West Eastern Divan Ensemble
Created by renowned conductor/pianist Daniel Barenboim and the late Palestinian scholar/author Edward Said in response to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the West-Eastern Divan Ensemble promotes intercultural dialogue by bringing together leading musicians from countries around the Middle East. An octet of players from the broader orchestra is coming to the US for the second time in its history, led by one of the world’s top violinists, Michael Barenboim.
Bringing lesser-known gems from the chamber repertoire, the ensemble explores the potential of the octet form. Louis Spohr utilizes the instrumentation as a ‘double quartet’, splitting the ensemble down the middle with contrasting lines but combining the quartets for moments of climax. Widmann examines the resonant possibilities of the solo violin in his first étude, describing it as a “compositional exercise” and a “restricted experimental ground”. Enescu’s Octet rounds out the program, a piece considered to be pioneering in the establishment of repertoire for this instrumentation.