The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra was conceived in 1999 by Daniel Barenboim and the late Palestinian academic and writer, Edward Said as a workshop for young musicians from Israel, Palestine, and other various countries.
|Conductor Barenboim slams Israel after musician barred from entering Gaza|
|By The Associated Press|
Conductor Daniel Barenboim criticized Israel on Monday for preventing a Palestinian musician in an ensemble that was to perform at a music festival from entering the Gaza Strip for a concert.
Barenboim said his group of about 20 musicians from England, the United States, France and Germany, as well as the Palestinian musician, had been authorized by Israeli authorities to travel to Gaza for a baroque music festival, where they were to play on Sunday.
But the 27-year-old was stopped at the Israel-Gaza border and told that he needed individual permission to enter. The group was held for seven hours at the border, and subsequently canceled the concert in solidarity.
"A baroque music concert in a Roman Catholic church in Gaza - as we all know - has nothing to do with security and would bring so much joy to people who live there in great difficulty," Barenboim said.
The Jewish conductor, who was born in Buenos Aires but grew up in Israel, called on the Israelis to support humanitarian and cultural projects in the Palestinian Authority.
Barenboim has for years been critical of Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians.
In 1999, he founded the WestEastern Divan Orchestra for youths from around the Middle East.
Daniel Barenboim's biography (from his website)
Read: Acceptance Speech on being awarded the Prize ‘Mutual Understanding and Tolerance’