Daniel Barenboim, the famed and famously political pianist and conductor, delivered a moving call for European unity while conducting a BBC Proms concert by the Orchestra Staatskapelle Berlin on Sunday.
“I think that the main problem today is not the policies of this country and that country and this and that,” he said to an audience at London’s Royal Albert Hall. “The main problem of today is that there is not enough education.”
“There is not enough education about whom we are,” he continued, “about what is a human being, and how is he to relate to other[s] of the same kind.”
Barenboim, who was born in Argentina, also holds citizenship in Israel, Palestine, and Spain. He co-founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and Berlin’s recently-opened Barenboim-Said Akademie with the late Palestinian scholar Edward Said, both of which institutions are intended to foster unity between Arab and Israeli musicians.
European culture, Barenboim said, was a gift taken for granted by too many.
“The new generations, they have to understand that Greece and Germany and France and Denmark all have something in common called European culture,” The Guardian quoted him as declaring.
“Not only the Euro. Culture. This is really the most important thing. And also in this cultural community called Europe there is a place for diverse cultures, for different cultures, for a different way of looking at things. But this can be done only with education.”