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Daniel Barenboim: Pianist, Conductor and Activist

Argentinian Daniel Barenboim is a pianist – he is considered one of the greatest alive — and the general music director of La Scala in Milan, the Berlin State Opera and the Staatskapelle Berlin.He has been director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestre de Paris.

Barenboim has won many awards and is a political figure as well. Wikipedia says that he leads the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which features young Arab and Israeli musicians. He is a critic of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

AllMusic’s profile by Joseph Stevenson highlights Barenboim’s story. He was born to Ukrainian Jewish parents in Buenos Aries in 1942. His family was musical: Barenboim’s mother was his first piano teacher his father was an eminent music professor. He was a prodigy to whom experts paid attention when he was as young as seven years old. The family moved to Israel in 1952, though Barenboim returned to study music in Europe.

The profiles describe the many honors he has won. Stevenson says that as a pianist, Barenboim tends to focus on Mozart, Beethoven and the early Romantics. As a conductor, he favors Brahms, Bruckner and later Romantic composers.

There are many good videos of Barenboim. Many of them are long, and they are about evenly split between conducting and his work as a pianist. Above, Barenboim plays “La Danza de La Moza Donosa” by Alberto Ginestera and below is the Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Wikipedia and AllMusic were used to write the post.