In 1999, Daniel Barenboim, together with the late Palestinian literary scholar Edward Said created a workshop for young musicians from Israel, Palestine and various Arab countries of the Middle East seeking to enable intercultural dialogue and to promote the experience of collaborating on a matter of common interest. Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said named the Orchestra and workshop after Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s collection of poems entitled “West-Eastern Divan”, a central work for the evolution of the concept of world culture.
The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra has proved that music can break down barriers previously considered insurmountable. Through its work and existence the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra demonstrates that bridges can be built to encourage people to listen to one another.
Whilst music by itself cannot resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, music grants the individual the right to express himself fully while listening to his or her neighbour.