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Barenboim, Daniel

music conductor debut director

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 100 th 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.

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