Daniel Barenboim

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Sep 11 07:55:21 MDT 2002

NY Times, Sept. 11, 2002

'Moonlight' and Mendelssohn in the West Bank

RAMALLAH, West Bank, Sept. 10 — The old Steinway grand had seen better 
days, but when Daniel Barenboim drew the first nostalgic notes of 
Beethoven's "Moonlight" Sonata from it today, 200 neatly uniformed 
Palestinian students froze in delight.

Music, and especially music of this caliber from a live Israeli master, is 
not something that has often graced young lives more wrapped up in the 
daily misery of curfews, roadblocks, dangers and hatreds.

Mr. Barenboim, the famed conductor and pianist, seemed forgiving of the 
hoarse old instrument and the many television cameras with him on the 
stage. The music was a message, which he spelled out after an ecstatic 
ovation from the pupils.

"Each one of us has a responsibility to do what is right, and not to wait 
for others to do it," he said. "My way is music. What I can do is play 
music, play music for you, and maybe this way, in a very small way for 
these few moments, we are able to build down the hatred that is so much in 
the region."

His words sounded incontrovertible. But Mr. Barenboim's music has stirred 
some sharp debate in Israel, most memorably when he led a German orchestra 
in a piece by Wagner, Hitler's favorite composer, at an Israeli arts 
festival in July 2001. Many in the audience walked out, and Mr. Barenboim 
was accused of everything from insensitivity to "cultural rape."

Mr. Barenboim, who was born in Argentina, raised in Israel, and now divides 
most of his time between Berlin and Chicago, has also been vocal in his 
criticism of Israel's military crackdown on the Palestinians, often posting 
his views on his Web site, daniel-barenboim.com. In March, while Israeli 
troops were cracking down on Palestinian towns, Mr. Barenboim announced 
that he would give a concert in Ramallah, the Palestinian headquarters in 
the West Bank. The Israeli Army barred him from going, saying it could not 
guarantee his security, and the concert was canceled.

full: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/11/international/middleeast/11RAMA.html

Louis Proyect

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