History

Edward Said, the late Palestinian scholar and public intellectual, was also an accomplished pianist and music critic. He believed that music education is essential for the development of the intellect. He advocated teaching music on a wide scale in Palestine and devoted the last decade of his life in helping the National Conservatory of Music introduce a higher level of music education in Palestine. This was achieved with the help of Edward’s friend, the conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim. Barenboim quickly and efficiently instituted a program where teachers from Europe were sent to teach at the National Conservatory of Music. In 2002, the Regional Government of Andalucia (also known as JUNTA) invited Said and Barenboim to Sevilla, Spain, to conduct a musical workshop. A couple of years later, the Fundación Barenboim-Said was established in Andalucia. The process for establishing the foundation began in 2003 and was finalized a few months after Said’s passing. The purpose of this newly established foundation was to fund the music education programs Said and Barenboim envisioned and instituted. The Regional Government of Andalucia, Spain continues to support and fund our music education programs in Palestine. From 2003 - 2005 the Fundación Barenboim-Said partnered with the National Conservatory and supported their musical educational effort. At the beginning of the academic year 2005-2006, the Fundación opened its own independent Music Center in Ramallah and shifted its resources from the National Conservatory to The Barenboim-Said Music Center. In collaboration with The Palestinian Medical Relief Society, the Edward Said Musical Kindergarten was founded in 2005. The method of teaching music at the Musical KG is based on “Education through Music” initiated by Daniel Barenboim.This method is highly successful and is being implemented all over Europe. In addition another musical institution in Palestine, Al Kamandjati also received financial support from 2006-2011 from the Fundación Barenboim-Said, Spain. The Barenboim-Said Foundation also contributed in the reconstruction of The Qattan Music School in Gaza (currently a branch of the Edward Said National Conservatory), after it was heavily destroyed by the massive Israeli assault on Gaza in 2008-2009.