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Benjamin Attahir -

Benjamin Attahir - "Jawb"

Next February 19 at the Harris Theater in Chicago, the Ensemble of the famous West-Eastern Divan Ensemble founded by Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said will premiere Jawb by Benjamin Attahir which will be played throughout the entire North American tour of the ensemble. with a passage from the legendary Carnegie Hall in New York. The composer brings us some clarifications on his work:


Could you describe the work's structure and shape?

This piece, unlike my usual creations, does not resort to formal structures. It is a question here of creating a long musical crossing based on restricted material always presenting itself under a different aspect. Thus, the music advances from one place to another, without the possibility of returning, places secretly linked by their essence.

The instrumental formation is also surprising, between a quartet and a string orchestra. Could you describe it more precisely?

The string octet is a very special object. Indeed, it can be interpreted in two ways; as a small string orchestra or as a double quartet with a more "solistic" essence. I began with the second idea, except that I placed the first violin at the front of the stage, like a character who in turn leads and comments on the action.

This piece will have North American and then European premieres this year? Could you tell us a little more about the circumstances of its composition and its sponsors? Your catalogue is enriched from season to season with large format works - is this latest work somehow connected to one or the other of these pieces?

This score was born from a desire to extend a musical and human friendship. When Michaël Barenboim suggested that I write for a group that would consist of musicians from the West Eastern Divan Orchestra, it immediately echoed a number of issues that are close to my heart. We also imagined the position of the main violin, which Michaël already embodies within the orchestra, a fundamental position in the internal organisation of the work. I have the honour and the chance of being performed throughout their American tour, a great first for me!


World Premiere
19 February 2020, West-Eastern Divan Ensemble, Michael Barenboim, Harris Theatre (Chicago)
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23 February 2020, West-Eastern Divan Ensemble, Michael Barenboim, Kravis Center Dreyfoos Hall (West Palm Beach)
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24 February 2020, West-Eastern Divan Ensemble, Michael Barenboim, Arsht Center Knight Hall (Miami)
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25 February 2020, West-Eastern Divan Ensemble, Michael Barenboim, Krannert Center Foellinger Hall (Champaign)
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26 February 2020, West-Eastern Divan Ensemble, Michael Barenboim, U.Michigan Rackham Auditorium (Ann Arbor)
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27 February 2020, West-Eastern Divan Ensemble, Michael Barenboim, Washington Performing Arts JFK Terrace Theatre (Washington DC)
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28 February 2020, West-Eastern Divan Ensemble, Michael Barenboim, Carnegie Hall - Zankel Hall (New York)
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2 March 2020, West-Eastern Divan Ensemble, Michael Barenboim, Fine Arts Center (Amherst)
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4 March 2020, West-Eastern Divan Ensemble, Michael Barenboim, Stanford Univ. Bing Concert Hall (Stanford)
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6 March 2020, West-Eastern Divan Ensemble, Michael Barenboim, Colburn School Zipper Hall (Los Angeles)
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7 March 2020, West-Eastern Divan Ensemble, Michael Barenboim, Music Academy of the West Hahn Hall (Santa Barbara)
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8 March 2020, West-Eastern Divan Ensemble, Michael Barenboim, San Fransisco Symphony Davies Hall (San Fransisco)
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 The West-Eastern Divan Ensemble

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