New York Times

German Orchestra to Bring ‘Symphony for Palestine’ to West Bank

8. Mai 2013

A few years in the making, a Middle East tour of a work called “Symphony for Palestine” will come to Ramallah, East Jerusalem and Jenin from May 30 through June 2, a German orchestra announced this week. The symphony and the tour are a collaboration between the Dresdner Sinfoniker with Palestinian and Azerbaijani musicians. The orchestra, performing with an international group of musicians and led by the Italian conductor Andrea Molino, will perform the symphony by the Iranian composer Kayhan Kalhor in concerts in each city. The symphony is dedicated to two people whose deaths drew international headlines, according to a statement from the Dresdner Sinfoniker. They are Juliano Mer Khamis, the Israeli-Palestinian actor and political activist who was the director of Freedom Theater, founded in the West Bank city of Jenin. He was killed in April 2011 by masked gunmen presumed by police to be Palestinian militants. Also being honored is Ahmed al-Khatib, a 12-year-old Palestinian from Jenin who was killed by an Israeli soldier in 2005 when the boy’s water pistol was mistaken for a real gun. The child’s parents donated his organs to several Israeli children.

Given the intensity of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Mirko Nowak, the press coordinator of the Dresdner Sinfoniker, said he nevertheless expected no problems entering Israel to perform the symphony. “We are in contact with the Israeli government,” Mr. Nowak said in a telephone interview on Wednesday. “We will enter from Israel, not Jordan.” The Dresdner Sinfoniker has been involved with contemporary Middle Eastern culture for several years. The initial “Symphony for Palestine” tour to the region was scheduled in summer of 2011 but was canceled at the last minute because of the murder of Mr. Mer-Khamis. Instead, the symphony had its premiere in Dresden in the summer of 2011, in collaboration with Palestinian, Iranian and Egyptian musicians, as well as Mr. Kalhor, the composer. The “Symphony for Palestine” collaboration joins other efforts to build bridges through music. Georg Solti’s World Orchestra for Peace and Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, both bring together players from different cultures and political persuasions.