I f ever there was a prize for ‘global musician’, it would have to go to Daniel Barenboim. A born polyglot, fluent in Spanish, Hebrew, English, French, Italian and German, he’s a citizen of four countries: Argentina, Israel, Palestine and Spain. His first wife, the cellist Jacqueline du Pré, was English, his second wife, pianist and musical director Elena Bashkirova, is Russian.
Daniel Barenboim. Photo © Monika Rittershaus
The Barenboims have lived in Buenos Aires, Israel, Paris and now Berlin where, since 1992, Daniel has been Music Director of the Berlin State Opera and its ‘house band’, the Staatskapelle Berlin. With the latter, the 75-year-old maestro has just recorded a fresh survey of the Brahms symphonies for Deutsche Grammophon, works they will perform in Sydney this November in what will be the 60th anniversary of the teenage piano prodigy’s first Australian tour (he last visited with du Pré as part of the Beethoven bicentenary celebrations of 1970).
A passionate advocate for reconciliation in the Middle East and a committed musical educator, Barenboim has lived his life in the firm belief that music has the power to...