Barenboim in Daily News Egypt

🙂 Dear-Arab-Readers > Section: Egypt-Normalization > Barenboim in Egyptian Media
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From Daily News Egypt

Written or Interviewed By Daniel Barenboim
Exclusive interview with Daniel Barenboim Apr 12, 2009 / By David Stanford
Israeli and Palestinian Feb 4, 2008 / By Daniel Barenboim
“Protecting” may be insulting Oct 11, 2006 / By Daniel Barenboim

During Barenboim’s FIRST visit to Egypt on Apr 16, 2009

A symphony of goodwill Apr 17, 2009 / By David Stanford
Sharif says those who criticize Barenboim are ‘idiotic’ Apr 14, 2009 / By Joseph Fahim
Exclusive interview with Daniel Barenboim Apr 12, 2009 / By David Stanford
Hosni making strides towards UNESCO bid Apr 7, 2009 / Yasmine Saleh

From 2006 to 2008

Arab-Israeli orchestra stops shows in Qatar, Egypt Jan 7, 2009 / By Daily New Egypt
Actress Charlize Theron appointed UN peace envoy Nov 17, 2008 / By AFP
The power of a Jewish-Muslim narrative Aug 18, 2008 / By Jan Hjärpe
Islamic finance in Tel Aviv? Aug 17, 2008 / By Ariel M. Ezrahi
CENSORED: Lebanon may be liberal, but… May 4, 2008 / By Rana Moussaoui
Slowly but surely, hearts are turning Apr 10, 2008 / By Dvir Abramovich
Back from Darfur, George Clooney takes on new role as UN messenger of peace Feb 1, 2008 / By John Heilprin
Music is a messenger for peace Sep 8, 2007 / By Cesar Chelala

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Sharif says those who criticize Barenboim are ‘idiotic’ Apr 14, 2009 / By Daily News Egypt, Joseph Fahim
CAIRO: Egyptian screen legend Omar Sharif referred to Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim a “friend of the Arabs” and said that those who criticize him are “idiotic.”
In response to the media frenzy surrounding Barenboim’s performance in Cairo,
Sharif defended the musician and said those who criticize him are only looking for publicity.
Sharif will introduce the world-renowned conductor and pianist at the Cairo Opera House’s Main Hall tomorrow.
“Mr Barenboim is a friend of the Arab people,” he told Daily News Egypt on Monday. “He’s gotten a passport from the Palestinian Authority because he’s trying to make good relations between Palestinians and the people in Israel he likes …
“I think we should encourage those [Israelis] who are willing to give a fair deal to the Palestinians.”
Barenboim, who holds Argentine, Spanish and Israeli citizenship, is known for his outspoken opposition to the Israeli government’s treatment of the Palestinian people. He was named Messenger of Peace by United Nations’ Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in 2007 for his work in finding peaceful solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Responding to recent accusations by Egyptian media that dubbed Barenboim’s concert an attempt to normalize relations with Israel, Sharif said, “It doesn’t matter what they say. I don’t follow the brains of idiotic people.
“One of the people who was most insulting to Barenboim, the one who’s most angry, is [popular TV host and journalist] Mahmoud Saad. … He [Saad] wrote a whole issue in Kawakeb magazine on my account, saying I was an Israeli spy. This guy wrote — in order that I don’t sue him — that [these allegations] were made by Edward Said to his very closest friends.
“I don’t understand what he wants. Barenboim was a friend of Edward Said, and he [Saad] should hate them both or love them both. What does he have to do with politics? Nothing at all.”

Sharif was approached by Egypt’s Culture Minister Farouk Hosni and Spanish Minister of Culture Cesar Antonio Molina to present Barenboim’s first performance in Egypt. Barenboim will conduct Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 performed by the Cairo Symphony Orchestra.
“I’m very fond of Mr Barenboim as a musician and as a person,” Sharif said. “He’s one of the greatest pianists in the world and one of the great conductors. I’m a great lover of classical music. I’ve attended several of his concerts in Paris when he was running the Opera in Paris.”
When asked whether he’s concerned about a possible media backlash resulting from his involvement in the concert, Sharif said; “I don’t care. I’m above these people. These people are small people. You don’t answer to small people. You’d spend all your life doing that. I have other things to think about.
“I’m not interested in small people who write in small papers. Who reads these papers apart from in Egypt and in some desert somewhere? Nobody. However, everyone has his opinion; it doesn’t bother me at all.
“I’m never concerned about any backlash. I do what I believe is right. You have to do what you believe in.”

There’s been a near local media blackout regarding Barenboim’s achievements and his great support to the Palestinian cause. Sharif said those responsible for withholding this information from the public are “making publicity for themselves. They’re trying to make friends with the extremists so that they’d never get killed. I’m not afraid to be killed. They’re afraid.”

A symphony of goodwill Apr 17, 2009 / By Daily News Egypt, David Stanford
CAIRO: “Normalization in the Middle East is not a good thing. I don’t accept normalization; I’m against normalization because we don’t want to let things stay the same.”
With these brief, frank words, prominent Israeli pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim silenced his critics following one of the most astounding classical performances the Cairo Opera House has ever witnessed.
Thursday night’s performance at the Cairo Opera House went without a hitch and the audience was moved to give a long standing ovation. Among them were Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni, and veteran Egyptian actor Omar Sharif, who introduced Barenboim.
At the end of the evening, Barenboim took a final opportunity to address his critics, including those in the Egyptian media who had characterized the appearance of an Israeli musician in Egypt as an act of “normalization” with Israel.
“Those who did not want me here tonight didn’t want me because they think that I represent something I do not,” he said. “I’m sick to my stomach when I wake up every day to see the Palestinian territories still occupied. And I’m not saying that for some cheap applause.”
The arrival in Cairo this week of Barenboim was met by a flurry of excitement among the Egyptian media.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Barenboim, who holds both Israeli and Palestinian passports, had held forth on his hopes for greater understanding between Arabs and Jews, and defended his visit to Egypt as an attempt to build bridges and heal wounds. The following day, however, the virtuoso musician had shifted his attention to his key musical mission, namely to conduct the Cairo Symphony Orchestra in a concert at the Opera House on April 16.
At the final rehearsal before the performance, the orchestra’s respect for their conductor was palpable. As the musicians finished tuning their instruments, an expectant hush fell over the concert hall. Raising his baton, Barenboim led the orchestra in an apparently faultless opening section, testimony to the quality of the players, who are themselves drawn from many nations.
Earlier in the week, Barenboim said he had been impressed with the results of his first rehearsal on Wednesday morning. “I found the orchestra full of curiosity and goodwill,” he said.
Barenboim’s choice of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony had prompted one journalist at the press conference to enquire why he had selected a work from the famous German composer, rather than something from an Austrian. The conductor’s visit had been arranged by the Spanish and Austrian embassies in Cairo, and Barenboim had previously pointed out that 80 percent of classical music played around the world these days came from Austria.
His somewhat mischievous response to the question raised a few giggles. Austria, he said, was guilty of a degree of “musical imperialism,” adopting various key composers as products of their own rich culture. Beethoven was himself born in Germany, but later moved to the Austrian capital of Vienna, a hub of musical creativity in Continental Europe of the 18th century.
Perhaps the key reason for selecting Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is its worldwide fame, even among those unfamiliar with classical music. The opening phrase is a dramatic short-short-long motif, charged with energy, and adapted to use in numerous works in other genres, from disco to rock and roll. The symphony is one of the most often performed in concert halls worldwide, and therefore also something of a safe bet for a conductor paying a flying visit to a lesser-known orchestra.
Rehearsing with one of the world’s leading conductors is not all plain sailing, of course. Shifting from section to section, Barenboim critiqued the phrasing and corrected errors of emphasis. From time to time, an individual was singled out for special attention.
One member of the wind section was pulled up for his tendency to deviate from the group effort. “You play wonderfully, but you play outside of the orchestra,” said the conductor.
At one point, it seemed that rehearsals might come to an abrupt end, as Barenboim threatened to down tools in response to some apparently erratic drumming from the Russian tympani player. Barenboim berated him in English for a while, suggesting that he played “brutally and always head,” then switched to the drummer’s native language to continue the critique. Finally, he used his baton to demonstrate how a drummer’s stick ought to be wielded.
Ten minutes later, playing had resumed, and the rehabilitated musician was praised for his “excellent” work.
Barenboim puts much of his success as a conductor down to the fact that he continues to perform as a musician in his own right, giving frequent solo piano recitals. Indeed, he had agreed to open Thursday’s concert with a solo work to be announced on the night.
Once the orchestral rehearsal was at an end and the hall cleared of stragglers, he settled down to practice on the grand piano, assessing the instrument’s feel and sound. Only once he had done so, he said, would he make his choice of music. In the end, he settled on another famous and much-loved work from Beethoven, the Sonata Pathétique.

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Hosni making strides towards UNESCO bid Apr 7, 2009 / By Daily News Egypt, Yasmine Saleh

CAIRO: In a statement welcoming Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim to perform in Cairo, Egypt’s Culture Minister Farouk Hosni is making strides in his campaign to head UNESCO, analysts say.
In a press statement sent to Daily News Egypt, Hosni said that Barenboim is known for advocating peace in the Arab world, and opposes Israel’s policies towards Palestine.

Nabil Abdel Fattah, political analyst at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said Barenboim’s concert marks “a change in Hosni’s policy — which opposed normalization with Israel.”
While admitting that “Barenboim is a man of peace,” and that the concert is key to creating a dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian intellectuals, Abdel Fattah said that the change in policy will help Hosni’s campaign to become UNESCO’s secretary general.

Hosni said that while he still opposes normalization with Israel, he promises to be objective should he become UNESCO’s director.
While he is currently “dealing with Israel as an Egyptian, Arab minister and intellectual,” the statement said his approach will change with the new position.
He added that normalization cannot be reached unless peace is achieved between Israel and the Arab world.
Hosni further explained that the chairperson is not the only decision maker in UNESCO and that executive board members are involved as well.

Abdel Fattah said that as UNESCO head, Hosni is obliged to be objective and that it is not his personal choice.

Barenboim was invited by the Austrian Embassy in Egypt to perform in the Cairo Opera House on April 16. The 66-year-old Argentinean-born conductor’s concert was originally scheduled for last January, but was canceled after the 23-day Israeli assault on Gaza.
Barenboim was criticized by Israeli politicians when he attacked their policies during a special event that the Knesset held to award Barenboim the prestigious Wolf Prize in 2004.
“Barenboim’s anti-Israel statements led the Israeli Minister of Culture to revoke his Israeli citizenship, and he is currently living in Germany,” Hosni said.
In January 2008, Barenboim was given an honorary Palestinian citizenship.

Barenboim’s concert is not the first to stir controversy because of its affiliation with Israel.
In 2008, “The Band’s Visit,” an Israeli movie about an Egyptian police band’s visit to Israel, was rejected by the Cairo International Film Festival, and some Egyptian actors boycotted the Abu Dhabi Film Festival after it allowed the screening of the movie.
In 2007 “Salata Baladi” (Oriental Salad) the directorial debut of Nadia Kamel, stirred controversy when it was shown at the Goethe Institute in Downtown Cairo.
In the movie Kamel tackles her Palestinian family’s roots that are torn between Israel and Palestine.

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