Divan-Goethe connects

Goethe connects: A musical bridge to the 200th anniversary of Goethe’s “West-Eastern Divan”.
– official website: http://goethe-divan.com –
The Munich Symphony Orchestra and the Pera Ensemble will celebrate Goethe’s timeless collection of poems on October 26 with a world premiere of Mehmet C. Yeşilçay at the Philharmonie im Gasteig.

Goethe’s most extensive collection of poems “West-Eastern Divan” will be 200 years old this year. Goethe, inspired by the work of Hafi, one of the best-known Persian poets, wrote his “Divan” to bring the distance of oriental material closer to his German readership. He focused on the universal aspects of Islam – a highly explosive topic in times of dichotomizing East and West, Islam and Christianity.

On the occasion of the anniversary of the publication of Goethe’s “Divan”, the initiators, the intercultural organization “Respect us” and the Munich Symphony Orchestra will pay tribute to Goethe’s work with a musical rapprochement of both musical traditions. Echo Klassik prizewinner Mehmet C. Yeşilçays new work “Divan” will have its world premiere on October 26, 2019 in the Philharmonie im Gasteig. His symphonic poem for orchestra, oriental instruments, vocal soloists, mixed choir and speaker combines the western musical tradition with the colorful sounds of the Orient and Goethe’s timeless texts.

The project “Goethe connects” brings together the award-winning Pera Ensemble with the Munich Symphony Orchestra, the vocal soloists Marie-Sophie Pollak and Bryan Lopez Gonzalez, the actor Herbert Knaup and the vocal ensemble of the Munich Cathedral Music under the direction of Olivier Tardy.

“This project has the social claim to reflect the cultural diversity in Germany and Europe and sets an example for a peaceful and harmonious coexistence”, says composer Yeşilçay about “Goethe connects”. In the year in which the German Basic Law turns 70, a musical contribution to the consideration of the connecting aspects between East and West and a plea for mutual respect – not only in music.


Bernd Sibler, Bavarian Minister of State for Science and the Arts
Dieter Reiter, Lord Mayor of the City of Munich

Accompanying exhibitions in the Gasteig:

“Imaginary Journey to the Orient” (Goethe and the West-Eastern Divan)
“Bethlehem” (works of Palestinian artists)

Philharmonie im Gasteig Munich | 26.10.2019 | Start: 20.00 o’clock

Mehmet C. Yeşilçay: Divan – symphonic poem for orchestra, oriental instruments, vocal soloists, mixed choir and speaker (premiere )

Marie-Sophie Pollak, Soprano
Bryan Lopez Gonzalez, tenor
Herbert Knaup, Speaker

Pera Ensemble: Volcano Yilmaz, Ney | Serkan Mesut Halili, Kanun | Bülent Okan, Ud | Derya Türkan, Kemençe | Ozan Pars & Joss Turnbull, Percussion

Vocal Ensemble of the Munich Cathedral Music, conducted by Lucia Hilz
Martina Koppelstetter
, director
Olivier Tardy, line


With mystical and sacred music, medieval laudas and Sufi songs, this project tells the story of Franz von Assisis’s encounter with Sultan Al Kamil and at the same time the story of a rapprochement and peace. Exactly 800 years ago, in 1219, Francis of Assisi travelled to Damietta with the 5th Crusade. His aim was to achieve world peace and he sought religious dialogue. In Sultan Al Malik he found a friend who shared his views and enriched him culturally. Freely based on the Islamic mystic Rumi, who made the statement “music is the language of God”, the Pera Ensemble creates a creative musical synthesis of both worlds.