of musicians about their experiences with creative collaboration and political
engagement through music and performance.

Founded in 1999 by Palestinian-American literary theorist Edward Said and Jewish composer conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra seeks to enable a dialogue between the various cultures of the Middle East and to promote this through the experience of making music together. Based in Seville, Spain, and Berlin, Germany, the orchestra consists of an equal number of Israeli and Arab musicians, together with a group of Spanish musicians.

The orchestra will perform Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet in A Major (K. 581) and Prayer – A Tribute to Edward Said, a solo clarinet piece by Kinan Azmeh. The performance will be framed by a screening of excerpts from “Knowledge is the beginning,” a short documentary about the orchestra, and a roundtable discussion with orchestra members discussing their experiences of creative collaboration and political engagement through music and performance.

The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra has proved time and again that music can break down barriers previously considered insurmountable. The only political aspect underpinning the West-Eastern Divan’s work is the conviction that there will never be a military solution to the Middle East conflict, that the destinies of the Israelis and Palestinians are inextricably linked, and that bridges can be built to encourage people to listen to one another.

Since its founding the orchestra has performed in the most prestigious venues and festivals all over Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East. Its first Asian Tour to China and Korea is scheduled for 2011. Many of its concerts are released on CD, and the documentary “Knowledge is the beginning” has won several international film awards, among them an International Emmy in 2006. Daniel Barenboim’s and the orchestra’s work has been honored with many awards, most recently the Westfalian Peace Prize in October 2010.

The orchestra will also be performing in the closing ceremonies of the Governor’s Summit on Climate Change, hosted at UC Davis on November 15-16.

This event is co-sponsored by the UC Davis Humanities Institute, the Department of Music, the Jewish Studies Program, the Middle East/South Asian Studies Program, the Religious Studies Program, the Office of Campus Community Relations, and The Hate-Free Campus Initiative.

For more information about this event, contact: Carolyn de la Peña at