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Das Philharmonische Tagebuch

Sat, 08. December 2007

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New Year's Concert 2009 with Daniel Barenboim

Daniel Barenboim
©Haughton/Teldec

The Vienna Philharmonic New Year's Concert 2009 will be directed for the first time by the Argentinean-Israeli pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim. Wilhelm Furtwängler wrote that "Daniel Barenboim is a phenomenon" when he heard the young piano virtuoso play in the year 1954. Barenboim was born on November 15, 1942 in Buenos Aires as the son of pianists. He received his first piano instruction from his mother, with his father later taking over his musical training. At the age of 11 Barenboim took part in conducting classes in Salzburg under Igor Markevich, and it was in that summer that he met and played for Furtwängler. Soon Barenboim was making a name for himself as one of the most versatile pianists of his generation.

At the same time he began to spend more time conducting, developing a close relationship with the English Chamber Orchestra which lasted over a decade. By the time of his London debut as conductor of the New Philharmonia Orchestra in 1967, he was in demand with all the leading orchestras of Europe and the USA. From 1991 until 2006 Barenboim was the principal conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and since 1992 has been the General Music Director of the State Opera Unter den Linden in Berlin. Daniel Barenboim's debut with the Vienna Philharmonic took place in 1989, and he has since then been a regular guest.

Daniel Barenboim has led a life guided by music, and has combined musical knowledge and talent with ideas and gestures that give his work significance beyond the concert hall. In 1999, Barenboim and the late Palestinian academic Edward Said founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, in which young musicians from the Middle East and Israel perform together. "Music is an art form which transcends all borders," he said when being awarded the Wolf Prize before the Israeli parliament.  Among the many awards Barenboim has received was the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize in Vienna in 2006, where the foundation's board of trustees noted his "unifying efforts toward peace in the Middle East". In September 2007 Barenboim was named as United Nations Peace Envoy.

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