Friday (4/17) on, Alaa Shahine reports, “Pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim mesmerized the crowd at the Cairo Opera House, and used his first performance in Egypt to renew his criticism of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. The 67-year-old conductor, who has Israeli citizenship and an honorary Palestinian Authority passport, played Beethoven’s Pathetique piano sonata and conducted the Cairo Symphony Orchestra performing Beethoven’s fifth symphony. … The Argentine-born Barenboim prides himself for trying to promote dialogue between Arabs and Israelis through music. He set up the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra with his friend, the late Palestinian-American writer Edward Said, bringing together young musicians from Israel as well as Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Tunisia. His views prompted the Palestinian Authority to grant him an honorary passport in 2007.” But some in the audience didn’t appreciate Barenboim’s political remarks during the program. Egyptian painter Samir Fouad was quoted in the article, saying, “As a musical concert it was excellent. I wanted the show to be just about music and that would have conveyed the message.”

Posted April 23, 2009