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Dresden orchestra on Palestine tour

Press release:

Dresdner Sinfoniker
A concert tour to East Jerusalem and the West Bank
From the 30th of May until the 2nd of June the Dresdner Sinfoniker and the Italian conductor Andrea Molino will, for the first time, perform Symphony for Palestine by the Iranian composer and Kamancheh virtuoso Kayhan Kalhorin RamallahEast Jerusalem and Jenin.
“Symphony for Palestine” is an extraordinary collaboration between a German orchestra and Palestinian and Azerbaijani musicians. As the piece was composed especially for Palestine, and is dedicated to its people, it will be of particular relevance to perform it there.
Musically, Kayhan Kalhor’s “Symphony for Palestine” transcends as many borders as the concert tour, itself. It combines traditional Persian melodies and elements of Arabic folk music with the sound of a European string orchestra- accompanied by traditional Oriental instruments, such as Oud, Kamancheh or Qanun. The eclectic and multi-layered opus is stirring, full of both sorrow and hope.
“Symphony for Palestine” is dedicated to two Palestinians: Juliano Mer-Khamis, the murdered director of Jenin’s Freedom Theatre, as well as to the eleven-year old Ahmed Khatib, shot dead in 2005 by an Israeli soldier, who mistook the boy’s water pistol for an armed weapon. His story went around the world, because his parents donated Ahmed’s organs to five Israeli children.
The Italian conductor Andrea Molino is the tour’s artistic director. The Dresdner Sinfoniker will perform together with Mehri Asadullayeva (Kamancheh), Kamil Shajrawi (Arabic violin), Nermin Hasanova (Quanun), Emil Bishara (Oud) and Naif Serhan (Percussion).
“Symphony for Palestine” is sponsored by the ‘Kulturstiftung des Bundes’, the city of Dresden (department of culture and heritage), the ‘Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen’ as well as the ‘Kulturstiftung Dresden der Dresdner Bank’ and is a co-production of the ‘Dresdner Sinfoniker’ and Ben Deiß.
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  1. A noble yet revolutionary experiment in publicity for the “cause”, the content is inaccurate. The little boy with the toy gun was proven to be shot by the bullets of one of the Palastaenenser terror groups. I believe a movement should be added to tell the story of the Israel family of 5 who were knifed to death by Arab terrorists. The performance may raise a bit of dust as pr, but now when both Israel supported by the US and Syria and Iran are in a whose missle is biger than whose, this work of art, by a German orchestra will have no significance. I wonder if they will charge for tickets. I am stunned, shocked and bitterly disappointed the Dresden supports this.

    • Ann McCoy says:

      Cast Lead 1400 Palestinians killed, 13 Israeli one from friendly fire. The IDF kills about 10 Palestinans for every Jew killed. Your argument is embaressing.

      • No doubt, the tragedy is great for the whole world, but really the British are to blame. Long live Israel.

      • That’s because there were/are a lot of Palestinian terrorists — often running around in their civilian clothing and dresses so as to pretend they are just “ordinary civilians.”
        The Palestinians demand thousands of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for one live israeli abductee of a few dead Israeli soldier bodies. Therefore, it is the Palestinians themselves who are setting the “exchange rate.” Apparently the Palestinians don’t think they are worth very much at all.
        YOUR argument is embarrassing, Ann. Might you possibly be an anti-semite?

  2. Doron Salomon says:

    Juliano Mer-Khamis was murdered by the Palestinians,for being “too liberal”…

    • neil van der linden says:

      Mrs Salomon, was he murdered by ‘the’ Palestinians? Can you read what you wrote? ‘The’ Palestinians? Can you stand by this remark?

      Anyhow anytime somebody somewhere writes something that might be differ from the Israeli nationalist narrative, be sure that an army of writing guards is ready to pound it.

      The maths applied by some here seem quite inappropriate, as does the joke about Al Jazeera. (Where do you watch Al Jazeera, most US cable companies banned it.)

      And yes, Julio Mer-Khamis, half Jewish half Palestinian. So yes, apparently that is one of the points of the makers. And Julio Mer-Khamis did not do what he did because he agreed so much with the Israeli politics. And yes, he was murdered by a few radicalists on the Palestinian side.

      I am sure nobody of the people reacting here has ever heard of Kayhan Kalhor or his instrument the kemanche. And equally I am sure that they let their own ideology take over from their curiosity to find out

      (Kayhan Kalhor is one of the masters of Persian music, and belongs to a group of excellent musicians who meanwhile use their artistry to make a change, instead or always trying reconfirm ideological mantras from their armchair.)

  3. @Ann,

    The true heroes here are Ahmed Khatib’s parents who agreed to donate the organs of their dead child to others, irrespective of race. FWIW, young Ahmed was playing around and brandishing a realistic plastic weapon in the vicinity of real terrorists who were firing real, lethal bullets at Israeli soldiers.

    Viz. Cast Lead; since you started the statisics battle, you have to give Israel credit where it is due. Cast Lead had the lowest civilian to combatant casualty ratio in asymmetric conflict in the history of warfare, far fewer civilians than combatants [New Statesman]. The UN puts the “average” ratio at 3 civilians per combatant and Kosovo etc. were far worse. Nevertheless, Israel improved still further.

    In the latest round this year, there were so few civilian casualties that the desperate Palestinian propaganda machine had to serve up pictures of Syrian children to the gullible BBC. Oh, and before you parrot some “Stop the Occupation!” rhetoric I would just like to remind you that Gaza has a border with Egypt and there have been no Israeli soldiers in the Gaza strip for almost 8 years now (unless you count the kidnapping and subterranean incarceration of Gilad Shalit as “Israeli military presence”).

    Have you noticed how 8 years of non-occupation have turned the Gazans all peaceful and productive? Me neither. If only they would turn their Kassams into oboes and clarinets ..

  4. neil van der linden says:

    It is remarkable that with topics like this nobody talks about the musical aspect. Which probably indeed would be diferent in this case as most of the reades probably never heard about Kayhan Kalhor and maybe some are not planning to get to know more about classical Persian music.

    Meanwhile of course this project has a political meaning. Then we see that as soon as anybody raises a topic that might go against the Israeli nationalist mantra, all hell breaks loose.

    OK then, the history of hunting was never written by Lions. Although in recent years the Palestinian side has gotten more attention, it is still the Israeli narrative that is sacrosanct.

    Mr Jeremy, would you consider the revolt in the Warshaw ghetto as terrorism? And although in many respects further parallels fail, that is what Gaza is, a ghetto, of people cramped together, who for a large part were chased away from their land. And in this respect the fact that several Arab rulers at the time of the dispossession acted foolishly, without much real attention for the people who were chased away from their land, is just as irrelevant as the fact that the then Unitied Nations, a small group of mostly Western powers with a guilt complex after WWII decided ill-advisedly on the establishing of a Jewish state, without consulting any of the local inhabitants.

    In this light the Palestinian fighter might just as well be considered resistance fighters. Even if by now they have their deluded mantras too, in some cases. So it is about just what you consider as civilian and non-civilian. Resistance can be justified and why wouldnt there be a clear amount of justification in Palestinian resistance?

    After all it was the wise Leah Rabin who declared in conversation with Yasser Arafat that ‘we have all been terrorists’.

    Now does anybody have anything to say about the music of Kayhan Kalhor? Apart from working with the ‘superquartet’ of Iranian classical music, the others being Hossein Alizadeh, and father and son Mohammed Reza Shajarian and Homayoun Shajarian, he has done magnificent music projects with Indian raga master Shujaat Hussein Khan, and with the Brooklyn Rider string quartet, and I find his masterpiece a collage album from halfway the nineties, Night Silence Desert, which I regard as a sort of Sgt Pepper Landmark in Iranian music. He plays the Kemenche (a generic name for bowed string instruments of about violin size, but in this case a typical spike violin, known in Iraq as the djoze). Check some examples on youtube, and each album is available through Amazon. I would especially recommend Night Silence Desert, the cooperation with the string quartet on the other hand was rather a beginning.
    the full album

    • Jeremy says:

      Thanks for the link to the Silk Road Ensemble. The music is wonderful and very reminiscent of India.

      I’m not going to get drawn into a war of words here. When you can show me the fields and orchards, the beaches, hotels and resorts of the Warsaw ghetto, or point to a single death-camp transport or forced-labour factory in Gaza you can draw your disgusting parallels. If the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto were lobbing hand-grenades over the wall into kindergartens and markets you might have a point! FYI Gaza has the nicest beaches of the eastern Med in my opinion, or at least it did until 2005. I’m not sure Hamas would let my wife wear a swimming costume there any more.

      Thanks again for the music.

      • Extremely well said! Thank you so much. By the way, the beaches and orchards ARE beautiful in Eretz Yisroel too. Have ever waded in the Dead Sea with a view of Ein Gedi? Simply sumptuous. And of course MY Yerushalayim..other than that, every time a musician has work, an angel gets its wings.

      • Raymond Deane says:

        Again, disgusting propaganda that only degrades the person inflicting it on us – I’m referring to Jeremy and Helene. The former says he’s “not going to get into a war of words”, but then uses the most venomous and filthy weapon he can think of. As for Helene, she exposes herself with the words “Eretz Yisroel” – the language of diehard, atavistic Zionists. The “beaches and orchards” of Gaza would be fine had they not been polluted and poisoned by illegal Israeli munitions, so that generations of Gazans will be unable to live of fresh vegetables or healthy fish.

        • The sweetest compliment I ever had, ” a diehard” Zionist. Meantime you are the one inflictins shame upon yoursel and your kind. Too muc arab propoganda and certainly too much alazeera. Have you ever witnessed Israelis poison produce to keep Gazans from feeding themselves and their future kin?

          • neil van der linden says:

            I have several times tried to bring the debate back to the musical concept. However of course there is a political context, otherwise the orchestra would not go. In the context I might suppose that Helene has seen a little bit too less of Al Jazeera, or maybe you have never seen it.
            Meanwhile as the tour was supposed to start on May the 30th, is there any information on how it is going.
            For those who know a bit more of the Middle-East, it could be interesting to notice that the music is by an Iranian Sufi composer, so Shia, while the whole debate about Syria on the moment is reduced to a simplified rift between Shia and Sunni. Meanwhile I know that Kayhan Kalhor is a Sufi and certainly not a religious hardliner, in fact the opposite, and although he lives part of the time in Iran (and partly in Paris and New York) he is certainly not a pro-regime hardliner, on the – absolute – contrary.

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