Daniel Barenboim, November 9, 2019, at the Berlin Opera. MICHELE TANTUSSI / AFP
Pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim, suffering from a neurological disease, announced on Friday January 6 his resignation for health reasons from the Berlin Staatsoper, which he had directed for thirty years.
A phenomenon at 11 years old
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Daniel Barenboim has been at the head of the Berlin State Opera and its orchestra, the Staatskapelle, for three decades. His contract ran until 2027.
“These years have given us wings from all points of view, both musically and humanly. Over the years, we have become a musical family and we will remain so”he said in his press release, expressing his “admiration for the singers, the members of the choir and all the other collaborators of the National Opera”.
“It goes without saying that I will remain – as long as I live – very closely linked to music and that I am ready to continue to direct, also and above all, the Staatskapelle Berlin”he concludes.
“It is with great respect that Daniel Barenboim takes this step in the spirit of the institution and leaves his post.reacted Matthias Schulz, intendant of the Berlin Opera. One can only imagine how difficult that decision must have been. [pour lui]. »
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Born in Argentina, Mr. Barenboim started on the international scene as a pianist at the age of 10, before becoming a leading conductor. “At 11, Daniel Barenboim is already a phenomenon”, wrote German chef Wilhelm Furtwängler at the time. His recordings of Beethoven’s five piano concertos and Mozart’s complete piano concertos are landmarks.
“Messenger of Peace”
With Jacqueline du Pré, the British cellist who was his first wife – until 1987, when she died at the age of 42 from multiple sclerosis – he would form one of the finest musical duos of the century. Chaining recordings, he conducted for fourteen years the Orchester de Paris (1975-1989). Appointed artistic and musical director of the new Opéra-Bastille, he was sacked by Pierre Bergé six months before the opening.
The conductor then began a career in the United States at the head of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1991-2006), alongside the direction of the prestigious Staatsoper in Berlin. He will become “leader for life” of his orchestra, the Staatskapelle.
He will also be a regular at the Bayreuth Festival (Germany), an annual event founded by Richard Wagner and dedicated to the work of the latter, within the framework of which he will conduct many times, arousing criticism in Israel.
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His status as a maestro earned him, in 2019, to be accused of authoritarianism by former collaborators of the Berlin Opera. Holder of Israeli, Argentinian, Spanish and Palestinian passports (since 2008), Daniel Barenboim did not hesitate to put his notoriety at the service of his convictions.
Among other things, he created a foundation and an orchestra to promote cooperation between young musicians from Israel and Arab countries. Appointed “messenger of peace” of the United Nations in 2007, he conducted a historic concert in Gaza in 2011.
The World with AFP