Pianist, conductor, lecturer, and now peace envoy, Daniel Barenboim has put his unique musicianship to the service of not only the summits of Western classical music but also the most intractable problem of our times, the Arab-Israeli divide. From the piano prodigy, friend and colleague of the great players of his generation, still stunning audiences with his accounts of the Beethoven sonatas, he has developed into one of the leading conductors on the world stage, a dominant presence in the musical life of Berlin over the last two decades. At the same time, his reconciliatory impulse has had concrete results in the musical and educational projects of the cross-cultural Barenboim-Said Foundation.
1948: Beginning of his training as a pianist, exclusively with his parents.
1951: International début as a solo pianist in Vienna; later débuts in Rome, Paris, London and New York followed (to 1957).
1952: Conducting classes in Salzburg under Igor Markevitch. Performed for Furtwängler, who described him as “a phenomenon”.
1954: First recording as a pianist.
1955–56: Harmony and composition studies with Nadia Boulanger in Paris.
1967: Conducting début in London with the Philharmonia Orchestra.
1975–89: Chief conductor of the Orchestre de Paris, where he often programmed works by contemporary composers such as Lutosławski, Berio, Boulez, Henze, Dutilleux and Takemitsu.
1973: Début as opera conductor at the Edinburgh Festival with Mozart’s Don Giovanni.
1981–99: Conducts at Bayreuth each summer.
1991–2006: Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Since then, Honorary Conductor for Life.
1992: Becomes General Music Director and Artistic Director of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Berlin.
1999: Co-founds the West-Eastern Divan Workshop, which brings together young musicians from Israel and the Arab countries every summer.
2000: Chief Conductor for Life of the Staatskapelle Berlin.
2007: Named UN Messenger of Peace by UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.