The outspoken conductor, pianist and activist unveils his online plans.
One of classical music’s giants has made his YouTube channel debut at the age of 73. Conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim launched his new channel with an initial four videos. In a diverse selection, he tackles subjects as varied as Brahms’ First Piano Concerto as well as the responsibilities of freedom of speech, reflective of the maestro’s longstanding passion for musical and social engagement.
In his introductory clip, Barenboim describes his new venture as a platform to discuss musical pieces that are close to his heart, as well as subjects “some social, some political” that preoccupy him. The conductor, who has been vocal not only about the ability of art to engender change, but also holds strong views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, maintains that his channel will touch on “all subjects that have to do with the human being”.
Seated at the piano, his first video is a focused discussion of Brahms’ Piano Concerto No 1, his explanations characteristically precise as he works through the expansive nature of the piece. Barenboim praises the work’s lyricism and the dramatic scope of the piece as something “quite extraordinary”, his quiet passion for the piece evident. Like the best music teachers, the maestro has an innate ability to simplify and convey the mechanics of Brahms’ work. In a metaphor that will recur throughout his videos, Barenboim describes the Brahms as “a dialogue on equal basis”, where both orchestra and soloist are in conversation.
Addressing the topic of freedom of speech in his next video, Barenboim stresses its “utmost importance” in today’s political landscape. While Barenboim acknowledges individuals’ rights to freedom of speech, he encourages viewers to consider the responsibility of such a freedom. Social media, that new terrain where the commentariat exists alongside the critic, should move us to consider the power of our words, the conductor emphasises. In a nod to his new online presence, Barenboim affirms that it is possible to make a positive difference on social media.
On music, Barenboim describes it as a dialogue where one listens and talks simultaneously. Judging by the maestro’s warm reception – online comments have suggested discussion points and collaborations with fellow artists – he has succeeded in this as well. Of interest to both novice and scholar, all you need to do is visit YouTube and subscribe (for free) to the conductor’s channel.