Daniel Barenboim was born in Buenos Aires in 1942. He received his first piano lessons from his mother at age five. Later, he studied under his father, who would remain his only piano teacher. At the age of seven, he gave his first public concert in Buenos Aires. In 1952, he moved with his parents to Israel.
His international debut came at age ten with concerts in Vienna and Rome, followed by performances in Paris (1955), London (1956), and New York (1957) under Leopold Stokowski. Since then, he has regularly toured Europe the United States, South America, Australia, and the Far East.
Ever since his conducting debut in 1967 in London with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Mr. Barenboim has been in great demand with leading orchestras around the world. He was principal conductor of the Orchestre de Paris (1975–1989) and music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1991–2006). Upon his departure, the musicians of the orchestra named him honorary conductor for life. Since 1992, Mr. Barenboim has been general music director of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden. In 2000, the Staatskapelle Berlin appointed him chief conductor for life. In the 2007–2008 season, Mr. Barenboim began a close relationship with the Teatro alla Scala in Milan as “maestro scaligero.” Between 2011 and 2014 he was music director of the famous opera house.
In 1999, Mr. Barenboim, together with Palestinian literary scholar Edward Said, established the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. He also initiated a project for music education in the Palestinian territories, which includes a music conservatory and a music kindergarten. Since 2015, talented young musicians from the Middle East study at the Barenboim-Said Academy in Berlin, another initiative founded by Daniel Barenboim. In the fall of 2016, this university for music and humanities housed in the renovated former stage depot of the Staatsoper started enrolling up to 90 students in a four-year bachelor program. Also housed in the same building as the academy is the Frank-Gehry designed Pierre Boulez Hall that opened in March 2017 and since enriches Berlin’s musical life.
Mr. Barenboim is the recipient of numerous awards honoring his peace efforts and has published a number of books.