Daniel Barenboim, born on Nov. 15, 1942, is one of the world’s greatest conductors.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, he would go to become a child prodigy as a pianist, taking on conducting in later years. Nowadays he is well-regarded for his wide-ranging musicianship, which has undoubtedly extended into the world of opera.
His opera conducting debut came in 1973 at the Edinburgh Festival with Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” and he has never looked back becoming one of the great opera conductors in recent history. Here is a look at some of his other major accomplishments with the art form.
Director of Many Companies
Barenboim’s major accomplishments undoubtedly include his leadership of many operatic organizations. The first major appointment of his career came in 1988 when he became artistic and musical director of the Opera-Bastille, though that appointment did not come to fruition as he was fired in 1989.
But things took a better turn for the maestro when he became music director of the Berlin State Opera in 1992, a position he still holds to this day. He would then take over as principal guest conductor at La Scala in 2006 and promptly become its music director in 2011, where he would remain for a few years.
The maestro would also pick up the coveted Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording in 2003. The opera in question was Wagner’s “Tannhäuser,” which starred Jane Eaglen, Thomas Hampson, Waltraud Meier, René Pape, and Peter Seiffert. He was conducting the Staatsoper Berlin and the Staatskapelle Berlin in the recording.
Perhaps his most controversial of accomplishments, but a notable one nonetheless – performing Wagner in Israel. Much has been written about the conductor’s decision to showcase the music of the controversial yet legendary composer, but it must be noted that Barenboim has gone where no one else has ever dared. He, of course, led the Berlin Philharmonic in its first appearance in Israel in 1990 and then on July 7, 2000, he played the prelude to “Tristan und Isolde” after offering audience members the opportunity to leave the theater if they did not wish to presence the music of the German master. It was the cause for much controversy thereafter and Barenboim has since given a number of statements on his feelings toward the country’s disdain for Wagner.