Performance Sunday, February 3, 2013 | 2 PM

West-Eastern Divan Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
As one of its members aptly puts it, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra is “a human laboratory that can express to the whole world how to cope with each other.” Established in 1999 as a workshop for young musicians from Israel, Palestine, and other Arab countries, the group is celebrated for its interpretations of Beethoven, which exude “youthful gusto and enthusiasm” (The Independent, London). On this program, it performs Beethoven’s symphonies nos. 2 and 9.


  • West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
  • Daniel Barenboim, Music Director and Conductor
  • Diana Damrau, Soprano
  • Kate Lindsey, Mezzo-Soprano
  • Piotr Beczala, Tenor
  • René Pape, Bass
  • Westminster Symphonic Choir
    Joe Miller, Conductor


  • Symphony No. 2
  • Symphony No. 9


  • West-Eastern Divan Orchestra

    For more than 10 years, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra has been a significant presence in the international music world. In 1999, Daniel Barenboim and the late Palestinian scholar Edward Said created the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra-an ensemble that brings together young musicians from Israel, Palestine, and various Arab countries in the Middle East. Its main goal is to make possible a dialogue between the various cultures through the experience of living and playing music together. Mr. Barenboim and Mr. Said named the orchestra and workshop after Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's collection of poems entitled West-Eastern Divan, a central work in the evolution of the concept of world culture.

    Throughout its existence, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra has proved time and again that music can break down barriers previously considered insurmountable. It demonstrates that bridges can be built to encourage people to listen to one another. Music by itself can, of course, not resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, but it can bring home the validity of life experiences and narratives on all sides. The only political aspect of the West-Eastern Divan's work is the conviction that there will never be a military solution to the Middle East conflict, and that the fates of Israelis and Palestinians are inextricably linked.

    The orchestra's repertoire expands beyond symphonic works to opera and chamber music performances. Concert highlights have included performances at Berlin's Philharmonie, Milan's Teatro alla Scala, Vienna's Musikverein, Moscow's Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Istanbul's Hagia Irene Museum, Paris's Salle Pleyel, Madrid's Plaza Mayor, and Buenos Aires's Teatro Colón, as well as a concert in honor of Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations in New York in December 2006. The orchestra is a regular guest at the BBC Proms and the Salzburg and Lucerne festivals.

    More Info

  • Daniel Barenboim

    Daniel Barenboim was born in Buenos Aires in 1942. He received his first piano lessons from his mother at age five. Later, he studied under his father, who would remain his only piano teacher. At the age of seven, he gave his first public concert in Buenos Aires. His international debut came three years later with concerts in Vienna and Rome, followed by performances in Paris (1955), London (1956), and New York (1957) under Leopold Stokowski. Since then, he has regularly toured Europe the United States, South America, Australia, and the Far East.

    Ever since his conducting debut in 1967 in London with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Mr. Barenboim has been in great demand with leading orchestras around the world. He was principal conductor of the Orchestre de Paris (1975-1989) and music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1991-2006). Upon his departure from the Chicago Symphony, the musicians of the orchestra named him honorary conductor for life. Since 1992, Mr. Barenboim has been general music director of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden. In 2000, the Staatskapelle Berlin appointed him principal conductor for life. With the opening of the 2007-2008 season, Mr. Barenboim began a close relationship with the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, where he regularly conducts opera and concert performances, and plays in chamber music concerts as "maestro scaligero." In the autumn of 2011, he was appointed music director of the famous opera house.

    In 1999, Mr. Barenboim, together with Palestinian literary scholar Edward Said, established the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. He also initiated a project for music education in the Palestinian territories, which includes the foundation of a music kindergarten as well as a Palestinian youth orchestra. He is the recipient of numerous awards honoring his peace efforts.

    Mr. Barenboim has published a number of books, including the autobiography A Life in Music and Parallels and Paradoxes, which he wrote together with Mr. Said. In the summer of 2008, his book Everything is Connected was published. Together with Patrice Chéreau, in December 2008 he published Dialoghi su musica e teatro. Tristano e Isotta.

    More Info

  • Diana Damrau

    Established as one of the world's leading coloratura sopranos, Diana Damrau continues to amaze audiences with her brillant voice and arresting stage presence. The 2012-2013 season sees her return to New York's Metropolitan Opera-where she has performed in 11 different roles since  2005-for a new production of Rigoletto, and her eagerly anticipated role debut as Violetta  (La traviata). Other current and upcoming highlights include performances as Violetta in Zurich, Lucia in Munich, and the lead role in the world premiere of Iain Bell's A Harlot's Progress in Vienna, as well as her role debuts as Amina (La sonnambula) and Juliette (Roméo et Juliette).

    As a member of the opera companies in Mannheim and Frankfurt, Ms. Damrau's career gained momentum between 1998 and 2002 with much-praised international guest appearances in coloratura roles such as Queen of the Night, Zerbinetta, and Adele (Die Fledermaus). She now regularly performs with Europe's most prestigious opera companies, including the Vienna State Opera; Festspielhaus Baden-Baden; the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Teatro alla Scala; Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona; and the Bavarian State Opera, where she scored a tremendous success with her rendition of the three soprano roles in a new production of Les contes d'Hoffmann in 2011. At the Salzburg Festival, she has been heard as Queen of the Night, Konstanze, Blonde, Fauno, and Susanna.

    A devoted concert and lieder singer, Ms. Damrau has given recitals with pianists who include Helmut Deutsch and Julius Drake at renowned venues such as Vienna's Musikverein, London's Wigmore Hall, and the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg. Her discography includes five solo discs on EMI / Virgin Classics that cover repertoire ranging from Salieri to Stravinsky.

    A native of Günzburg, Germany, Ms. Damrau studied voice with Carmen Hanganu in Würzburg and with Hanna Ludwig in Salzburg. She was awarded the title Bayerische Kammersängerin in 2007 and named Singer of the Year by Opernwelt magazine in 2008.

    More Info

  • Kate Lindsey

    In the 2011-2012 season, rising star mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Hänsel  in Hänsel und Gretel and Siébel in Faust,  and made her debuts at both the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and the San Francisco Opera as Zerlina in Don Giovanni. She also appeared in concert with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic (at the Hollywood Bowl), NDR Symphony Orchestra, and Prague Philharmonia. This summer, she makes her debut at the Aix-en-Provence Festival as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, and next season she returns to the Metropolitan Opera as Annio in La clemenza di Tito and to the Los Angeles Opera as Angelina in La Centerentola. She has also appeared at the Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Opéra de Lille, and the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées.

    Ms. Lindsey's growing repertoire includes Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Nicklausse in Les contes d'Hoffmann,  and Idamante in Idomeneo. She also created the title role in the premiere of Daron Hagen's Amelia at the Seattle Opera.  An accomplished concert singer, Ms. Lindsey sang the premiere performances of a new commission by John Harbison with James Levine and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She has also appeared with the New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, and The MET Chamber Ensemble (at Carnegie Hall), in addition to the Tanglewood and Mostly Mozart festivals. She has worked with many of the world's most distinguished conductors, including Emmanuelle Haïm, Lorin Maazel, David Robertson, and Franz Welser-Möst.

    A native of Richmond, Virginia, Ms. Lindsey holds a bachelor's degree from Indiana University and is a graduate of the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Her many awards include a prestigious 2011 grant from the Musique et Vin au Clos Vougeot festival, the 2007 Richard F. Gold Career Grant, the 2007 George London Award in memory of Lloyd Rigler, Lincoln Center's 2007 Martin E. Segal Award, and a 2006 Sullivan Foundation grant.

    More Info

  • Piotr Beczała

    Piotr Beczała is acknowledged as one of the most vocally exciting, impressive, and sought-after lyric tenors of our time. The Polish-born artist is repeatedly acclaimed by audiences and critics alike not only for the beauty of his voice, but also for his ardent commitment to each character he portrays.

    Mr. Beczała's 2012-2013 season begins with a return to the Teatro alla Scala, where he sings Rodolfo in La bohème, followed by performances as the Prince in Rusalka and a concert for the 20th anniversary of Theatre Wielki in Warsaw. In December, Mr. Beczała performed the "Christmas in Vienna" concerts at the Konzerthaus, and ended the year with a return to Dresden, where he sang the New Year's Eve concerts alongside Diana Damrau with Christian Thielemann at the Semperoper. Ms. Damrau is also his soprano partner in the Metropolitan Opera's new production of Verdi's Rigoletto,  in which Mr. Beczała is heard as Duca. Also at the Met, he stars as the title character in Gounod's Faust. Concerts with Valery Gergiev lead him to St. Petersburg, before singing the tenor part in Verdi's Requiem at Opéra Bastille in Paris. The season ends with more Verdi: In Munich, he sings Alfredo, before making his debut at the Arena di Verona in the same role. With the Vienna State Opera, Mr. Beczała sings Roméo in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette in a production by Jürgen Flimm and under the baton of Plácido Domingo.

    Mr. Beczała was born in Czechowice-Dziedzice in Southern Poland and received his initial vocal training at the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice, where he was given instruction by such illustrious singers as Pavel Lisitsian and Sena Jurinac. His first engagement was at the Landestheater Linz, and in 1997, he became a company member of the Zurich Opera, a distinction he still enjoys.

    More Info

  • René Pape

    René Pape, one of the world's leading basses, received his musical education in his native city of Dresden. He made his debut while still a student in 1988 at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden and has been a member of the company ever since. His roles include King Marke, King Heinrich, Wotan, Gurnemanz, Rocco, Sarastro, Figaro, Leporello, Don Giovanni,  Philip II, Faust/Mephisto,  and Boris Godunov. He has appeared at all of the major opera houses and concert halls in Europe, Japan, and the US, and at the Bayreuth, Glyndebourne, Lucerne, Orange, Salzburg, St. Petersburg White Nights, and Verbier festivals.

    He has made many TV appearances, as well as recordings and DVDs on the BMG, EMI, Deutsche Grammophon, and TELDEC labels under conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, Sir Colin Davis, James Levine, Sir Georg Solti, Antonio Pappano, and Valery Gergiev.

    Mr. Pape was profiled as part of the TV series Maestro for ARTE, and his film appearances include Sarastro and Sprecher in The Magic Flute, directed by Kenneth Branagh, and Der Freischütz (2009). At the Metropolitan Opera, he has performed in the live HD broadcast of Die Zauberflöte, a 2006 TV broadcast, and in many other productions. Mr. Pape's solo recordings include Gods, Kings, and Demons and a Wagner album with Staatskapelle Berlin and Daniel Barenboim released in 2011 for Deutsche Grammophon. He has won two Grammy Awards and was named Vocalist of the Year in 2002 by Musical America magazine. In 2007, he received the Opera News Award, and he was honored as a MET Meistersinger by the Metropolitan Opera Guild in October 2010.

    More Info

  • Westminster Symphonic Choir

    Recognized as one of the world's leading choral ensembles, the Westminster Symphonic Choir has recorded and performed with major orchestras under virtually every internationally acclaimed conductor of the past 77 years. Led by conductor Joe Miller, director of choral activities at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, the ensemble is composed of all the juniors and seniors and half of the graduate students at the college.

    The choir has performed Verdi's Requiem  11 times, including performances with The Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Eugene Ormandy in 1964 and 1965. Two other performances of the Requiem  have been televised: A 1980 concert with the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Zubin Mehta, was the first choral performance featured on a Live From Lincoln Center broadcast; a 2002 Great Performances broadcast, featuring the choir with the New Jersey Symphony and conductor Zdeněk Mácal, was a memorial observing the first anniversary of September 11.

    The choir has sung more than 350 performances with the New York Philharmonic alone. Recent seasons have also included concerts with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle, the Dresden Staatskapelle and Daniel Harding, the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and David Robertson, the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas, the Staatskapelle Berlin and Pierre Boulez, and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Mariss Jansons. The choir's 2012-2013 season includes Berg's Wozzeck with the London Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen, Villa-Lobos's Chôros No. 10 and Estévez's Cantata criolla with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and Gustavo Dudamel, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and Daniel Barenboim, and Mendelssohn's Elijah with the Westminster Festival Orchestra conducted by Dr. Miller.

    More Info


Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 (Presto)
Warner Classics

At a Glance

This concert pairs Beethoven's Second Symphony, a sprightly early work, with his Ninth, an epic late masterpiece. Beethoven's Second loosely adheres to the 18th-century Haydn-Mozart model, but also marks the point where Beethoven put himself on what he called a "new path" toward greater freedom and originality. Written when Beethoven was first experiencing terrifying symptoms of deafness, it nonetheless expresses uninhibited joy and exuberance. The Ninth, an iconic expression of human solidarity, exactly embodies the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra's mission of music as a unifying force. It is also one of the most technically innovative of all symphonies. Beethoven's large-scale fusion of vocal and symphonic writing—from the abyss of nothing in the opening to the "Ode to Joy" in the Finale—profoundly influenced not only the Romantics, but Mahler and the moderns as well.
Program Notes


Daniel Barenboim and West-Eastern Divan Orchestra: Beethoven for All

An Introduction to the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra

Funding for the Carnegie Hall Live broadcast series is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Part of