Warner Classics is proud to announce that Paul Smaczny's moving documentary, "Knowledge is the Beginning" has been recognized with the 2006 International Emmy Award for Arts Programming. "Knowledge is the Beginning" is the story of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Barenboim, where young Arabs and Jews perform side by side. The program, filmed over the course of six years, illustrates how prejudices are overcome during rehearsals, concerts and the celebrations afterwards. The documentary is available as part of the Warner Classics DVD "Live in Ramallah," released earlier this year. The DVD (and CD release) also features the orchestra's historic concert in Ramallah last August. In reviewing the recording, the Cleveland Plain Dealer commented that the project "must be deemed a triumph for everyone involved ... the performances are elegant, detailed and electrifying ... The effort is noble beyond words, when sublime music-making takes over."
This news comes just weeks before the extraordinary ensemble makes its Carnegie Hall debut on December 19th, along with performances in Chicago (Harris Theater, December 17th), at Brown University in Providence (December 14-16th) and a special performance at the United Nations in honor of Kofi Annan on December 18th.
Maestro Barenboim and the orchestra will release their third recording for Warner Classics on December 5th. Beethoven's Ninth Symphony was recorded live in Berlin in August and features a stellar group of soloists: Angela Denoke, Waltraud Meier, Burkhard Fritz and René Pape. In this time of ongoing Middle-Eastern conflict, the symphony, with its famous "Ode to Joy," is offered as an inspiring synonym for peace. The new CD has already been called a "glowing, heartfelt performance" (London's Sunday Times).
A unique musical collaboration dedicated to further the cause of a peaceful co-existence in the Middle East, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra contains the finest young musicians under the age of 25 from both sides of the divide. The orchestra's first recording, Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony released in July 2005, was hailed by The Los Angeles Times as a "remarkable document ... there are no more meaningful performances, for our time."