Born November 15, 1942; Buenos Aires, Argentina
Daniel Barenboim began his first piano lessons at the age of five with his mother, later continuing with his father, who remained his only other teacher. In August 1950, he gave his first public concert in Buenos Aires, later attending Igor Markevitch’s conducting classes in Salzburg and studying harmony and composition with Nadia Boulanger in Paris.
Following debuts in Vienna, Rome, Paris, London, and New York, 15-year-old Barenboim made his piano recital debut at Orchestra Hall on the Allied Arts series in January 1958. He first appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival in June 1965, in Beethoven’s First Piano concerto with André Previn, and in Orchestra Hall in February 1969, in Bartók’s First Piano Concerto with Pierre Boulez.
Barenboim first conducted the CSO in November 1970 at Michigan State University, leading Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with his wife, Jacqueline du Pré, as soloist. For the next two decades, Barenboim was a frequent visitor to Chicago, leading the CSO in concerts and recordings, as well as performing as a piano recitalist and chamber musician.
In January 1989, the Orchestral Association announced that Daniel Barenboim would succeed Sir Georg Solti to become the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s ninth music director, beginning in the 1991-92 season. His music directorship was distinguished by the opening of Chicago’s new Symphony Center in 1997, operatic productions in Orchestra Hall, appearances with the Orchestra in the dual role of pianist and conductor and numerous international tours. Barenboim continued the cultivation of the composer-in-residence program and led the Orchestra in more than 30 world and U.S. premieres.
In 1994, Barenboim appointed Duain Wolfe as director of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, succeeding founding director Margaret Hillis.
Barenboim amassed an extensive discography with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, including works by Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Falla, Mahler, Rimsky-Korsakov, Schumann, Richard Strauss, Tchaikovsky and Wagner; and concertos with Jacqueline du Pré, Lang Lang, Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Maxim Vengerov, Pinchas Zukerman and members of the Orchestra.