An Israeli pianist
, born in Buenos Aires
on 15 November 1942. He was married to the cellist Jacqueline du Pré
from 1967 until her untimely death in 1987.
His first piano recital was at the age of seven (19 August 1950), having been taught by his mother; he and his family, of Ukrainian Jewish descent, moved to Israel in 1952. He studied at Salzburg, Rome, and Paris, debuted as a pianist in England in 1955 and in New York in 1957, and first conducted in 1964, for the English Chamber Orchestra in Israel. Since then he has performed widely in both capacities. His partnerships in chamber works with the violinists Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman are very good, and make an excellent accompaniment to noding him and trying to drive away the pop music from the floor above. Bastard. Sorry.
Barenboim was musical director of the Orchestre de Paris from 1975 to 1988, then of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Deutsche Staatsoper, Berlin.
Since 1981 he has been very successful in conducting Wagner, especially at Bayreuth. Just this month he broke a taboo on performance of Wagner in Israel, doing the Prelude from Tristan und Isolde as an encore: he is perhaps the only person with the authority to carry this off; however, it was extremely controversial, and he might suffer from it. It is a running battle in the Israeli artistic world. He has described the ban on Wagner as irrational, and he is much angered by it.
He is also a strong advocate of cooperation with the Palestinians. He performed at Bir Zeit University in 1999, and again there and in the occupied town of Ramallah in September 2002, the latter to an audience of children. With Edward Said in 1999 he founded an annual summer school to bring together Israeli and Arab young musicians.
He studied composition with Nadia Boulanger but I can't say I've ever heard any works written by Barenboim.