Daniel Barenboim

Daniel Barenboim
Barenboim Vienna.jpg
Daniel Barenboim in Vienna, 2008
Born (1942-11-15) 15 November 1942 (age 75)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Citizenship Argentine, Israeli, Palestinian, Spanish
Occupation Pianist and conductor
Spouse(s) Jacqueline du Pré (m. 1967-1987; her death)
Elena Bashkirova (m. 1988; 2 children)
Awards Otto Hahn Peace Medal (2010)
Website www.danielbarenboim.com

Daniel Barenboim [a] (born 15 November 1942) is an Argentine-Israeli pianist and conductor who is a citizen of Argentina, Israel, Palestine, and Spain.

He is the general music director of the Berlin State Opera, and the Staatskapelle Berlin; he previously served as Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris and La Scala in Milan. [2] Barenboim is known for his work with the West–Eastern Divan Orchestra, a Seville-based orchestra of young Arab and Israeli musicians, and as a resolute critic of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

Barenboim has received many awards and prizes, including an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, [3] France's Légion d'honneur both as a Commander and Grand Officier, and the German Großes Bundesverdienstkreuz and Willy Brandt Award. [4] Together with the Palestinian-American scholar Edward Said, he was given Spain's Prince of Asturias Concord Award. He has won seven Grammy awards for his work and discography. Barenboim is a polyglot, fluent in Spanish, Hebrew, English, French, Italian, and German.

Biography

Daniel Barenboim, age 11, with composer Eithan Lustig and the Gadna Youth orchestra (1953)

Daniel Barenboim was born in 1942 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Argentinian-Jewish parents Aida (née Schuster) and Enrique Barenboim. [5] He started piano lessons at the age of five with his mother, continuing to study with his father, who remained his only teacher. On 19 August 1950, at the age of seven, he gave his first formal concert in his hometown, Buenos Aires. [6]

In 1952, Barenboim's family moved to Israel. Two years later, in the summer of 1954, his parents took him to Salzburg to take part in Igor Markevitch's conducting classes. During that summer he also met and played for Wilhelm Furtwängler, who has remained a central musical influence and ideal for Barenboim. [7] Furtwängler called the young Barenboim a "phenomenon" and invited him to perform the Beethoven First Piano Concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic, but Barenboim's father considered it too soon after the Second World War for a child of Jewish parents to be performing in Berlin. [8] In 1955 Barenboim studied harmony and composition with Nadia Boulanger in Paris.

On 15 June 1967, Barenboim and British cellist Jacqueline du Pré were married in Jerusalem at a Western Wall ceremony, Du Pré having converted to Judaism. [9] Acting as one of the witnesses was the conductor Zubin Mehta, a long-time friend of Barenboim. Since "I was not Jewish I had to temporarily be renamed Moshe Cohen, which made me a 'kosher witness'," Mehta recalled. [10] Du Pré retired from music in 1973, after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). The marriage lasted until du Pré's death in 1987.

In the early 1980s, Barenboim began an affair with the Russian pianist Elena Bashkirova, with whom he had two sons born in Paris before du Pré's death: David Arthur, born 1983, and Michael, born 1985. Barenboim worked to keep his relationship with Bashkirova hidden from du Pré, and believed he had succeeded. He and Bashkirova married in 1988. Both sons are part of the music world: David is a manager-writer for the German hip-hop band Level 8, and Michael Barenboim is a classical violinist. [11]

Citizenship

Barenboim holds citizenship in Argentina, Israel, [12] Palestine, [13] and Spain. [14] He lives in Berlin. [15] [16]

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