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Daniel Barenboim (Hebrew: דניאל ברנבוים, Buenos Aires, November 15, 1942) is an Argentine pianist and conductor who is nationalized Spanish, Israeli and Palestinian.
Son of musicians (both Enrique Barenboim and Aída Schuster, his parents, were outstanding pianists), debuted in Buenos Aires at the age of seven with such success that he was invited by the Mozarteum of Salzburg to continue his studies in this city, in whose festival he triumphed three years later. Later he studied with Nadia Boulanger, Igor Markevitch and at the Academy of Saint Cecilia in Rome.
Barenboim began his piano studies at the age of five with his mother and continued with his father, who remained as his only teacher. In August of 1950 it interpreted its first concert in Buenos Aires. He completed his primary studies at the Pestalozzi Institute of Belgrano R.
In 1952 the Barenboim family moved to Israel. Two years later, his parents sent him to Salzburg to take direction classes with Igor Markevitch. There he met Wilhelm Furtwängler, for whom he played the piano.
In 1955 he studied harmony and composition with Nadia Boulanger in Paris.
Barenboim debuted as a pianist at the Mozarteum in Salzburg in 1952, in Paris that same year, in London in 1956 and in New York in 1957, under the direction of Leopold Stokowski. In the following years he regularly performed concerts in Europe, the United States, South America and the Far East.
He made his first recording in 1954. He later recorded sonatas for piano by Mozart and Beethoven and concerts by Mozart (playing piano and directing), Beethoven (with Otto Klemperer), Brahms (with John Barbirolli) and Béla Bartók (with Pierre Boulez).
After his directorial debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1967, he received invitations from various European and American symphony orchestras. On June 15 of that same year, Barenboim married the British cellist Jacqueline du Pré. During the last years of the life of du Pré, Barenboim settled in Paris with the pianist Elena Bashkirova. A year after the death of du Pré for multiple sclerosis in 1987, he married Bashkirova, with whom he had two children, David and Michael.
His debut as an opera director took place in 1973 with the performance of Don Giovanni, by Mozart at the Edinburgh Festival. Between 1975 and 1989 he was musical director of the Orchestra of Paris, where he directed numerous pieces of contemporary music.
In 1981 he debuted at the Bayreuth festival, held annually in tribute to Wagner. Barenboim conducted regularly in that city until 1999, where he did a complete reading of The Ring of the Nibelung and of Tristan and Isolde, with the mezzo-soprano Waltraud Meier and the tenor Siegfried Jerusalem.
From 1991 until June 17, 2006, Barenboim was musical director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a position he agreed to replace George Solti.
On September 2, 2001, he applied for Spanish nationality, which was granted on October 25, 2002. Since 1980, he has frequently performed at the Carlos V Palace for the celebration of the International Music and Dance Festival of Pomegranate. Due to its connection with the previous one, the Festival’s Medal of Honor was presented to it in a ceremony held on July 9, 2011.
He is also the general musical director of the Deutsche Staatsoper or Staatsoper Unter den Linden, the Berlin State Opera known as Unter den Linden (Under the Limes) since 1992.
In addition to his activities as a pianist and conductor, Barenboim has composed several tangos. In December 2006 he directed the New Year’s Concert in Buenos Aires, whose repertoire was Symphonic Tango.
In 2008 he performed for the first time at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, directing Tristan and Isolde de Wagner playing in the same week a piano recital on the stage of the Met, the first in 22 years, the last one had been given by Vladímir Hórowitz.
In 2009, he conducted the New Year Concert, in front of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2014 he also directed it, and greeted all the members of the orchestra while the Radetzky March sounded.
He was decorated with the Legion of honor of the French government.
As of August 10, 2011 he is a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize for his various activities in favor of peace and coexistence in the Middle East.
Since the 1960s he has made presentations in Buenos Aires on several occasions. He appeared at the Teatro Colón in 1980 with the Orchestra of Paris, in 1989 he played Bach’s Goldberg variations, in 1995 with the Staatskapelle Berlin, in 2000 with the Chicago Symphony and in a piano recital commemorating 50 years of his debut in Buenos Aires, in 2002 for the integral of sonatas by Beethoven, in 2004 for the two volumes of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, in 2005 with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, in 2006 with a massive end-of-year concert before 50,000 people together to the Philharmonic of Buenos Aires, in 2008 with the Staatskapelle Berlin and in 2010 again with the West-Eastern Divan performing the nine symphonies of Beethoven and in an open-air concert for 60,000 people and with the choir and orchestra of the Alla Scala Theater of Milan at the Teatro Colón on the occasion of the Argentine bicentennial.
Wagner in Israel
On July 7, 2001, Barenboim directed the Berlin Staatskapelle in the performance of Wagner Tristan and Isolde’s opera at the Israel festival held in Jerusalem. He was called pronazi and fascist by some of those present.
Barenboim was going to perform the first act of La Walkiria with three singers, among whom was the Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo. However, protests by Holocaust survivors and the Israeli government forced the organization of the festival to seek an alternative program. Despite disagreeing with the decision, Barenboim agreed to replace these pieces with compositions by Schumann and Stravinski. After the concert, he declared that he was going to interpret a piece by Wagner in the encore, and invited those present who had any objection to leaving the room.
West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
In 1999 together with the American writer of Palestinian origin Edward Said, who was joined by a great friendship, he founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, an initiative to gather each summer a group of talented young musicians of both Israeli origin and origin. Arabic or Spanish. Both received the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord for the initiative.
In 2004 Barenboim received the Prize of the Wolf Foundation of the Arts of Jerusalem.
On January 12, 2008, after a concert in Ramallah, Barenboim also accepted honorary Palestinian citizenship, becoming the first citizen of the world with Israeli and Palestinian citizenship, and said he had accepted it with the hope that it served as a sign of peace between both peoples.
I hope that my new status will be an example of Israeli-Palestinian co-existence. I believe that the destinies of the Israeli people and the Palestinian people are inextricably linked.
I hope that my new condition will be an example of Palestinian-Israeli coexistence. I believe that the destinies of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples are inexorably united.
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