West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
The Annual Isaac Stern Memorial Concert
Part of: Carnegie Hall Live on WQXR
West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
Daniel Barenboim, Music Director and Conductor
Miriam Manasherov, Viola
Kian Soltani, Cello
R. STRAUSS Don Quixote
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 5
SAINT-SAËNS "The Swan" from The Carnival of the Animals (arr: Lahav Shani)
ELGAR "Nimrod" from Enigma Variations, Op. 36
WAGNER Prelude to Act I of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
Event DurationThe printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission. Please note that there will be no late seating before intermission.
Emerging Israeli artists at Carnegie Hall are supported, in part, by the Sir Jack Lyons Charitable Trust.
The Trustees of Carnegie Hall gratefully acknowledge the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Richard A. Debs in support of the 2018-2019 season.
Public support for Carnegie Hall Live on WQXR is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.
UBS is the Principal Partner of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.
At a Glance
This concert presents orchestral works by two 19th-century symphonic masters at the height of their powers. Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony has become a universal emblem of struggle against adversity. Based on a chorale-like theme intoned at the beginning, it begins forlornly and moves toward optimism and affirmation. Many believe that it represents Tchaikovsky’s struggles with his homosexuality and fear of being outed. Nonetheless, the luscious horn solo in the slow movement, the charming waltz (based on a street singer’s song the composer heard in Florence), and the exultant major-key transformation of the chorale in the Finale depict a triumph over anxiety and trauma that Tchaikovsky was able to work out in his music, if not in his life. Strauss’s Don Quixote, a tone poem that spotlights solo viola and cello, is more mercurial and fantastical, as a portrait of Don Quixote should be. It has some of Strauss’s most soaring orchestral crescendos, but also his most delicate and subtle effects. Strauss meant it to be a companion piece to the far heavier and more aggressive Ein Heldenleben, in which Strauss himself is the hero.
West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
For almost 20 years, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra has been a significant presence in the international music world. In 1999, Daniel Barenboim and the late Palestinian literary scholar Edward Said created a workshop for young musicians from Israel, Palestine, and several Arab countries to promote coexistence and intercultural dialogue. They named the orchestra 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.
The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra has proved time and again that music can break down barriers previously considered insurmountable. The only political aspect that prevails in the work of the orchestra is the conviction that there is no military solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, and that the destinies of Israelis and Palestinians are inextricably linked. Through its work and existence, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra demonstrates that bridges can be built to encourage people to listen to the narrative of the other.
The orchestra’s repertoire extends beyond symphonic works to opera and chamber music. Concert highlights have included performances at the most prestigious venues in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. While the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra has become a regular guest at major international music festivals in Europe, one of its goals is to perform in the home countries of its members. Concerts in Rabat, Doha, Abu Dhabi, and Ramallah have been steps towards fulfilling this aspiration. In December 2006, the orchestra performed in honor of Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations in New York, and in October 2015, it performed a Concert for the Understanding of Civilizations and Human Rights at the United Nations’ headquarters in Geneva. Mr. Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra have received numerous prestigious awards for their work. In September 2007, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon named Mr. Barenboim a United Nations messenger of Peace, and in February 2016 he designated the orchestra as a UN Global Advocate for Cultural Understanding. The orchestra has released a number of highly acclaimed CDs and DVDs. Visit west-eastern-divan.org for more information.
Daniel Barenboim was born in Buenos Aires in 1942 and 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. In 1952, he moved with his parents to Israel.
Mr. Barenboim made his international debut at age 10 with concerts in Vienna and Rome, followed by performances in Paris in 1955, London in 1956, and New York in 1957 under Leopold Stokowski. Since then, he has regularly toured Europe, the US, South America, Australia, and the Far East.
Since making 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 from 1975 to 1989 and music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1991 to 2006. Upon his departure from Chicago, 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 chief conductor for life. In the 2007–2008 season, Mr. Barenboim began a close relationship with the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, and between 2011 and 2014 was music director of the famous opera house.
In 1999, Mr. Barenboim founded the Western-Eastern Divan Orchestra together with Palestinian literary scholar Edward Said. Each summer, this project brings together young musicians from Israel, Palestine, and the Arab world. The orchestra seeks to foster a dialogue between the various cultures of the Middle East by way of the experience of making music together. Musicians from the Staatskapelle Berlin have contributed to this project as mentors from the beginning.
Since 2015, talented young musicians from the Near East have studied at the Barenboim-Said Akademie in Berlin, another initiative of Mr. Barenboim. In the fall of 2016, this academy for music and humanities began a four-year bachelor’s program for up to 90 students in the renovated and remodeled former scenery depot of the Staatsoper. This building also houses the Pierre Boulez Saal, designed by Frank Gehry, which has enriched Berlin’s musical life since its opening in March 2017.
Mr. Barenboim is the recipient of numerous awards honoring his peace efforts, and has published a number of books, including the autobiography A Life in Music and Parallels and Paradoxes, which he wrote together with Mr. Said.
Visit danielbarenboim.com for more information.
Miriam Manasherov was born in Israel in 1981 and received her first violin lessons with Luba Shochat at age eight. After graduating from the Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts, she joined the Israel Defense Forces as part of the Excellent Musicians Unit, where she was part of a quartet that later became known as the Rosso Quartet. That same year, she began taking viola lessons with Yuri Gandelsman at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music and Tel Aviv University; in 2003, she started her studies with Barbara Westphal at the Lübeck Academy of Music. In addition to performing at the Konzerthaus Berlin, Ms. Manasherov has appeared with the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, and WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne. She has performed at many festivals, including Verbier, Schleswig-Holstein, Prussia Cove, Rolandseck (Germany), and Kfar Blum (Israel). Ms. Manasherov was the winner of a chamber music competition at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, and has received scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). After almost a decade in Germany, she now lives in Tel Aviv.
Kian Soltani’s playing is characterized by a depth of expression, sense of individuality, and technical mastery, along with a charismatic stage presence and ability to create an immediate emotional connection with his audience. Invited by the world’s leading orchestras, conductors, and recital promoters, he has been propelled from rising-star status to one of the most talked about cellists performing today.
In the 2018–2019 season, Mr. Soltani makes debuts with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Staatskapelle Berlin, London Philharmonic Orchestra, and National Symphony Orchestra. He also returns to the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich and appears as the soloist on the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra’s US tour with Daniel Barenboim. Last month, he commenced his season-long residency with the Residentie Orkest.
In 2017, Mr. Soltani signed an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon; his first disc, Home—which features works for cello and piano by Schubert, Schumann, and Reza Vali—was released to international acclaim in February 2018. His recording of the Mozart piano quartets with Daniel and Michael Barenboim and Yulia Deyneka was released in August 2018.
Born in Bregenz in 1992 to a family of Persian musicians, Mr. Soltani began playing the cello at age four, and at age 12 he joined Ivan Monighetti’s class at the City of Basel Music Academy. He was awarded a scholarship from the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation in 2014, and completed his studies at Germany’s Kronberg Academy. Mr. Soltani plays a Giovanni and Francesco Grancino cello made in Milan in 1680, on generous loan from the MERITO Strings Instrument Trust.