Middle East Peace Orchestra

Biography

The Middle East Peace Orchestra is a unique collaboration between various ethnic groups of professional musicians, who are all connected to the Middle East. Henrik Chaim Goldschmidt founded the orchestra in 2003 inviting Arab and Jewish musicians to play the treasure of music of both great traditions, playing concerts for peace.

The musicians come from Israel, The Palestine areas, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Scandinavia and are all handpicked virtuosos representing the best of their traditions and furthermore they all have the courage to engage in this project.

The music performed has elements from Jewish "Klezmer", from Middle Eastern "Makam" and from the classical Arab music. The Orchestra has been received with the greatest enthusiasm by both audience and press since the very first concert.

The Orchestra made its World Premiere with 7 concerts in Scandinavia in January 2004 and has since been touring the World. It visits the greatest concert halls and the smallest places to spread the message of peace through music. The Orchestra has performed in great prestigious festivals, in the streets, in schools, at hospitals, with prisoners in jails, with refugee-children and everywhere there is a need for dialogue through music.

The public interest is enormous; a Swedish Film Company "CINergy Film" has made a full documentary about the project, the Danish National Radio and Television has covered the performances in Denmark and abroad. Back-up from official political authorities has been substantial with supportive letters from The Foreign Minister, The Cultural Minister and the Minister for Integration in Denmark.

Henrik Goldschmidt

Henrik Goldschmidt is solo oboist of the Royal Danish Orchestra. He is a member of The Danish Wind Octet, which won the Danish Chamber Music Competition’s First Prize in 1991 and a Grammy award for best classical release in 1993.

Henrik Goldschmidt has received a number of music awards, a. o. the Jakob Gade Award in 1983 and the Royal Danish Theatre Award in 1994. His EMI recording “Phantasy –music for Oboe” from 1996 was for eight successive weeks voted no. 1 album on “The Classical Hit List” of the Danish Radio Broadcast Company. In 2010 he received the H. C. Lumbye prize for his great musicianship and his ability to reach out to large audiences.

Goldschmidt has performed with leading orchestras including The Berlin Philharmonic and has been selected to represent his country in The World Symphony Orchestra. As a Jewish musician Goldschmidt’s playing has been described as “the best klezmer oboe playing in the world”. He has founded “Shlechte Kapelle” and “Klezmer Zahav” and thus he has introduced the oboe into a completely new context.

Goldschmidt composes contemporary Jewish music and has written music for his bands, for films, theatre plays and special occasions like the opening of the Jewish Museum in Denmark.

Calendar

Middle East Peace Orchestra's appearance world wide.

Click on the date to get in-depth concert information.

Repertoire

Will be annouced at the concert

Review

Concert at The Royal Theatre, Copenhagen
Politiken, Anders Jerichow
10 March 2006
If the world were a good place it would be like the Middle East Peace Orchestra. The orchestra is a group of lovely musicians - Arabs and Jews - who have decided that peace is a personal responsibility. They played a concert at the Royal Opera; old music with a wildly energetic, almost futuristic sound. The stage rocked, the hall rocked, and for a moment one truely and fully believed that the world was a perfect place to spend one's life. We heard and learned that one can choose to play and dance instead of waiting for their governments to make peace. That different languages is no hindrance in singing the same tune. That Jews and Muslims and Christians play beautifully together - if they want to. And that different rhythms and contrasting cultures can make harmony and sound even more exciting together. An encouraging lesson: Iranians are more than militant priests. Many good things to remember: Shokre Shahrzad danced so engagingly, so intensively that the dance could triumph over any allatoyah. When a Jewish cantor and a Lebanese singer can sing so beautifully together, the hizbollahs, settlers and other bogeymen are welcome to hear their own exit music. Worth to remember: that both strong and weak instruments are needed to form the full sound picture. Without the fine oboe, the quiet flute and the energetic violin, the Middle East Peace Orchestra would not work. The musicians in the band decide for themselves if they want to be a soundingboard for their respective governments' activities or if they want to play and give the music the chance despite prejudices, across borders, in spite of armed conflicts, cartoon troubles and burning embassies. The Middle East Peace Orchestra should be on the state budget. The band should play at the opening of the parliament session and the United Nations' general assembly. It ought to play in Damaskus, on the West Bank, in Israel and the execution square in Riyadh. And the listeners can reflect. The music is strongly committing.
When Mahler Came to the Middle East
Kristeligt Dagblad
17 March 2012
It is no secret that Henrik Goldschmidt is one of Denmark's most exciting musicians.As principal oboe in the Danish National Symphony Orchestra he has indisputably put his mark on one of the country's best orchstras. But he is more than a reliable soloist in the great symphonies. Monday evening he stood in front of the Middle East Peace Orchestra on Gammel Scene, Royal Opera in a concert which had the title "Mahler in the Middle East". The idea was to use familiar excerpts from Mahler's symphonies as a starting point for a marvellous mixture of Arab and Jewish music, added certain jazz passages and classical quotes. One did not hear Mahler only but also two other Jewish composers; Felix Mendelssohn and Leonard Bernstein. And suddenly we also heard Mozart - the famous introduction to the G minor Symphony - performed with a catching joy of music which was prevailing throughout the concert. There were 10 musicians on stage. Nine were seated and Henrik Goldschmidt, who darted about the stage in his conductor role, when he was not sitting on his concert master chair playing oboe, clarinet or recorder, or gave his fellow musicians encouraging shouts or mixed with the other singers. Fatma Zidane was the most prominent vocalist, who with her beautiful voice filled the old theatre room with a middle eastern atmosphere. The other musicians contributed to the very successful concert, which took place by invitation from the European Broadcasting Union and was transmitted directl in Danish Radio and all over Europe via EBU. The musicians moved unpredictably in and out of the Mahler melody pattern, and here it was a great asset to have such competent brass playes as trumpet Karl Husum and the musical handyman David M.A.P. Palmquist, who not only played the French Horn - in a beautiful duet with Husum - but he also played Middle Eastern instruments and the upright piano. During lengthy passages the middle eastern was dominating to a degree that one could imagine one was sitting on a café in an Israeli or Arab village, wondering if a waiter would soon appear with a cup of coffee. The concert ended as gently as it began, with the opening theme from the third movement of Mahler's symphony no. 1, where double bassist Oliver Lunn Stahl got the last fading tone.
When Mahler Came to the Middle East
Kristeligt Dagblad
17 March 2012
It is no secret that Henrik Goldschmidt is one of Denmark's most exciting musicians.As principal oboe in the Danish National Symphony Orchestra he has indisputably put his mark on one of the country's best orchstras. But he is more than a reliable soloist in the great symphonies. Monday evening he stood in front of the Middle East Peace Orchestra on Gammel Scene, Royal Opera in a concert which had the title "Mahler in the Middle East". The idea was to use familiar excerpts from Mahler's symphonies as a starting point for a marvellous mixture of Arab and Jewish music, added certain jazz passages and classical quotes. One did not hear only Mahler but also two other Jewish composers; Felix Mendelssohn and Leonard Bernstein. And suddenly we also heard Mozart - the famous introduction to the G minor Symphony - performed with a catching joy of music which was prevailing throughout the concert. There were 10 musicians on stage. Nine were seated and Henrik Goldschmidt, who darted about the stage in his conductor's role, when he was not sitting on his concert master chair playing oboe, clarinet or recorder, or gave his fellow musicians encouraging shouts or mixed with the other singers. Fatma Zidane was the most prominent vocalist, who with her beautiful voice filled the old theatre room with a middle eastern atmosphere. The other musicians contributed to the very successful concert, which took place by invitation from the European Broadcasting Union and was transmitted directly in Danish Radio and all over Europe via EBU. The musicians moved unpredictably in and out of the Mahler melody pattern, and here it was a great asset to have such competent brass playes as trumpeter Karl Husum and the musical handyman David M.A.P. Palmquist, who not only played the french horn - in a beautiful duet with Husum - but he also played Middle Eastern instruments and the upright piano. During lengthy passages the Middle Eastern influence was dominating to a degree that one could imagine one was sitting on a café in an Israeli or Arab village, wondering if a waiter would soon appear with a cup of coffee. The concert ended as gently as it began, with the opening theme from the third movement of Mahler's symphony no. 1, where double bassist Oliver Lunn Stahl got the last fading tone.

Discography

Live at The Black Diamond, Copenhagen

Press Service

Photo: Rhonda Poulsen

Photo: Rhonda Poulsen

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