Daniel Barenboim

Daniel Barenboim is one of today’s most outstanding artists. As a pianist and conductor, he has been active for decades in major cities across Europe and all around the world; as the initiator of several highly acclaimed projects, he has contributed decisively to international music life.

He was born in Buenos Aires in 1942. He gave his first public concert when he was 7 years old. In 1952, he moved with his parents to Israel. At age 11, Barenboim took part in conducting classes in Salzburg under Igor Markevitch. In 1955 and 1956, he studied harmony and composition with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. Since the 1950s, 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, Barenboim has been in great demand with leading orchestras around the world. Between 1975 and 1989, he was chief conductor of the Orchestre de Paris. From 1991 until 2006, Barenboim was music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. His debut as an opera conductor came at the Edinburgh Festival in 1973. Over 18 years, from 1981 until 1999, he was active as a conductor of the Bayreuth Festival.

From the end of 1991 until January 2023, Barenboim was general music director of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden. In 2000, the Staatskapelle Berlin voted him chief conductor for life. In the opera as well as on the concert stage, Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin have acquired a large repertoire, especially great work cycles that they presented in Berlin and worldwide. Beside the great classic Romantic repertoire, they continue to focus on modern and contemporary music. A constantly growing number of CD and DVD recordings document this close artistic partnership.

In 1999, Barenboim founded with Palestinian literary scholar Edward Said the West-Eastern Divan Workshop, which brings together young musicians from Israel and the Arab countries to perform. Since this time the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra has developed into a celebrated ensemble with performances in many musical centers in Europe and the world. Since 2015, talented young musicians from the Middle East also have studied at the Barenboim-Said Akademie in Berlin, another initiative founded by Barenboim. In 2016, this university for music and the humanities started enrolling up to 90 students in a four-year degree program. Also housed in the same building as the academy is the Frank Gehry-designed Pierre Boulez Hall that has enriched Berlin’s musical life since 2017.

Barenboim has been honored with many important international prizes and has published several books.

February 2023

Please note: Biographies are based on information provided to the CSO by the artists or their representatives. More current information may be available on websites of the artists or their management.