Extract from Clemency Burton-Hill’s Diary for the Spectator, 9 August 2008

...the Royal Albert Hall during Proms season has to be one of the most thrilling places on earth. I’ve spent so many hours here as a Prommer that it’s something of a dream to be part of it. It’s Roger Wright’s first summer as director, and the buzz backstage is palpable. I’m second presenter on a clutch of BBC4’s broadcasts, which means I get to interview some of the world’s greatest performers, including members of the West-Eastern Divan orchestra, who are returning to the Proms with their founder-conductor, Daniel Barenboim. Since 2004 I have been regularly to Israel and the Occupied Territories with another bridge-building musical outfit, the Choir of London, and am increasingly convinced that although music will not solve the Arab-Israeli conflict, it is one of the most effective ways of creating dialogue and understanding between people on both sides. In a happy coincidence, the young Palestinian beneficiaries of our new bursary scheme are in town performing at the Wigmore Hall on 15 August, so they too will meet Barenboim and his visionary orchestra; and hopefully will be inspired to keep on with their music, a potential ticket out of the hell that is the West Bank.

The Spectator: Diary


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