Israel's Barenboim conducts first ever concert in Gaza
Argentinian-Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim for the first time led a concert in Gaza Tuesday, in solidarity with the Palestinians in the beleaguered coastal enclave, DPA reported.
The 68-year-old conductor and pianist travelled to Gaza in his capacity as a United Nations Messenger of Peace.
Welcomed with loud applause in Gaza's al-Mathaf Cultural House on the sea shore, he led a 25-member "Orchestra for Gaza" in playing Mozart in the early afternoon concert.
The orchestra was made up of distinguished musicians from the Staatskapelle Berlin, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Orchestre de Paris and the Orchestra of La Scala di Milano.
"We are very happy to come to Gaza," Barenboim said in a statement. "We are playing this concert as a sign of our solidarity and friendship with the civil society of Gaza."
The Jewish maestro, who lives in Berlin, is an outspoken critic of Israeli policies in the occupied territories and a supporter of Palestinian rights, and has said he hopes to promote peace and tolerance through the shared language of music.
Born in Buenos Aires, he emigrated to Israel as a boy and holds both Argentinian and Israeli passports, but was granted an honorary passport by the Palestinian Authority for his activities.
The former music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, together with Palestinian literary scholar Edward Said, in 1999 founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which brings together young musicians from Israel and Arab countries to promote dialogue, and which performed a ground breaking concert in Ramallah in 2005.
He also co-founded a project for music education in the Palestinian territories.