West-Eastern Divan Orchestra to Honor Pope’s Saint Day with Private Concert

At the personal invitation of Pope Benedict XVI, Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra will give a private concert before the Holy Father on July 11 to mark the Pontiff’s Saint Day. The concert will take place in the historic Palazzo Pontificio in the Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer residence near Rome. The concert, which takes place during the Divan’s Beethoven for All European tour, will include Beethoven’s Fifth and Sixth Symphonies.

Throughout his papacy, Pope Benedict XVI has advocated for mutual understanding among Jews, Christians and Muslims – all of which are Abrahamic religions that share common historical roots and an origin in the Middle East. The Pope’s message of exchange founded upon reciprocal respect is in harmony with that of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, whose members this year will come from Israel, Palestine, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Algeria, Tunisia, Iran, Turkey and Spain. Every year, these young musicians come together for summer workshops, guided by a shared desire to make music and made possible by a willingness to engage with the views and experiences of fellow musicians, each with personal ties to the current situation in the Middle East.