Born: Nov 15, 1942 in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Genre: Symphony, Orchestral Music, Opera, Keyboard Music, Concerto, Chamber Music
Daniel Barenboim was born in Buenos Aires on November 15, 1942, into a family of Ukrainian Jewish descent. Daniel's mother was his first piano teacher; he later studied with his father, Enrique Barenboim, who was an eminent music professor. After playing for the noted violinist Adolph Busch, who was impressed by his talent, Daniel made his debut recital at the age of seven. In 1951, he played at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and observed Igor Markevitch's conducting class. The family moved to Israel in 1952; two years later, Daniel went back to Salzburg for a conducting course with Markevitch, piano studies with Edwin Fischer, and chamber music performance with Enrico Mainardi. In the same year, he enrolled in the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, becoming, in 1956, one of the Academy's youngest graduates. He studied conducting with Carlo Zecchi at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, also attending Nadia Boulanger's music theory and composition class at Fontainebleau. After recitals in Paris in 1955, he made his London debut in 1956, playing a recital in Festival Hall as part of the Mozart bicentennial celebrations. His U.S. debut was at New York's Carnegie Hall on January 20, 1957, in Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 1, with Leopold Stokowski conducting the Symphony of the Air. Later that year, he made his conducting debut in Haifa, Israel. His first North American recital was on January 17, 1958, in New York. Barenboim played his first cycle of the complete 32 piano sonatas of Beethoven in Tel Aviv in 1960 and then in New York. As a frequent conductor of the English Chamber Orchestra from 1964, he often appeared as soloist-conductor in concertos, touring with the ECO in Latin America and the Far East. Debuts with leading orchestras included the London Symphony Orchestra (New York, 1968), Berlin Philharmonic (1969), and New York Philharmonic (1970). Since then he has guest conducted virtually all of the world's leading orchestras. He led London's South Bank Summer Music Festival from 1968 to 1970. His first appearance conducting opera was at the Edinburgh Festival in 1973; his debut opera was Don Giovanni.
In 1967, Barenboim married the brilliant cellist Jacqueline Du Pre, with whom he made several exceptional recital recordings. The couple also participated in a number of excellent concert and documentary films for television directed by Christopher Nupen. Unfortunately, this partnership ended when Du Pre contracted multiple sclerosis, which forced her to end her playing career in 1972. (She died in 1987.)
Barenboim became music director of the Orchestre de Paris in 1975. In 1988, the French Minister of Culture announced Barenboim's appointment as artistic director of the new Bastille Opera in Paris. Sadly, following political squabbles, which included disputes over money and artistic policy, a new Minister of Culture dismissed Barenboim in January, 1989. However, that same month he was named as Sir George Solti's successor as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In 1992, Barenboim became music director of the Berlin State Opera, then named chief conductor for life by its orchestra in 2002. He has also received awards for his efforts to bring together and mentor young Israeli and Palestinian musicians.
Barenboim has a rich recorded repertoire as a conductor, pianist, accompanist, and chamber music player. Interestingly, as a pianist, he tends to focus on Mozart, Beethoven, and the early Romantics, while as a conductor he favors later Romantic music, particularly Brahms and Bruckner (he has won a medal from the Bruckner Society of America). With German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau he has played acclaimed recitals of lieder, notably those of Hugo Wolf. In 2004 he resigned his position in Chicago, citing stress brought on by the numerous nonmusical activities conductors of American orchestras are expected to undertake.
-Joseph Stevenson (All Music Guide)
Daniel Barenboim was born in Buenos Aires in 1942 to parents of Jewish-Russian descent. He started piano lessons at the age of five with his mother, continuing to study with his father, who remained his only other teacher. In August 1 950, when he was just seven years old, he gave his first official concert in Buenos Aires.
Important influences in his development as a musician included Artur Rubinstein and Adolf Busch, both of whom performed in Argentina. The Barenboim family moved to Israel in 1952. Two years later, in the summer of 1954, the parents brought their son to Salzburg to take part in Igor Markevich's conducting classes. During that same summer he also met Wilhelm Furtwdngler, played for him and attended some of the great conductor's rehearsals and a concert. Furtwangler subsequently wrote a letter including the words, "The eleven year-old-Barenboim is a phenomenon ..." that was to open many doors to Barenboim fora long time afterwards. In 1 955 the young Barenboim studied harmony and composition with Nadia Boulanger in Paris.
Barenboim made his debut as a pianist in Vienna and Rome in 1952, and in New York in 1957 with Leopold Stokowski conducting the Symphony of the Air. He made his first gramophone recordings in 1954 and soon began recording the most important works in the piano repertory, including complete cycles of the piano sonatas of Mozart and Beethoven and concertos by Mozart, Beethoven (with Otto Klemperer) and Brahms. During the same period, Barenboim began to devote more time to conducting. His close relationship with the English Chamber Orchestra, kindled in 1 965, lasted over a decade, during which time they performed frequently in England, with Barenboim as both conductor and pianist, and made tours all over Europe, to the United States and Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Following his debut as a conductor with the New Philharmonia Orchestra in London in 1967, Barenboim was in demand with all the leading European and American symphony orchestras. Between 1975 and 1 989 he was Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris, his tenure marked by a commitment to contemporary music, with performances of works by Lutoslawski, Berio, Boulez, Henze, Dutilleux, Takemitsu and others.
Barenboim has always been active as a chamber musician, performing with, among others, his late wife, cellist Jacqueline du Pre, as well as with Gregor Piatigorsky, Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman. He has also accompanied Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in lieder recitals.
Barenboim made his opera-conducting debut in 1973 with a performance of Mozart's Don Giovanni'at the Edinburgh International Festival. He made his Bayreuth debut in 1 981 and has been a regular visitor there ever since, conducting Tristan undIsolde, TheRing, Parsifal and Die Meistersinger.
In 1991 he succeeded Sir Georg Solti as Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, with which he has since enjoyed countless successes in all the world's great concert halls. In 1 992 he became General Music Director of the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin. He currently holds both posts. In October 2000, in recognition of his dedication "to Germany's cultural unification process" and the fact that he " is an excellent ambassador for German culture and works worldwide in promoting peaceful relations between different nations," the Staatskapelle Berlin, resident orchestra of the Deutsche Staatsoper, named him Chief Conductor for Life.
Barenboim has also had a long and distinguished association with the Berlin Philharmonic and maintains a close relationship as well with the Vienna Philharmonic, with which he toured the US, Paris and London in 1997.
Barenboim has had an exclusive recording contract with Teldec since 1993. In this time Teldec has issued solo recordings and albums in which he conducts the Berlin Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Staatskapelle Berlin. In addition, Barenboim's best-selling recording of Argentinian tangos, Mi Buenos Aires Querido: Tangos Among Friends in collaboration with Rodolfo Mederos and Hector Console was released in 1996 to great acclaim. His Tribute to Ellington with Dianne Reeves, Don Byron and Chicago-based jazz musicians was released in autumn 1999 for the centenary of Ellington's birth. Brazilian Rhapsody, an album of Brazilian music performed by Barenboim, with an ensemble consisting of flute, oboe, clarinet, violin, bass and percussion - and with two tracks featuring the Brazilian pop star, Milton Nascimento -was a Teldec best-selling recording in 2000.
In 2000 the music world celebrated the 50th anniversary of Daniel Barenboim's performance debut with major musical events in Berlin, Chicago, New York-and on the actual anniversary, August 1 9 - Buenos Aires. Always looking to the future, the indefatigable musician also recorded his first Beethoven symphonies cycle, both for CD and the new DVD Audio technology. The cycle has been an enormous success and won numerous awards, including the Cannes Classical Awards' 'Recording of the Year'.
(fragment from the CD cover)