Barenboim, Daniel

views updated Jun 11 2018

Daniel Barenboim

Pianist, conductor

For the Record

Performed as Pianist

Earned Notoriety as Conductor

Historic West Bank Performance

Selected discography


Emotional at times and always a perfectionist, Daniel Barenboim has graced the concert stages of Europe, Asia, North America, Australia, and the Middle East, performing in parallel careers both as an inspired pianist and as a respected conductor. Barenboim, an Israeli musician born in Argentina during World War II, began his musical career as a young piano prodigy in the late 1940s. He debuted in concert at age seven, thereafter spending much of the 1950s in studies with the greatest teachers and musicians of the time. In the early 1960s, Barenboim embarked on a conducting career, performing a London debut in 1967 with the New Philharmonic Orchestra.

For more than half a century, Barenboim amassed impeccable credentials as both conductor and pianistperforming in both capacities with the English Chamber Orchestra, and as founder of the Mozart Festival in 1982, director of Londons South Bank Music, musical director of the French Orchestre de Paris, and as director of the Israel Festival. In 1991, Barenboim assumed command of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and in the following year he took control of the State Opera of Berlin. Included in his extensive repertoireboth as pianist and as conductorwere the 32 sonatas and five concertos of Ludwig von Beethoven. He distinguished himself in performing those works on the piano under the direction of Otto Klemperer and in conducting the compositions with the late Arthur Rubenstein at piano. In 2000 he attempted a piano performance of the five concertos while conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In addition to a classical repertoire encompassing Mozart, Liszt, and others, Barenboims contemporary repertoire included the works of such masters as Pierre Boulez, Elliott Carter, and Debussy.

Barenboim was born on November 15, 1942, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He began his musical studies at age five. During those early years he studied under the direction of his Russian-Jewish parents, Enrique and Aida (Schuster) Barenboim, each of whom were accomplished pianists. Young Barenboims talent became evident when the family moved to Europe in 1951. In Paris, the boy was recognized as a prodigy, and having performed his first concert in South America at age seven he then debuted in Vienna in 1952 at nine years of age. The familys one-year sojourn in Europe was followed by a permanent move to Tel Aviv, Israel, where Barenboim spent his adolescence. He was ten years old at the time of the move to the Middle East, and as in Europe, his talent as a prodigy was readily apparent.

During the remainder of the 1950s, Barenboim debuted on record and on stages around the world. His first recording appeared in 1954, and in 1955 he debuted in London on the occasion of the Mozart bicentennial celebration. In 1957, a performance of the First Piano Concerto by Prokofiev marked his New

For the Record

Born on November 15, 1942, in Buenos Aires, Argentina; son of Enrique and Aida (Schuster) Barenboim; married Jacqueline DuPré, 1967; widowed in 1987; married Elena Bashkirova, 1988; two children. Education: Mozarteum, Salzburg, Austria; Accademia Chigiana, Sienna; Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, graduated 1956.

Artistic adviser, Israel Festival, 1971-74; musical director, Orchestre de Paris, 1975-89; conductor and accompanist: English Chamber Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 1991; director, Staatsoper Berlin, 1992.

Awards: Beethoven Medal, 1958; Harriet Cohen Paderewski Centenary Prize, 1963; Member, Legion of Honor, France, 1987.

Addresses: Home 29 rue de la Coulouvreniere, 1204, Geneva, Switzerland; Office c/o Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Synnene Carline, 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60604-2596.

York debut with Leopold Stokowski conducting. Additionally during the 1950s, Barenboim studied with many great masters throughout Europe. During the course of the decade he spent time at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and at the Accademia Chigiana in Sienna, Italy. He studied under the most prominent music teachers in Europe, including Edwin Fischer, and later Nadia Boulanger in Paris. In Germany, Barenboim learned the art of conducting from Igor Markevich, and in 1956 he received a diploma from the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome. At Santa Cecilia, Barenboim distinguished himselfat age 14as the youngest graduate in the history of that institution. The renowned pianist, Arthur Rubenstein, an acquaintance of Barenboims parents, also assisted in the mentoring of the young Barenboim.

Performed as Pianist

Barenboim performed extensively as a pianist with the English Chamber Orchestra, beginning in the 1960s and through much of the 1970s. His debut with that organization in 1964 featured Barenboim performing the Mozart Piano Concertos. He continued on tour with the chamber orchestra for more than a decade and appeared with the group throughout England, Japan, and the United States. In addition to Mozarts works, their many performances together featured the music of Beethoven, Brahms, and Sir John Barbirolli. Barenboims extensive piano repertoire spanned to Chopin and Schubert, and under the direction of Otto Klemperer, Barenboim ably performed the 32 Sonatas and five concertos of Beethoven.

In a landmark performance in 1966, Barenboim performed for the first time with cellist Jacqueline DuPré. The occasion marked the beginning of an extensive collaboration between Barenboim and DuPré, who were married in Israel during the following year. A magnificent professional pairing ensued, and the couple was joined frequently in chamber recitals by the finest string players in the world, including Zubin Mehta, Itzhak Perlman, and Pinchas Zukerman. The partnership between the Barenboims was far too brief, however, and ended tragically when DuPré was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the 1973. At that time she abandoned her cello playing forever. DuPré died in 1987.

As the 1990s drew to a close, the turn of the millenium in 2000 brought Barenboim to the recording studio as well as to Carnegie Hall and other venues repeatedly as a pianist. The year 1996 saw the release of Barenboims popular piano recording, Tangos Among Friends, and in 1997 Teldec released a piano duetSchuberts Marches Militaires and Grand Duo (Sonata in C Major) featuring Barenboim and Tchaikovsky-award-winning pianist, Radu Lupu. Richard Freed of Stereo Review praised the recording as one in which, [Fastidiousness and spontaneity coexist on an almost unimaginable level first-rate and beautifully tailored to this particular material.

It was Barenboim who accompanied Placido Domingo at the tenors New York recital debut on January 30, 2000. Also in January of 2000, Barenboim performed the Schoenberg Piano Concerto under the baton of Pierre Boulez at Carnegie Hall. Earlier, in 1999, Barenboim interpreted jazz classics on stage and on record in his Tribute to Ellington, with Dianne Reeves on vocals. Additionally he has appeared in chamber recitals with cellist Yo-Yo Ma. In 2000, when Barenboim brought his Chicago Symphony to Carnegie Hall for a series of three performances with him as the featured pianist, New Criterions Jay Nordlinger praised the performance of The Mozart [Concerto No. 25 in] C Major bold and grand, in true Barenboim style. This was the antithesis of dainty, drawing-room Mozart. Of Barenboims Bruckner (Symphony No. 4), Nordlinger went on to say, He held the piecewhich can easily overwhelm even a good conductorin the palm of his hand. He communicated effortlessly to the orchestra; every gesture, every movement, every glance, was musical. He is one of those conductors who seem to enact their interpretation on the podium, though not self-consciously or obtrusively. Indeed, whereas Barenboims bold keyboard style has been criticized as too harsh at times, he is nonetheless renowned for his flowing arpeggios and emphatically punctuated tones, which moreover serve to recall the notable influence of Rubenstein on Barenboims early musical development.

Earned Notoriety as Conductor

Barenboim launched his conducting career in Israel in 1962 and toured extensively during the 1960s as both a conductor and pianist. From 1968 to 1970 he served as artistic director for Londons South Bank Music then directed the Israeli Festival from 1973 through 1975. Among his many operatic productions, Barenboim conducted Mozarts Don Giovanni in Edinburgh in 1973 and Marriage of Figaro in 1975. Also in 1975, he conducted a farewell performance of the late Arthur Rubenstein in concert with the London Philharmonic. That year Barenboim accepted the position of musical director of the Orchestre de Paris, a position that ignited his notoriety as a conductor. Under Barenboims leadership for 14 years, the group established a reputation for their performance of contemporary works including the music of Lutoslawsky, Berio, Boulez, Henze, and Duilleux.

In 1981 Barenboim brought Tristan and Isolde to Bayreuth (Bavaria) for his debut there, and in 1982 he founded a Mozart Festival and oversaw that organization until 1989. He then abandoned his other commitments to head a new organization, called the Opera de Paris. Although the commission failed to materialize, within two years Barenboim relocated to the United States in September of 1997 in order to accept a position as director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra behind Sir George Solti. Barenboims performances as both conductor and soloist with that group were featured on several recordings and extended into the twenty-first century. As the leader of the Chicago Symphony in the late 1990s, Barenboim led the group through many concerts at Carnegie Hall, including presentations of the works of Anton Bruckner and Mahler. In 1992 Barenboim signed as the head of the Deutsche Staatsoper (State Opera) of Berlin and continued in that capacity for many years as well.

Barenboim, who debuted Alexaner Goehrs Konzert Für Klavier and Sinfonia in 1972 and 1980 respectively, also accepted the honor of presenting the world debut of Darius Milhauds Ode pour Jerusalem in 1973. Other works debuted by Barenboim included Pierre Boulezs Notation II in 1982, and Notation 5-8 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra during the 1997-98 season. Also that season he presented the debut of Luciano Berios Continuo and Ralph Shapeys Concerto Fantastique. Barenboim also introduced Fandango by Hans Werner Henze in 1986, and in February of 2000, he led the Chicago Symphony through the world debut of Elliott Carters first opera, What If?, and then took the work on tour throughout that year.

Historic West Bank Performance

On January 29, 1999, Barenboim performed an historic concert at Birzeit University in Palestine. It was his first concert ever on the war-torn West Bank of the contested Israeli-Palestinian territory and the first time an Israeli artist had made a public appearance in the territory since its seizure from Jordan. Barenboim, who performed Beethovens Symphony Pathétique, shared the concert stage with Palestinian pianist Salim Abboud in a rendition of March Militaire by Schubert. Additionally, he spent time that year in collaboration with Wynton Marsalis at Lincoln Center. In addition to Barenboims recorded piano presentation, Tribute to Ellington, in 1999, he and the Chicago Symphony joined Marsalis in a concert presentation of Peer Gynt, juxtaposing the original Grieg compositions with the Ellington/Billy Strayhorn adaptation. Barenboims agenda for 2000 was cluttered with concerts at Carnegie Hall concerts, including a presentation of Carters opera in March of 2000. Among other plans for 2000, Barenboimwell-noted for his boldnessannounced that his plan to conduct, while simultaneously performing on piano, all of the Beethoven concertos, despite apprehension from the critical community.

Barenboim, who received the Beethoven Medal in 1958 and the Harriet Cohen Paderwski Centenary prize in 1963, was inducted in 1987 into the French Legion of Honor. During much of his career he made his home in London before moving to France and elsewhere. Barenboim, who fathered two children, married concert pianist Elena Bashkirova on November 28, 1988. His autobiography, A Life in Music, was published in England in 1991 by George Weidenfeld and Nicolson Ltd. An American edition appeared the following year.

Selected discography

Requiem K. 626/Mozart (recorded in 1969 with English Chamber Orchestra), EMI Angel, 1990.

Don Giovanni (with English Chamber Orchestra), EMI Classics, 1975, 1991.

Corigliano: Symphony No. 1 (with Chicago Symphony Orchestra), Erato, 1991.

Tangos Among Friends, Teldec, 1996.

Schubert Marches Militaire (with Radu Lupu), Teldec, 1997.

Tribute to Ellington, Elektra/Asylum, 1999.

Brazilian Rhapsody, Elektra/Asylum, 2000.



Encyclopedia of World Biography, second edition, Gale Research, 1999.


Life, May 1999, p. 83.

New Centurion, April 2000, p. 58 (5).

Stereo Review, November 1997, p. 121 (2).


All Music Guide, (August 26, 2000).

Gloria Cooksey

Daniel Barenboim

views updated May 23 2018

Daniel Barenboim

Daniel Barenboim (born 1942) was an Israeli pianist and conductor. After receiving an international musical education, he established himself as one of the most highly regarded young conductors and performers in the world.

Daniel Barenboim was born in Buenos Aires on November 15, 1942. His Jewish Ukrainian parents were both music teachers who, on the advice of violinist Adolf Busch, allowed their prodigy son to début as a pianist at the age of seven in Buenos Aires. Two years later the family moved to Europe where Barenboim played at the Salzburg Mozarteum and studied conducting with Igor Markevich. The following year, 1952, the family settled in Israel, although Barenboim returned to Europe to study piano with Edwin Fischer. At this time, he met the conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler, who influenced Barenboim's conducting. He studied at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome where, as one of the youngest graduates ever, he received a diploma in 1956. During this period he also took composition lessons from Nadia Boulanger in Paris.

He made his début in England in 1955 and played a Mozart concerto at the Festival Hall for the bicentennial of that composer's birth. For his American début in 1957 he played Prokofiev's First Piano Concerto, with Leopold Stokowski conducting. The following year he played again in New York and gave concerts throughout the world as well.

Barenboim began conducting in Israel in 1962 and then appeared on the podium in Australia. In 1964, he made the first of his appearances with the English Chamber Orchestra, an ensemble he both conducted and performed with as a pianist regularly. He also toured with the English Chamber Orchestra in Latin America and the Far East. He conducted the London Symphony Orchestra in 1968 in New York and appeared with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in 1969 and with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in 1970. After 1970, he appeared regularly with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and other major orchestras in the United States. He also frequently appeared with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and with the Orchestra de Paris, of which he was named conductor in 1975. He directed London's South Bank Summer Music festival for two seasons in 1968 and 1970. He conducted Mozart's Don Giovanni at the Edinburgh Festival in 1973, followed by Le Nozze di Figaro in 1975.

He appeared as conductor with many leading performers, including Artur Rubinstein, Clifford Curzon, and Isaac Stern. Further, he accompanied vocalists Fischer-Dieskau and Janet Baker in performances of Lieder and played chamber music with violinists Pinchas Zukerman and Itzhak Perlman and with the English cellist Jacqueline du Pré, to whom he was married in 1967. He gave the première of Alexander Goehr's Piano Concerto in 1972.

Barenboim established himself as an important interpreter of the Classical and Romantic repertories. He overcame initial opposition to his apparent flamboyance, manifest in the flexible tempo in his conducting of Mozart and Beethoven and his lavish attention to detail, which it was sometimes thought compromised the integrity of the score. His emotionalism was tempered and his judgment subsequently confirmed, however, and his intuitive powers as an interpreter were highly regarded. He branched out as a conductor to include the music of Bach, Bruckner, Tchaikovsky, Elgar, and the French composers in his programs.

His repertory as a pianist was comparatively narrow but also masterful. He recorded all the Mozart piano concertos, and his version of the complete Beethoven piano sonatas was especially well-received. He also recorded the Beethoven piano concertos and violin and piano sonatas. He performed the piano music of Chopin and Brahms as well.

In the late 1980s Barenboim was appointed as the Artistic Director of the Opera de la Bastille in Paris. He was not to last long in this position as the president of the Paris Opera Association forced Barenboim to resign his post because Barenboim refused to reduce his substantial salary.

After leaving the Opera de la Bastille, Barenboim was chosen to succeed Sir Georg Solti as the conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra thanks to Solti pressing for Barenboim to take over the position.

Further Reading

An article on Barenboim appeared in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1980) and in Baker's Biographical Dictionary (1978). Irving Kolodin wrote an article on the conductor-performer, "Barenboim's Maturing Art, " for the Saturday Review (September, 1980). "Daniel Barenboim, piano, " by H. Goldsmith, may be found in HiFi/MusAm (March, 1981). Additional reading includes Musiker im Gesprach— Daniel Barenboim/Maurizio Pollini, by J. Meyer-Josten (Frankfurt-am-Main, no date) which was reviewed in Musikerziehung (February, 1981).

Additional information on Barenboim can be found in "Playing With Ire" in Chicago (September, 1995) and "Daniel Barenboim: Banished From the Bastille, He'll Take Command in Chicago" in Ovation (July, 1989). □

Barenboim, Daniel

views updated May 29 2018


BARENBOIM, DANIEL (1942– ), Israeli pianist and conductor. Born in Buenos Aires to parents of Jewish Russian descent, Barenboim started piano lessons at the age of five with his mother, and then with his father, who remained his only other teacher. He gave his first public recital at the age of seven. Further education included Markevich's conducting classes in Salzburg (1954), and studies in Paris and Rome. Barenboim settled in Israel in 1952. Following his British and American debuts (1955, 1957), he toured widely and soon became known as one of the most versatile pianists of his generation. He first conducted in Israel (1962), and from 1965 was active as conductor and soloist with the English Chamber Orchestra. In 1967 Barenboim married the cellist Jacqueline *du Pré in Jerusalem. They performed and recorded together in the coming years until her career was tragically cut short by multiple sclerosis.

Following his debut as conductor with the New Philharmonia Orchestra (London, 1967), Barenboim was in demand by all the leading European and American symphony orchestras. He conducted opera for the first time at the Edinburgh Festival in 1973, and from 1981 was a regular visitor at the Wagner Bayreuth Festival. He was music director of the Orchestre National de Paris (1975–1989), the Chicago so (1991), and the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin (1992).

In 2000 the Staatskapelle Berlin appointed him chief conductor for life. He works on a regular basis with the Berlin and the Vienna Philharmonics. Barenboim has always been active as a chamber musician, performing with, among others, *Perlman, *Zukerman, and singer Fischer-Dieskau. His numerous recordings include the complete Beethoven sonatas and piano concertos and the Mozart concerti. As a conductor, he has been most successful with scores from the Romantic era. He also championed contemporary works, and in recent years moved into popular and crossover repertory, such as Argentine tango. He provoked an outcry in Israel by defying the country's ban on Wagner, playing the Prelude from Tristan und Isolde with the Berlin Staatskapelle as an encore in concert at the Israel Festival (2001). He has been a prominent advocate of peace in the Middle East. In the early 1990s, he met the Palestinian-born writer and Columbia University professor Edward Said, who shared his vision of peaceful coexistence in the area. This led to Barenboim's first concert on the West Bank, a piano recital at Bir Zeit University. Barenboim and Said established a foundation that promotes music and co-operation through projects targeted at young Arabs and Israelis. They jointly received Spain's Prince of Asturias Concord Prize (2002). Among Barenboim's other honors are the Tolerance Prize (2002) and in 2004 the Buber-Rosenzweig Medal, the Wolf Prize for the Arts, and the Haviva Reik Peace Award. A new version of Barenboim's autobiography, A Life in Music, was published in 2002, as was his book with Said, Parallels and Paradoxes: Explorations in Music and Society.


Grove online; mgg2; Baker's Biographical Dictionary (1997); A. Blyth, "Daniel Barenboim," in: Opera 45 (Aug. 1994), 905–10; H. Kupferberg, "Daniel Barenboim: A 50-Year Career Just Keeps on Growing," in: American Record Guide, 63 (Nov.–Dec. 2000), 6–8.

[Naama Ramot (2nd ed.)]

Barenboim, Daniel

views updated Jun 08 2018

Barenboim, Daniel

Barenboim, Daniel, greatly talented Israeli pianist and conductor; b. Buenos Aires, Nov. 15, 1942. He began music training with his parents, making his public debut as a pianist in Buenos Aires when he was only seven. During the summers of 1954 and 1955, he studied piano with Edwin Fischer, conducting with Igor Markevitch, and chamber music with Enrico Mainardi at the Salzburg Mozarteum. He also pursued training in theory with Boulanger in Paris (1954–56), was one of the youngest students to receive a diploma from the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome (1956), and took a conducting course with Carlo Zecchi at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena. In 1955 he made his debut as a soloist with orch. in Paris, and then made his British debut in Bournemouth. In Jan. 1956 he made his first appearance in London as soloist with Krips and the Royal Phil. He made his U.S. debut as soloist in Prokofiev’s First Piano Concerto with Stokowski and the Sym. of the Air at N.Y.’s Carnegie Hall on Jan. 20, 1957. Later that year he made his first appearance as a conductor in Haifa. On Jan. 17, 1958, he made his U.S. recital debut in N.Y. In 1960 he played cycles of all the Beethoven piano sonatas in Israel and South America, and later in London (1967, 1970) and N.Y. (1970). From 1965 he was active as a soloist and conductor with the English Chamber Orch. in London. In 1967 he married the renowned English cellist Jacqueline DuPré (b. Oxford, Jan. 26, 1945; d. London, Oct. 19, 1987), with whom he subsequently appeared in numerous concerts until she was tragically stricken with multiple sclerosis in 1973 and was compelled to abandon her career. In 1967 he conducted the Israel Phil, on a tour of the U.S., returning thereafter to appear as a guest conductor with various orchs. He also appeared as a guest conductor throughout Europe. He made his operatic debut in 1973 conducting Don Giovanni at the Edinburgh Festival. In 1975 he became music director of the Orchestre de Paris, a position he held until 1989. In 1981 he made his first appearance at the Bayreuth Festival conducting Tristan und Isolde. In 1988 he was named artistic director of the new Opéra de la Bastille in Paris by the French minister of culture. However, following the French presidential election, a new minister of culture was appointed and disagreements over artistic policy and remuneration led to Barenboim’s abrupt dismissal in Jan. 1989. That same month he was appointed music director of the Chicago Sym. Orch., succeeding Solti. During the 1989-91 seasons, he served as its music director-designate before fully assuming his duties as music director for the orch.’s 100th anniversary season in 1991-92. In 1993 he also became Generalmusikdirektor of the Berlin State Opera. His autobiography appeared as A Life in Music (1991). From the earliest years of his professional career as a pianist, Barenboim has been held in the highest esteem. Particularly notable have been his performances of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, and Brahms. In addition to his distinguished appearances as a recitalist and chamber music artist, he has won great admiration as an accompanist. Barenboim’s career as a conductor has been less remarkable. While he has maintained an extensive repertoire, he has been most successful with scores from the Romantic and late Romantic eras. He has also championed contemporary works, conducting premieres by such composers as Boulez and Corigliano.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

Barenboim, Daniel

views updated May 14 2018

Barenboim, Daniel (b Buenos Aires, 1942). Israeli pianist and conductor. Taught pf. by his mother, then his father. Début Buenos Aires 1949. Family moved to Israel 1952. Début as conc. soloist, Paris 1955. Brit. début, Bournemouth 1955, London Jan. 1956, and NY 1957. Has several times given recital series of all Beethoven pf. sonatas (Israel, S. Amer. 1960, London 1967, 1970, NY 1970). Cond. début in Israel 1962. Salzburg Fest. début (as pianist) 1965 (Mozart conc. K491, Vienna PO cond. Mehta); (as cond.) 1990 (Berlin PO). Worked as cond.-soloist with ECO 1965 and cond. New Philharmonia Orch. 1967, Hallé and LSO (US tour) 1968, Berlin Phil. Orch. 1969, NYPO 1970. Mus. dir. Orchestre de Paris 1975–88, Chicago SO from 1991. Cond., Deutsche Staatsoper, Berlin, from 1992 (début Parsifal). Début in opera, Edinburgh Fest. 1973 (Don Giovanni). Cond. Tristan und Isolde, Bayreuth, 1981, Der Ring des Nibelungen, 1988. Married cellist Jacqueline du Pré, 1967, and settled in Eng., pursuing highly successful career both as pianist and cond. Acc. Janet Baker and Fischer-Dieskau in recitals and chamber-mus. player with Zukerman, Perlman, and (until 1976) Piatigorsky. Awarded Bruckner Medal. Autobiography, A Life in Music (1991).

Barenboim, Daniel

views updated May 14 2018

Barenboim, Daniel (1942– ) Israeli pianist and conductor, b. Argentina. An eclectic musician, he performed with many of the world's great orchestras, such as the New York and Berlin Philharmonics, the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestre de Paris. Barenboim succeeded Sir Georg Solti as artistic director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1992– ). In 1967 he married cellist Jacqueline Du Pré.