A brilliant career spanning 8 decades

An incomparable pianist and conductor, educator and peacemaker, the famous Argentinian musician has flown around the world from concerts to collaborations, from meetings to adventures… Here are the highlights of his brilliant journey over decades and decades.

1942-195, Martha, Beethoven and Prokofiev

Daniel Barenboim was born on November 15, 1942 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His parents, Aida and Enrique Barenboim, are Russian Jews, both professional pianists. Not surprisingly, young Daniel was introduced to the piano at the age of five, by his mother before continuing with his father. He will be her only teacher.

At this time, he also met Marta Argerich, a young musician, and formed a deep friendship with her: “I have known Marta Argerich since 1949. There was a house in Buenos Aires owned by a former violinist and businessman, where chamber music was played every Friday. […] There’s no one I’ve known that long. »

On August 19, 1950, at the age of seven, Daniel Barenboim gave his first official concert at the Sala Beyer in his hometown with works by Beethoven and Prokofiev. There is no doubt that the young musician’s long-term career is already successfully underway.

Daniel Barenboim in 1956
Daniel Barenboim in 1956

© Getty
– L. Blandford

27 min

1952-1962, under the supervision of Markevich and Furtwängler

In 1952, the Barenboim family moved to Israel, which had been established only four years earlier. During the long trip, a stop is made in Salzburg so that Daniel can attend Igor Markevich’s summer conducting course. Then the teacher announces that his student will never become a pianist: they appoint young Daniel as a conductor. Daniel Barenboim would nevertheless make his keyboard debut at Carnegie Hall in 1957 alongside Leopold Stokowski.

At the same time, he met the great Wilhelm Furtwängler, who greatly admired his musical talent. The latter would have a profound influence on Daniel Barenboim’s life and career and would always provide good advice. He wants to invite the young musician to the Berlin Philharmonic, where he is the director, but Daniel’s father believes that it is too early for the Jew to go and play in Germany. From the winter of 1954 and for a year and a half, he studied counterpoint and composition in Paris with the famous pedagogue Nadia Boulanger.

27 min

1962-1972, Jacqueline du Pré and political commitment

In 1966, Daniel Barenboim met cellist Jacqueline du Pré in London. They even play a Brahms sonata together before speaking to each other. The two musicians were married just a few months later, on June 15, 1967, in Jerusalem. Thus begins a long and fruitful union built on music. Together they start countless musical projects. integral Trios with piano Engraved by Beethoven with Pinchas Zukerman in just three days between late December 1969 and early January 1970. cello concerto Edward Elgar is also one of their notable records.

Daniel Barenboim and Jacqueline Du Pré in London in 1968
Daniel Barenboim and Jacqueline Du Pré in London in 1968

© Getty
– Evening standard

27 min

Daniel Barenboim, a great advocate for human rights and especially the Palestinian cause, became a politically committed musician for a decade, a fierce critic of Israel’s conservative governments and Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories. ” I haven’t felt comfortable in Israel since the 1960s. Of course, this is my house; my parents lived there and are both buried in Jerusalem. Whenever there was a war in Israel, I played there: 1956, 1967, 1973. Music was my language, my “weapon”. “the musician admitted during the interview Tagesspiegel german

1972-1982, opera and Paris Orchestra

The 1970s heralded the debut of Daniel Barenboim as an opera director. He leads Don Giovanni Mozart at the 1973 Edinburgh Festival. He also made his Bayreuth debut in 1981, where he conducted. In Tristan and Isolde. He returned there regularly until 1999 Ring, Parsifal and Meistersinger of Nuremberg… more than 160 productions in total.

In 1975, he was appointed music director of the Paris Orchester and led it until 1989. He introduced modern music into the orchestra’s repertoire: works by Boulez, Dutilleux, Lutosławski, Berio, Takemitsu and Henze.

27 min

1982-1992, Paris, Chicago, Bayreuth

In 1988, Daniel Barenboim was appointed artistic and musical director of the Opera Bastille in Paris, which was scheduled to open in 1990. But after a conflict with the president of the Paris Opera, Pierre Berge, he was fired shortly before the opening. At the same time, he succeeded Sir Georg Solti as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which he had led for the first time in 1970. The years at the head of the American phalanx were formative for Daniel Barenboim: “ I wouldn’t be a musician without going through the Chicago Orchestra “, he admits to the orchestra at the microphone of France Musique.

26 min

His debut in Bayreuth with the music of Richard Wagner led him to oppose the banning of the composer’s works in Israel. ” Wagner is absolutely horrible, vile, and somehow very hard to relate to the music he wrote, which often feels the exact opposite…noble, generoushe explained in a 1999 conversation with the Palestinian-American scholar, literary theorist, pianist, and critic Edward Said. […] While Wagner’s anti-Semitism was appalling, and many Nazi thinkers often cite Wagner as their forerunner, I do not think he can be held responsible. »

1992-2002, Reconciling nations

In 1992, Daniel Barenboim was appointed music director of the Staatsoper unter dem Linden in Berlin and the Staatskapelle Berlin. Eight years later, he became a conductor for life. In 1999, he founded one of the most symbolic projects of his career – the West-East Divan Orchestra. Founded in collaboration with Edward Said, the ensemble brings together many young classical musicians from Israel, the Palestinian territories and Arab countries each year to study and play together to promote dialogue and mutual understanding.

Daniel Barenboim and his West-East Diva Orchestra
Daniel Barenboim and his West-East Diva Orchestra

© Getty
-Frank Hoensch

On July 7, 2001, during a concert with the Berlin Staatskapelle in Jerusalem, Barenboim caused a political scandal when he decided to perform an excerpt. In Tristan and Isolde Wagner, the composer expelled from Israel for his links to the Third Reich and the Holocaust.

2002-2012, European affinities and support for Gaza

After Riccardo Muti’s resignation in 2006, Daniel Barenboim was appointed Principal Guest Conductor of La Scala in Milan, then Music Director in 2011. In November 2006, he turned down Lorin Maazel’s offer to become music director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. nothing could be more contrary to his wishes than the idea of ​​returning to the United States for a permanent position. However, she will make her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 2008. It also made its debut at the famous Vienna New Year’s Concert in 2009, an honor it will renew in January 2014 and more recently in January 2022.

In 2006, he received the prestigious Ernst von Siemens Award, nicknamed the “Nobel Prize for Music”. After playing in Ramallah, he received honorary Palestinian citizenship, becoming the first Israeli Jewish citizen to receive that status. In May 2011, Barenboim brought together volunteer musicians from the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Staatskapelle in Berlin, the La Scala Orchestra in Milan, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchester de Paris to form the Orchestra for Gaza. Together, they perform a concert in the Gaza Strip with the support of the United Nations.

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Between 2002 and 2011, he received at least 25 awards and honors from around the world for his career and work for reconciliation in the Middle East through music.

2012-2022, transmission profession

In the last decade, Daniel Barenboim turned to pedagogy. In 2012, he founded the Barenboim-Said Academy in Berlin, where young music students from the Arab world and Israel can continue their studies in music and the humanities. It is also named after a character from a French cartoon Max & Maestroa young man meets Daniel Barenboim in hopes of introducing more children to classical music.

On October 5, 2022, on the eve of his 80th birthday, Daniel Barenboim announced his retirement after eight decades at the heart of music: “ I have lived my whole life through music and will continue to do so as long as my health allows.. Looking to the past and the future, I am not only satisfied, but deeply satisfied. This is how the conductor sums up his artistic life in music.

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