(1942 - )
Daniel Barenboim is an Israeli pianist and conductor.
Barenboim (born November 15, 1942) was born in Buenos
Aires, Argentina to Russian
Jewish parents. At the age of five his mother started teaching him the
piano, and he gave his first concert at the age of seven. In 1952, the
family moved to Israel, but two years
later Barenboim was taken to Salzburg, Austria to study conducting with
Igor Markevich. From there, Barenboim traveled to Paris to study composition with Nadia Boulanger. Two Argentinian musicians,
Artur Rubinstein and Adolf Busch, also influenced Barenboim greatly
in his career.
Barenboim debuted in both Vienna and Rome in 1952. In 1955, he performed
in Paris, and in 1956 in London. In 1957, he played in
New York with Leopold Stokowski conducting in Symphony of the Air.
His reputation as a versatile pianist spread around the world, and he
began U.S. and European tours. Barenboim has performed as a chamber
musician, appearing with Gregor Platigorsky, Itzhak Perlman, and Pinchas
Zukerman. He also played with his wife, Jacqueline Du Pre, a cellist.
She died in 1987.
His first recordings soon incorporated works such
as piano sonatas and concertos of Mozart and Beethoven, Brahms and Bartok.
His many recorded CDs include Wagner,
Beethoven, and Argentinian tangos.
Barenboim began to concentrate on conducting by the
early 60s. He performed with the English Chamber Orchestra starting
in 1965 as both a pianist and a conductor. In 1973, he conducted Mozart's
opera Don Giovanni at the Edinburgh International Festival. He
also later conducted for the New Philharmonia Orchestra in London, and
became the Music Director of the Orchestra de Paris in 1975. The Chicago
Symphony Orchestra employed him as Musical Director in 1991 and the
Deutsche Staatsooper Berlin asked him to be the General Music Director
Although Barenboim has succeeded in working closely
with several German orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, the
Staatsksapelle Berlin and the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, he has not
always been as well received among his own people. Daniel Barenboim
has stirred much controversy in Israel. He selected Wagner's Tristan
and Isolde as an encore for the Israel Festival in 2001. Wagner's
music has been unofficially banned in Israel. He was Hitler's
favorite composer and helped inspire the Nazi leader and his movement.
In the midst of the “al-Aksa
intifada” last year, Barenboim traveled to Ramallah to perform
a "Recital of Peace" while Yasser
Arafat was detained in his compound after horrific attacks against
Israeli civilians. His visit generated anger from many Israelis. His
political leanings were no big surprise, however. Barenboim had already
appeared in the West Bank in 1999,
and he had cultivated a relationship with Edwart Said, the Palestinian
academic, in the early 1990s.
Less controversial is Barenboim's attempt to reach
youth through music. A father of two teenage boys, the conductor and
pianist is eager to attract the interest of more young people to music.
At the Chicago Symphony he helped plan ECHO, a new interactive music
learning center that opened in 1998. Children can explore different
genres of music through interactive technology and exhibits.
Barenboim homepage, BBC
News ("Barenboim Breaks Wagner Taboo," July 8, 2001 and
"Israeli pianist plans West Bank concert." March 5, 2002).