Daniel Barenboim

Dirigent, Pianist

Dirigent und Pianist
Generalmusikdirektor der Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Berlin

1942 Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Jewish Russian immigrant parents

1947 Starts piano lessons with his mother; continues to study with his father, who remains his only other teacher.

1950 Buenos Aires: Piano debut Vienna: Plays in and observes Igor Markevich's conducting class Family settles in Israel

1954 Salzburg: becomes youngest member of Igor Markevich's conducting masterclasses. Meets and plays for Wilhelm Furtwängler, who invites DB to attend his rehearsals of Don Giovanni and to perform with him and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Furtwängler's statement "the eleven year old Barenboim is a phenomenon ..." helped the young pianist to quickly establish himself.

1955-56 Paris: Studies with Nadia Boulanger; Makes Paris debut (with André Cluytens/ Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire/Mozart K271); Plays for Arthur Rubinstein; Meets Leopold Stokowski, who invites him to perform with him

1956-57 New York: Piano debut with Stokowski/Symphony of the Air (Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 1) at Carnegie Hall; also performs with members of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra/Dimitri Mitropoulos

1960 Tel Aviv: Performs complete cycle of Beethoven piano sonatas

1962 Tel Aviv: Conducting debut with Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Manchester (UK): Performs as pianist with Hallé Orchestra/Sir John Barbirolli. "As far as orchestral playing is concerned, I learned most of what I know from Barbirolli"

1964 Berlin: Piano debut with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (Boulez/Bartók Piano Concerto No. 1 & Mehta/Furtwängler Piano Concerto) UK: Plays & conducts English Chamber Orchestra for the first time. Later performs with and conducts them in Europe, the United States ('68), and Australia. Also tours world with them ('69) and India/Japan ('73)

1966 London: Meets Jacqueline du Pre. They marry in Jerusalem in 1967, during the 7-Day War and perform and record together in the next years until Ms. du Pré is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She dies, in London, in 1987

1967 London: Performs - and later records - Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 25 with Otto Klemperer & Philharmonia Orchestra. They subsequently record all the Beethoven piano concertos. Daniel Barenboim later records the Beethoven piano concertos twice again: as conductor with Arthur Rubinstein/London Philharmonic Orchestra and as both pianist and conductor with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

1968 Meets Pinchas Zukerman, forms trio with him and du Pré. He also enjoys chamber music collaborations through the years with Gregor Piatigorsky, Itzhak Perlman, Isaac Stern, Yo-Yo Ma and Maxim Vengerov

1969 Berlin: Conducting debut with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra London: First recital with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Die Winterreise) which leads to an extensive concert and recording collaboration.

1970 Chicago: Conducts Chicago Symphony Orchestra for first time (Four separate concerts in November include Dvorák Cello Concerto and Silent Woods (du Pré), Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3, Mozart Concerto for Violin, No. 5 (Zukerman) and Bruckner Symphony No. 7

1971-73 Serves as Director of Israel Festival

1973 Edinburgh: First appearances conducting opera (Don Giovanni) at the Edinburgh Festival

1975-89 Paris: Music Director of L'Orchestre de Paris. His tenure is marked by a commitment to contemporary music with performances of works by Lutoslawski, Berio, Boulez, Henze, Dutilleux and Takemitsu.

1978 Berlin: Begins conducting at Deutsche Oper, Berlin. (Le nozze di Figaro; then Tristan und Isolde; later Fidelio, Aida, Der Fliegende Holländer)

1980 Munich: Performs as pianist with Munich Philharmonic and Sergiu Celibidache. Gives concerts with Celibidache in Munich every year thereafter

1981 Bayreuth debut with a new production of Tristan und Isolde. Becomes a regular visitor, conducting The Ring, Parsifal, Die Meistersinger and Tristan und Isolde.

1988 Bayreuth: Conducts new production of Der Ring des Nibelungen, which runs through the summer of 1992

1989 Chicago: Named ninth Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, succeeding Sir Georg Solti from 9/91. His contract runs until 2006. Vienna: Conducting debut with Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Berlin: Leads Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in concert at the Philharmonie on the occasion of the tearing down of the Berlin Wall (Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 1 and Symphony No.7)

1991 Chicago: First concert as new Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (First program was an open-air concert; First official concert was Bruckner Symphony No. 5) Autobiography, A Life in Music, is published.

1992 Berlin: Becomes General Music Director of Staatsoper Unter den Linden. His contract runs until 2002 Signs exclusive recording contract with Warner Classics International.

1998 London: Performs Beethoven cycle (symphonies & piano concertos) with Berliner Staatskapelle: "Barenboim proved again that he is simply one of the most musical musicians in the world today. [...] While this was unmistakably Beethoven for today it was also true to the spirit of the composer's time. [...] the aristocratic tone of Berlin's oldest orchestra showed itself right in the opening bars." Repeats cycle in Vienna, Berlin and New York in 2000.

1999 West Bank: Gives recital at Birzeit University in Ramallah Berlin: Records Beethoven's Fidelio with Meier/Domingo/Struckmann/Berliner Staatsoper; With the Berliner Staatskapelle, makes his first recording of Beethoven Symphonies cycle (Nos. 1-9) for CD and DVD Audio Weimar: Directs West-Eastern Divan Project: Workshop for young music students from the Near and Middle East.

1999-2001 Leads Staatsoper Berlin and Berlin Philharmonic in cycle of Mozart Da Ponte Operas and Mozart piano concertos over a period of three years. Operas took place at the Staatsoper Berlin while selected piano concertos and concert arias were performed with the Berlin Philharmonic and guest soloists at the Philharmonie. Gives 50th Anniversary recital at the Teatro Colón on August 19 in Buenos Aires.

2000 New York: Carnegie Hall mounts tribute to Daniel Barenboim as pianist, chamber musician, conductor and teacher in his 50th Year of Performance Buenos Aires: Gives 50th Anniversary recital at the Teatro Colon on August 19.

2000-2003 Leads Staatsoper Berlin in four seasons at the Teatro Real in Madrid. Operas include Mozart's Don Giovanni, Beethoven's Fidelio, Wagner's Tannhäuser. Die Meistersinger, Tristan und Isolde and Der Fliegende Hollander and R. Strauss's Elektra. Other works include Brahms Requiem, Beethoven Symphony No. 9 and Piano Concerto No. 4, Schumann Symphony No. 2 and Piano Concerto, Mahler Symphony No. 5.

2001 Recordings of Beethoven Symphonies and Busoni's Die Brautwahl win Cannes Classical Awards; West-Eastern Divan Workshop and Orchestra takes place in Chicago; Leads CSO on European tour; Signs new five-year contract with Staatskapelle Berlin; Holds three-week festival "Wagner and Modernism" with CSO in Chicago.

2002 Leads Staatsoper Berlin in three sold out Ring Cycles in Japan; Conducts Wagner Marathon at Staatsoper Berlin, including two complete cycles of the composer's ten major operas; Performs Beethoven Sonatas cycle at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires; West-Eastern Divan Workshop and Orchestra takes place in Seville, hosted by the Fundación Tres Culturas del Mediterráneo; Performs piano recital in Ramallah; Autobiography Daniel Barenboim, A Life in Music reprinted with six new chapters; Book Parallels and Paradoxes: Explorations in Music and Society, written together with Edward Said, is released; Wins Prince of Asturias Award for Concord with Edward Said; Wins German Federal Cross of Merit; Wins Tolerance Prize from Evangelical Academy in Tutzing; Celebrates 60th birthday with Benefit Concert for Staatsoper Berlin, performing Brahms Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 with Zubin Mehta conducting.

2003 CD of Wagner's Tannhäuser with Staatskapelle Berlin wins Grammy Award; Daniel Barenboim and Staatskapelle Berlin win Wilhelm Furtwängler Prize; Performs Brahms cycle in Paris with Staatskapelle Berlin; Tours Japan with CSO; Gives all-Beethoven recital at Friends School in Ramallah; Leads West-Eastern Divan Workshop in Seville; Performs a Memorial Concert for Edward Said in Chicago with the CSO and participants of the West-Eastern Divan Workshop.

2004 Leads Staatskapelle Berlin on tour of US with works by Robert Schumann; Performs Beethoven Sonatas cycle at Vienna's Musikverein; Gives Brahms Symphonies cycle with Staatskapelle Berlin in Munich; Leads Palestine Youth Orchestra in its first concert and gives Beethoven Sonatas concert at Friends School in Ramallah; Wins Wolf Prize for his dedication to human rights causes and his commitment to bringing people together. Contributes the $50,000 award to music education projects in Israel and Ramallah; Performs Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier in Germany, Argentina, Spain and the U.S.

2005 Delivers first Edward Said Lecture at Columbia University in New York.
Leads two days of Beethoven sonatas masterclasses with seven young pianists in Chicago, taped for television and DVD. Named Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University. Takes CSO on tours of U.S. and Europe and appears with the Orchestra at the Berlin Festtage and Lucerne Festival. Leads Staatskapelle Berlin on tours of Japan and Spain. Performs Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier (Books I and/or II) in Holland, the UK, France, Spain, Japan, Austria). Performs Beethoven sonatas cycle at Berlin's Staatsoper, recorded for DVD release. Opens music kindergarten in Berlin.

Wins Special Ambassador of Music Prize of ECHO Klassik 2005. Takes West-Eastern Divan Orchestra on tour to Spain, Switzerland, Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, England, Scotland and Ramallah. Conducts concert with Staatskapelle Berlin and soloists Plácido Domingo, Thomas Quasthoff and Rene Pape to benefit victims of the tsunami in Southeast Asia.

2006 Delivers 2006 BBC Reith Lectures in London, Chicago, Berlin and Jerusalem. Receives the Music Prize of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation. Performs Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier (Books 1 and 2) in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, France and the U.S. Takes Staatskapelle Berlin on tours to North America, Austria and Spain. Conducts Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in Europakonzert 2006 in Prague, broadcast worldwide.Wins Kultur Groschen award. Wins Peace Prize from the Korn and Gerstenmann Foundation. Named Maestro Scaligero at La Scala, Milan.
At the completion of his tenure as Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1991-2006), is named “Honorary Conductor for Life” by CSO musicians. Gives six lectures at Harvard University as Charles Eliot Norton Professor. Receives Robert Schumann Prize. Receives Understanding and Tolerance Award from Berlin’s Jewish Museum. Receives Hessischer Peace Prize.

2007 Participates in the first of a series of public debates in Brussels hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee under the patronage of the European Commission and the European Parliament. Leads West Eastern Divan Orchestra on a four-concert tour of the U.S.A. including a farewell concert for Kofi Annan at the United Nations and performances at Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island), Harris Theater (Chicago) and Carnegie Hall in New York. Commemorates the 50th anniversary of his Carnegie Hall debut with performances of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier (Books 1 and 2). Leads Staatskapelle Berlin on German/European tour.
Leads Vienna Philharmonic on tour to Budapest, Oslo, Moscow, Valencia, Madrid and New York. Is awarded the 2007 Goethe Medal in Germany.
Is named Commandeur dans L’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur in France.
Performes all-Liszt piano recitals in Paris, Milan, Bologna, Florence and Rome.

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© Margit Broich