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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 August, 2003, 12:43 GMT 13:43 UK
Arab date for mixed orchestra
Daniel Barenboim [right] with his son during
Barenboim [right] frequently uses his music to challenge Israelis

Pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim is to take his orchestra of Arab and Israeli musicians to Rabat, Morocco, for a concert on Sunday.

It will be the ensemble's first performance in an Arab country.

Barenboim will conduct the 80-strong group in the city's Mohamed V Theatre as they perform Beethoven's Third Symphony and Mozart's Concerto for Three Pianos.

The conductor said he hoped the concerts would help to cement friendship, peace and security between Palestinians and Israelis.

He said: "Morocco has always been one of the most active Arab countries in the process of peace among Palestinians and Israelis."

Criticism

The orchestra, called the the West-Eastern-Divan project, grew out of the Three Cultures of the Mediterranean Foundation, which has the kings of Morocco and Spain as its patrons.

The conductor attracted criticism in Israel for giving recitals in the West Bank earlier this month.

But he says his concert was not about politics, but about using music to bridge the divide between Israelis and Palestinians.

Barenboim has conducted and remains linked closely with many of the world's leading orchestras.

In 1991 he took over from Sir Georg Solti as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and also served as director of the Israel Festival from 1971-73.

He has been general musical director of Berlin's flagship opera house, the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, since 1992.

The house orchestra, the Staatskapelle Berlin, voted him their chief conductor for life in late 2000.




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