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CULTURE & HERITAGE - Culture & History

Conductor Daniel Barenboim to be Nobel nominee....European Jewish Press. August 2011

... Buenos Aires AFP-14 Aug. --Argentine-Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim will be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for using music to bring peace to the Middle East, supporters announced.

An official announcement about the 69-year-old musician's nomination will take place on August 17 at the Academia Argentina de Letras language academy in Buenos Aires.

Around 2,500 people in Argentina have expressed their support for the nomination.
Former president of Uruguay Julio Maria Sanguinetti and writer Juan Jose Sebreli were among those promoting the nomination.

Along with his friend, late Palestinian intellectual Edward Said, Barenboim brought together young Arabs, Israelis and Iranians to form an orchestra in 1999, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which tours the world.

"Music cannot solve conflicts but music has the ability to make people interested and passionate about the same thing," Barenboim said this week before his orchestra performed a concert in South Korea.
Since 1992, Barenboim has been a conductor at the Staatsoper in Berlin, one of three opera houses in the German capital.

Born in Buenos Aires in 1942 to Jewish parents of Russian origin, the musician uses his international fame to promote peace between Israel and its neighbors, especially the Palestinians.
Barenboim also has Spanish citizenship and a Palestinian passport.
Argentina currently has five Nobel Laureates.

Daniel Barenboim... From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Daniel Barenboim KBE (born 15 November 1942) is an Argentinian-Israeli pianist and conductor. He has conducted several important European and American symphony orchestras.

Currently he is general music director of the Berlin State Opera and the Staatskapelle Berlin, and principal guest conductor of La Scala in Milan. He is also known for his work with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, a Sevilla-based orchestra of young Arab and Israeli musicians, and as an outspoken critic of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

...Daniel Barenboim was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina to parents of a Russian Jewish descent. He started piano lessons at the age of five with his mother, continuing to study with his father, who remained his only teacher. On August 19, 1950, at the age of seven, he gave his first formal concert in his hometown, Buenos Aires.

In 1952, Barenboim moved to Israel with his family. Two years later, in the summer of 1954, his parents took him to Salzburg to take part in Igor Markevitch's conducting classes. ....] In 1955 Barenboim studied harmony and composition with Nadia Boulanger in Paris.

In June 1967 Barenboim married British cellist Jacqueline du Pré, who had converted to Judaism. The ceremony took place at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, a few days after it was captured by the Israeli troups during the Six Day War. The marriage lasted until du Pré's death from multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1987.. He and Bashkirova married in 1988. Their son David is a manager-writer for the German hip-hop band Level 8, and Michael is a classical violinist.

Barenboim holds citizenship of Argentina and Israel, as well as honorary citizenship of Spain and Palestine, and lives in Berlin.

Following his debut as a conductor with the English Chamber Orchestra in Abbey Road Studios, London in 1966, Barenboim was invited to conduct by many European and American symphony orchestras. Between 1975 and 1989 he was music director of the Orchestre de Paris, where he conducted much contemporary music....

Barenboim made his opera conducting debut in 1973 with a performance of Mozart's Don Giovanni at the Edinburgh Festival. He made his debut at Bayreuth in 1981, conducting there regularly until 1999. In 1988 he was appointed artistic and musical director of the Opera-Bastille in Paris, scheduled to open in 1990, but was fired in January 1989 by the opera's chairman Pierre Bergé.

Barenboim was then appointed music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a post he held until 17 June 2006...

Barenboim made his conducting debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York for the House's 450th performance of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde on 28 November 2008.....

Wagner's music had been unofficially tabooed in Israel's concert halls after 1938 because of the use Nazi Germany made of Wagner. Previously, the Palestine Philharmonic had performed Wagner's music, in spite of his known Antisemitism.

Barenboim had long opposed the ban, regarding it as reflecting what he calls a "diaspora" mentality that is no longer appropriate to Israel. In a conversation with Edward Said, Barenboim says that "Wagner, the person, is absolutely appalling, despicable, and, in a way, very difficult to put together with the music he wrote, which so often has exactly the opposite kind of feelings ... noble, generous, etc." He calls Wagner's anti-Semitism obviously "monstrous", and feels it must be faced, and argues that "Wagner did not cause the Holocaust."

At the Israel Festival in Jerusalem in July 2001, Barenboim had scheduled to perform the first act of Die Walküre with three singers, including tenor Plácido Domingo. However, strong protests by some Holocaust survivors, as well as the Israeli government, led the festival authorities to ask for an alternative program.

(The Israel Festival's Public Advisory board, which included some Holocaust survivors, had originally approved the program.) Barenboim agreed to substitute music by Robert Schumann and Igor Stravinsky.

At the end of the concert with the Berlin Staatskapelle, he announced that he would like to play Wagner as a second encore and invited those who objected to leave, saying, "Despite what the Israel Festival believes, there are people sitting in the audience for whom Wagner does not spark Nazi associations.

I respect those for whom these associations are oppressive. It will be democratic to play a Wagner encore for those who wish to hear it. I am turning to you now and asking whether I can play Wagner." A half-hour debate ensued, with some audience members calling Barenboim a "fascist." In the end, a small number of attendees walked out and the overwhelming majority remained, applauding loudly after the performance of the Tristan und Isolde ouverture.

Barenboim regarded the performance of Wagner as a political statement, and said he had decided to defy the taboo on Wagner.... Barenboim was declared "a cultural persona non grata in Israel" by the Knesset education committee shortly after the concert, a move condemned by the musical director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Zubin Mehta and members of Knesset.

In 2005, Barenboim gave the inaugural Edward Said Memorial Lecture at Columbia University, on the theme Wagner, Israel and Palestine

Barenboim, a supporter of Palestinian rights, is an outspoken critic of Israel's right wing governments and the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. In an interview with British music critic Norman Lebrecht in 2003, Barenboim accused Israel of behaving in a manner which was, "morally abhorrent and strategically wrong", and, "putting in danger the very existence of the state of Israel."

However, in 1967 at the start of the Six Day War, Barenboim and du Pré performed for the Israeli troops on the front lines, as well as during the Yom Kippur war in 1973. During the Gulf War, he and an orchestra performed in Israel in gas masks.

In 1999, Barenboim and Palestinian-American intellectual Edward Said jointly founded the West-Eastern Divan orchestra. It is an initiative to bring together, every summer, a group of young classical musicians from Israel, the Palestinian territories and Arab countries to promote mutual reflection and understanding. .....Barenboim has performed several times in the West Bank, in 1999 at Bir Zeit University and several times in Ramallah.[]

In December 2007, Barenboim and 20 musicians from England, the United States, France and Germany, and one Palestinian were scheduled to play a baroque music concert in Gaza. Although they had received authorization from Israeli authorities, the Palestinian was stopped at the Israel-Gaza border and told that he needed individual permission to enter.

The group waited seven hours at the border, and then canceled the concert in solidarity. Barenboim commented: "A baroque music concert in a Roman Catholic church in Gaza - as we all know - has nothing to do with security and would bring so much joy to people who live there in great difficulty."

In January 2008, after performing in Ramallah, Barenboim accepted honorary Palestinian citizenship, becoming the first Jewish Israeli citizen to be offered the status. Barenboim said he hoped it would serve as a public gesture of peace. Some Israelis criticized Barenboim's decision to accept Palestinian citizenship.

The parliamentary faction chairman of the Shas party demanded that Barenboim be stripped of his Israeli citizenship, but the Interior Minister told the media that "the matter is not even up for discussion." ....
In May 2011, Barenboim conducted the "Orchestra for Gaza" composed of volunteers from the Berlin Philharmonic, the Berlin Staatskapelle, the Orchestra of La Scala in Milan, the Vienna Philharmonic and the Orchestre de Paris — at al-Mathaf Cultural House.

The concert, held in Gaza City was co-ordinated in secret with the United Nations. The orchestra flew from Berlin to Vienna and from there to El Arish on a plane chartered by Barenboim, entering the Gaza Strip at the Egyptian Rafah Border Crossing.

The musicians were escorted by a convoy of United Nations vehicles. The concert, the first performance by an international classical ensemble in the strip, was attended by an invited audience of several hundred schoolchildren and NGO workers, who greeted Barenboim with applause.

The orchestra played Mozart's Eine kleine Nachtmusik and Symphony No. 40, also familiar to an Arab audience as basis of one of the songs of the famous Arab singer Fairuz. In his speech Barenboim said: "Everyone has to understand that the Palestinian cause is a just cause therefore it can be only given justice if it is achieved without violence. Violence can only weaken the righteousness of the Palestinian cause".