Prison Yard Festival: Music from within

West-Eastern Divan Ensemble (Hong Kong Debut)

Prison Yard Festival: Music from within

West to east meanderings

Ligeti 100

Beethoven by Moonlight

Weekend Yard Music

Wong Time to Play

West-Eastern Divan Ensemble (Hong Kong Debut)

Tai Kwun Conversations

il Pomo d'Oro & Jakub Józef Orliński (Asian Debut)

Prison Yard Festival: Music from within 2022

Beethoven by moonlight

Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra

Solitary reunion

Goldberg illuminations

LENK's Quartet for the End of Time

Prison Yard Festival: music from within (Jan 2022)

Date & Time

21 - 22 Nov, 2023 7pm – 8:30pm


Prison Yard




Named after Goethe’s West-östlicher Divan, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra transcends the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by uniting young musicians from Israel and various Arab nations, to foster mutual understanding in a world marred by political and cultural strife. At the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra’s 20th anniversary in 2019, the West-Eastern Divan Ensemble was founded by concertmaster Michael Barenboim, to bring the unique artistry and personality of the orchestra’s players into an intimate chamber music format. In their much anticipated Hong Kong debut, the ensemble presents two contrasting programmes to coincide with Tai Kwun’s Prison Yard Festival 2023.

The first evening features atmospheric numbers by pre-eminent American modernist composer Elliott Carter (1908–2012), a two-time Pulitzer awardee with a prolonged career exceeding 75 years. His unwavering creativity is at full display with such works as Figment IV (2007), amongst a series of six delicate miniatures resembling Berio’s Sequenzas; Au Quai (2002), the title of which was inspired by Arnold Schoenberg’s short story To the Wharfs; and Duettino (2008), dedicated to friend and fellow composer Milton Babbitt, and composed shortly before his 100th birthday.

Interspersing Carter’s late gems are two chamber staples from the standard repertoire, including Fanny Mendelssohn’s String Quartet in E-flat major (1834), a compelling Romantic work buried in the oblivion of time only to be re-discovered in 1988. Beethoven’s Septet in E-flat major, Op. 20 (1799), one of his most popular works during his lifetime.

The second evening features a delightful all-Schubert programme, the works of which display influences from Beethoven, whom Schubert admired deeply. In composing his String Trio in B-flat major, D. 581 (1817), Schubert took Beethoven’s latter trios as model, which adopted a four-movement form like the string quartet. Schubert’s biggest chamber works, the Octet in F major, D. 803 (1824), expands from the scope of Beethoven’s Septet with the addition of an extra second violin.

Ticket holder(s) of “West-Eastern Divan Ensemble (Hong Kong Debut)” can present a valid ticket (electronic or physical) to attend the Tai Kwun Conversations without registration. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about what it’s like to be part of such an inspiring initiative on 20 Nov in JC Cube.


21 Nov

Elliott Carter │ Figment IV for Viola
Fanny Mendelssohn │ String Quartet in E-flat major
Elliott Carter │ Au Quai for Bassoon and Viola
- Interval – (15 min)
Elliott Carter │ Duettino for Violin and Cello from Tre Duetti
Beethoven │ Septet in E-flat major, Op. 20
Duration: 1 hr 28 mins with a 15-min interval

22 Nov
Schubert │ String Trio in B-flat major, D. 581
Schubert │ Octet in F major, D.803
Duration: 1 hr 17 mins with no interval

Ticket Discounts

Patrons may enjoy one of the below discount schemes for each purchase where applicable:

  • 40% off for Senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities and their minder, full-time students. Available on a first-come-first-served basis.
  • Members of TK FAN are entitled to 15% off on regularly-priced tickets. Download the Tai Kwun App to get the promo-code now.

Prison Yard Festival Package Discount

  • Each purchase of standard tickets for concerts on 2 different dates (10% off)
  • Each purchase of standard tickets for concerts on 3 different dates (15% off)
  • Each purchase of standard tickets for concerts on 4 different dates (20% off)
  • Each purchase of standard tickets for concerts on 5 different dates (25% off)


  • For wheelchair user, please purchase tickets via URBTIX

  • Latecomers will be only be admitted at suitable time

  • Recommended for ages 6 and above


Michael Barenboim
West-Eastern Divan Ensemble

Found of West-Eastern Divan Ensemble, Violin & Viola

Michael Barenboim’s 2011 performance of Schoenberg’s Violin Concerto with Pierre Boulez in the Cologne Philharmonie was the beginning of a remarkable career.

Following this celebrated debut, he has since performed the Schoenberg concerto with the Vienna Philharmonic under Daniel Barenboim, the Chicago Symphony under Asher Fisch, the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta, and the Berlin Philharmonic under Vasily Petrenko. Barenboim regularly gives solo recitals in the world’s most prestigious concert halls, such as Wigmore Hall in London, the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, the Sydney Opera House, and Teatro di San Carlo in Naples. He presented a programme with works by Pierre Boulez in Carnegie Hall, the Berlin Philharmonie, the Opéra National de Paris, the Barbican Centre in London, the Dortmund Konzerthaus, and the Salzburg Festival.

As a member of the Boulez Ensemble, Michael Barenboim has premiered numerous new works by composers such as Jörg Widmann, Kareem Rouston, and many others. He is a professor for violin and chamber music at the Barenboim-Said Akademie in Berlin, and has since 2020 been the Academy’s Dean. In addition, he and seven other selected members of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra founded the West-Eastern Divan Ensemble in 2020 and completed a 13-concert tour of the United States. Among his last solo performances before the pandemic lockdown were Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic under Robert Trevino and Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel.

Michael Barenboim’s first solo album featured compositions by Bach and Bartók as well as Boulez’s Anthèmes 1 and 2. In 2018 there followed a CD recording with works by Tartini, Berio, Paganini, and Sciarrino. For Deutsche Grammophon, Barenboim has recorded the Mozart piano quartets and trios as well as the complete Beethoven piano trios, together with Kian Soltani and Daniel Barenboim.

The West-Eastern Divan Ensemble, led by the Orchestra’s concertmaster Michael Barenboim, draws upon players of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.

Founded in 1999, the Orchestra’s origins lie in the conversations between its creators, Edward W. Said and Daniel Barenboim. Over the course of their friendship, the Palestinian author-scholar and Israeli conductor-pianist discussed ideas on music, culture, and humanity. In their exchanges, they realised the urgent need for an alternative way to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The opportunity to do so came when Barenboim and Said initiated a workshop for young musicians using their experience as a model. This evolved into the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra that global audiences know today. The group is comprised of Arab and Israeli members, defying fierce political divides in the Middle East and globally. Through its work and existence, the orchestra demonstrates that bridges can be built to encourage people to listen to the narrative of the other.

The West-Eastern Divan Ensemble brings the highly praised artistry of the Orchestra into an intimate chamber music format. Founded in 2019 by Michael Barenboim to mark the orchestra’s 20th anniversary, the ensemble gives audiences an opportunity to experience the musicians’ unique artistry and personality up close. The group embarked on its first tour in early 2020, appearing at venues across the United States. In October and November 2022, the musicians were heard in Berlin, Munich, Brussels, Paris, Vienna, and Budapest performing a programme of works by Schubert, Mendelssohn, and Pierre Boulez, as well as a commission by French-Lebanese composer Benjamin Attahir. In February 2023, the ensemble returned to the United States where they played several concerts on the East and West Coast, including the 92Y and the United Nation Headquarters in New York City and Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami.