The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. Inside Stories


There is no orchestra like the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. I remember how surprised I was when I first experienced one of the WEDO’s specialities: someone in the winds just played a solo, it was beautifully phrased and shaped… and the entire orchestra, more than 100 Arab, Israeli and Spanish musicians, answered with a flood of kisses. Yes – they all kissed the air passionately, loud and frequent – greeting the beloved soloist. In other orchestras such gratitude is expressed by a gesture of rubbing the feet back and forth on the floor – not too loud, as not to disturb the conductor. Our conductor, Maestro Daniel Barenboim, has to live with the horrific noise of 100 loud Middle-Easterners kissing the air every few minutes. Because we do it not only when there is a nice solo, but also when someone jokes, plays a wrong note during a GP (General Pause)…

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