Daniel Barenboim

A citizen of two feuding lands, he uses music to foster peace in the Middle East

Oliver Mark / Agentur Focus for TIME

Daniel Barenboim's youth orchestra brings together Arab and Israeli musicians.


A classical-music conductor taking the podium always becomes a peacemaker of sorts. The central mission of conducting, after all, is to dispel discord and bring dozens of competing voices into concert. The Israeli maestro Daniel Barenboim, 65, sees in this act the opportunity to bring a deeper kind of harmony to one of the most violent and vociferous regions in the world: the Middle East.

In 1999 Barenboim started the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, a youth ensemble that draws together Israeli and Arab musicians, many from disputed territories. Its first concert that year was in Weimar, Germany, in the shadow...

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