2014年8月27日 星期三

Daniel Barenboim West-Eastern Divan Orchestra: Uniting Arabs, Israelis /音樂的極境:薩依德音樂評論集 Music at the Limits By Edward W. Said


West-Eastern Divan Orchestra: Uniting Arabs, Israelis

Clemency Burton-Hill

Daniel Barenboim conducts the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra (Reuters)
Legendary conductor Daniel Barenboim leads an orchestra that brings together people from groups in conflict in the Middle East. Clemency Burton-Hill reports.On the last night of the year in 2008, I received an email I’ll never forget.

A few weeks prior – following an impromptu audition backstage at the Metropolitan Opera in New York – I had been invited by the conductor Daniel Barenboim to join the members of his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra as an embedded journalist and ‘honorary violinist’ on their 10th anniversary tour.

Barenboim is an Argentine-born Israeli, who now also holds a Palestinian passport. In 1999, he founded the West-Eastern Divan – the title is based on a set of poems by Goethe – with the late Palestinian literary critic Edward Said. In inviting me to go on tour with the Divan, as it is known by its members, he was offering me a completely unique opportunity to witness the workings of the orchestra – which is made up of over one hundred Israeli and Arab musicians from the very heart of the orchestra, inside the ranks of the first violins.
We were to go to Qatar, Egypt, Russia, Germany, Austria and Italy in early January. We were to play music by Beethoven, Verdi, Wagner, Mozart and Schönberg. And we would perform in some of the world’s greatest halls including Vienna’s Musikverein and Milan’s La Scala.

And then, on 27 December, war broke out in Gaza. I wondered what this would mean for the West-Eastern Divan. Would any orchestral members boycott the tour? Would it all go ahead as planned? When the chips were down, how truly committed were this group of young musicians from opposite sides of the divide to engaging with each other? On New Year’s Eve, I clicked open my inbox. The tour dates in Doha and Cairo had been cancelled for security reasons; Maestro Barenboim would understand and support any member of the orchestra who felt they could not join the tour in “such difficult circumstances for everyone involved”; but it was times like these that made the existence of the Divan all the more vital. Attached to the email was an editorial Barenboim had written about the war in Gaza, which also laid out his three wishes for the New Year.

In the end, not a single Arab or Israeli member of the Divan boycotted that tour: from Israel, from the Palestinian territories, from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, they came together for a tough, but triumphant, two weeks.

And it was a fortnight that changed my life. The West-Eastern Divan is not an ‘orchestra for peace’, as it is so often dubbed, but an ‘orchestra against ignorance’ – mine, too. It is a singular space in which human beings who are otherwise forcibly kept apart can come together to exchange ideas and views, learn about each other and, above all, listen to each other in a world that would otherwise keep them silent.

No barriers

I have thought often about that New Year email and Barenboim’s three wishes for Gaza since the latest war in the region began in July. Here we are, over five years later, and the situation in the Middle East is somehow – unimaginably – worse.

And yet the members of the West-Eastern Divan meet on, play on and through their courage in the face of increasing hostility at home – not a single government represented by the orchestra’s members gives them its blessing – they are the living, breathing proof of a model in which Arabs and Israelis do come together. It isn’t perfect: there is plenty of disagreement within its ranks; but nor is it the product of some kind of utopian idealistic vision. Since the orchestra’s almost accidental inception fifteen years ago, hundreds of Arabs and Israelis have participated, and their daily discussions and debates about the conflict and the situation in the Middle East are as fundamental to their programme as the music rehearsals and concerts.

Engaged on their annual summer tour, which this year includes their own 10-day festival in Buenos Aires as well as major music festivals in Lucerne, Salzburg and Berlin, Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan arrived in London the week of 18 August. Against a backdrop of broken ceasefire announcements and unbroken strife between their peoples back home, the orchestra gave a BBC Proms performance 20 August that ended in no fewer than five encores from the rapturous audience at the Royal Albert Hall. Wherever you are in the world, you can listen to the concert here via the BBC Radio 3 website.

Hundreds of Arabs and Israelis have participated in the orchestra since its inception fifteen years ago (Corbis)

With a programme that included Ravel’s beautiful Pavane for a Dead Princess and special commissions by two Middle Eastern composers, the Israeli Ayal Adler and the Syrian Kareem Roustom, it is hard to think of a more moving concert. As in 2009, no members of the orchestra have boycotted this tour, and backstage the sense of communal pride that even in this year of all years they were doing this was palpable. No question: Israeli, Palestinian, Syrian, Jewish, Muslim, Christian – they were in this together.

Out of many, one

“The only way out of this tragedy, the only way to avoid more tragedy and horror, is to take advantage of the hopelessness of the situation and force everybody to talk to one another,” Barenboim commented in the Guardian on the situation in Gaza a few weeks ago, speaking of a “need for a mutual feeling of empathy, or compassion”. He went on: “in my opinion, compassion is not merely a sentiment that results from a psychological understanding of a person’s need, but it is a moral obligation. Only through trying to understand the other side’s plight can we take a step towards each other.”

Notwithstanding those Arab and Israeli commentators who view Barenboim and his orchestra as ‘traitors’ to their people for what they view as normalising relations with the enemy, many otherwise sympathetic people might view the idea of taking steps towards each other through music with outright cynicism. “But what difference can music make?” is a refrain I have heard over and over again when discussing the Divan. “Isn’t all this just spectacularly naïve?”

Over the years, I have interviewed Barenboim on many occasions and I can say with certainty that he is the least naïve person I have encountered. His polymathic intellect is not only razor-sharp but highly analytical. Of course, he is under no delusion that music might directly create the conditions for peace in the region. But, as he said on the BBC’s Newsnight programme: in these times “we cannot afford the luxury of pessimism”.

The model of the West-Eastern Divan is utterly unique. On a musical level, it can proudly take its place along with the myriad great orchestras that grace the Proms – it contains within its ranks many leading musicians including a former Concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic. But that person, an Israeli, Guy Braunstein, shares a desk with a 17-year-old Palestinian named Yamen Saadi.

The Divan not only encourages, but dares us to imagine what might – still, somehow – be possible one day.
Edward W. Said 《音樂的極境‧特洛依人》台北:太陽社2010,頁257



音樂的極境:薩依德音樂評論集 Music at the Limits

全書以清新的角度賞析經典作品,也以他人不及的眼光品題為人冷落的當代作曲家作品。薩依德批評紐約大都會歌劇院過於保守,也惋惜帕華洛帝有超級巨星之 譽,卻「將歌劇演出的智慧貶到最低,把要價過高的噪音推到最大」。此外,他思考以色列禁演華格納的問題,音樂節愈來愈浮濫的令人憂心趨勢,以及以馬爾孔X 生平為主題的歌劇,音樂與女性主義的關係,鋼琴家顧爾德,及莫札特、巴哈、理查史特勞斯等名家的作品。
薩依德以內行人的造詣,權威的身 分,書寫精闢犀利的批判。他在音樂裡看出文學與歷史理念的反映,並密切觀察其構成和創造的潛力。《音樂的極境》情文並茂,處處發人深省,呈現薩依德思想事 業的一個重要層面,進一步證明,作為廿世紀最具影響力、最勇於突破的學者之一,他實至名歸。
薩依德除了著名的後殖民論述,並精通文化研 究與音樂,本身具有鋼琴演奏家的水準,終身對西方古典音樂擁有激情,《音樂的極境》收集1983-2003年間的音樂評論,他以專業樂評家的角色討論作為 文化場域的古典音樂,清晰深入。本書的出版呈現薩依德更全面和多方位的專長與論述,可彌補過去中文翻譯與評介的不足。
薩依德在《音樂的 極境》談論音樂以鋼琴和歌劇為主,本精選輯亦選取這兩類作品,包括顧爾德彈奏的巴哈G大調第五號鋼琴組曲、哈絲改編的巴哈聖詠曲鋼琴版〈耶穌,世人渴望的 喜悅〉、土耳其國寶級女鋼琴家Idil Biret詮釋的蕭邦,以及被稱為「擁有近數十年來最強卡司陣容」的《費黛里奧》歌劇選曲等。
薩依德 Edward W. Said
1935年生於巴勒斯坦的耶路撒冷,接受過英式教育,取得哈佛大學博士學位,哥倫比亞大學英文系與比較文學教授,擔任《The Nation》雜誌樂評,著作等身,包括《鄉關何處》、《文化與帝國主義》、《東方主義》。他由哥倫比亞大學出版社出版的著作包括《康拉德與自傳小說》、 《人文主義與民主的批評》、《開始:意圖與方法》、《音樂的闡釋》,及《並行與弔詭》。2003年逝於紐約。
1953年生。譯有《後殖民理論》(Bart Moore-Gilbert)、《意義》(博藍尼)、《俄國思想家》(以撒.柏林)、《自由主義之後》(華勒斯坦)、《西方政治思想史》(麥克里蘭)、 《鄉關何處》(薩依德)、《現實意義》(以撒.柏林)、《貝多芬:阿多諾的音樂哲學》(阿多諾)、《美的歷史》和《醜的歷史》(艾可)等書。

Music at the Limits

Edward W. Said

Paper, 344 pages,
ISBN: 978-0-231-13937-3
November, 2007
Cloth, 344 pages,
ISBN: 978-0-231-13936-6

Music at the Limits is the first book to bring together three decades of Edward W. Said's essays and articles on music. Addressing the work of a variety of composers, musicians, and performers, Said carefully draws out music's social, political, and cultural contexts and, as a classically trained pianist, provides rich and often surprising assessments of classical music and opera.

Music at the Limits offers both a fresh perspective on canonical pieces and a celebration of neglected works by contemporary composers. Said faults the Metropolitan Opera in New York for being too conservative and laments the way in which opera superstars like Pavarotti have "reduced opera performance to a minimum of intelligence and a maximum of overproduced noise." He also reflects on the censorship of Wagner in Israel; the worrisome trend of proliferating music festivals; an opera based on the life of Malcolm X; the relationship between music and feminism; the pianist Glenn Gould; and the works of Mozart, Bach, Richard Strauss, and others.

Said wrote his incisive critiques as both an insider and an authority. He saw music as a reflection of his ideas on literature and history and paid close attention to its composition and creative possibilities. Eloquent and surprising, Music at the Limits preserves an important dimension of Said's brilliant intellectual work and cements his reputation as one of the most influential and groundbreaking scholars of the twentieth century.

Related Subjects


About the Author

Edward W. Said (1935-2003) was University Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He was the music critic for the Nation and the author of numerous books, including Out of Place, Culture and Imperialism, and Orientalism. His books with Columbia University Press include Joseph Conrad and the Fiction of Autobiography, Humanism and Democratic Criticism, Beginnings: Intention and Method, and Musical Elaborations.

I S B N:9868538831
I S B N 13:9789868538832
作 者:薩依德
精平裝/頁數: 平裝本 / 420頁
出版日: 98/12/08

全 書以清新的角度賞析經典作品,也以他人不及的眼光品題為人冷落的當代作曲家作品。薩依德批評紐約大都會歌劇院過於保守,也惋惜帕華洛帝有超級巨星之譽,卻 「將歌劇演出的智慧貶到最低,把要價過高的噪音推到最大」。此外,他思考以色列禁演華格納的問題,音樂節愈來愈浮濫的令人憂心趨勢,以及以馬爾孔X生平為 主題的歌劇,音樂與女性主義的關係,鋼琴家顧爾德,及莫札特、巴哈、理查史特勞斯等名家的作品。
薩依德以內行人的造詣,權威的身分,書寫精闢犀 利 的批判。他在音樂裡看出文學與歷史理念的反映,並密切觀察其構成和創造的潛力。《音樂的極境》情文並茂,處處發人深省,呈現薩依德思想事業的一個重要層 面,進一步證明,作為廿世紀最具影響力、最勇於突破的學者之一,他實至名歸。
薩依德除了著名的後殖民論述,並精通文化研究與音樂,本身具有鋼琴演 奏家的水準,終身對西方古典音樂擁有激情,《音樂的極境》收集1983-2003年間的音樂評論,他以專業樂評家的角色討論作為文化場域的古典音樂,清晰 深入。本書的出版呈現薩依德更全面和多方位的專長與論述,可彌補過去中文翻譯與評介的不足。


薩依德 Edward W. Said
1935 年生於巴勒斯坦的耶路撒冷,接受過英式教育,取得哈佛大學博士學位,哥倫比亞大學英文系與比較文學教授,擔任《The Nation》雜誌樂評,著作等身,包括《鄉關何處》、《文化與帝國主義》、《東方主義》。他由哥倫比亞大學出版社出版的著作包括《康拉德與自傳小說》、 《人文主義與民主的批評》、《開始:意圖與方法》、《音樂的闡釋》,及《並行與弔詭》。2003年逝於紐約。
1953 年生。譯有《後殖民理論》(Bart Moore-Gilbert)、《意義》(博藍尼)、《俄國思想家》(以撒.柏林)、《自由主義之後》(華勒斯坦)、《西方政治思想史》(麥克里蘭)、 《鄉關何處:薩依德回憶錄》、《現實意義》(以撒.柏林)、《貝多芬:阿多諾的音樂哲學》(阿多諾)、《美的歷史》和《醜的歷史》(艾可)等書。


★ 他是為他的民族爭取權利的鬥士、無與倫比的知識分子,兼為最深層意義上的音樂家:他以他的音樂體驗與知識,作為他政治、道德、思想上的信念的根據。他關 於音樂和音樂演出的論述,既賞心,復益智,只是聯想之際多遐想,而行文至為典雅,佳處精采照人,富於獨創,充滿出人意表,只有他能揭露的啟示。
──哥倫比亞大學哲學系教授、音樂學者Lydia Goher
★ 這本書裡,一位造詣精熟的音樂家兼文化理論家與巴哈到貝多芬、華格納到布列茲、布倫德爾到巴倫波因、莫札特到理查史特勞斯的所有大師互動,放出令人眼亮的 交會光芒。鋼琴家顧爾德的身影也籠罩全書許多篇幅。薩依德懷著精博的音樂知識和修養,以開放的心靈、開放的眼睛、開放的耳朵探觸音樂所有層面,無論是現 場、錄音、談話或著述,並搭起橋樑,將音樂連接於其他藝術,以及人生的政治和倫理層次。
★薩依德是許多人心目中理想的樂評家,在《The Nation》超過20年的音樂評論專欄,結合了驚人的廣度和具有感染力的熱情。


薩 依德是興趣淹博的學者。他精研音樂、文學、哲學,以及深明政治,而且,在各有差別,看來遙不相屬的學門之間尋求並找到關連的人十分難得,他是其中一位。他 對人類精神和人的出色了解,可能來自他發人深省的卓見:彼此平行的理念、主題、文化可能有個弔詭的性質,也就是既相互矛盾,又互相豐富。我想,這是薩依德 之所以是一位極重要人物的原因之一。他做他今生今世之旅的時候,正值音樂在社會上的價值開始式微。音樂的人性、靜觀與思想價值,以及聲音所表達的理念的超 越性,在現代世界都江河日下。音樂已從其他生活領域孤立出來,不再被視為知性發展的必要層面。一如醫學,音樂的世界已經演變成一個由知識愈來愈少的專家構 成的社會。
他極力反對專門化,因此非常強烈批評──我認為他的批評非常公允──音樂教育不但在美國日益貧乏,美國畢竟是從舊歐洲進口音 樂,但產生 過音樂上最偉大人物的歐洲也是如此。據薩依德所見,產生貝多芬、布拉姆斯、華格納、舒曼等等許多名家的音樂搖籃德國,以及德布西和拉威爾的故鄉法國,都任 令音樂教育的品質和機會惡化。此外,他察覺一個令他至為不安的趨勢(他這項觀察導致我們兩人迅速結合):音樂教育愈來愈專門化,範圍愈來愈小,即使在很方 便獲得這教育之地也是如此。最好的情況裡,這樣的音樂教育產生相當勝任的器樂家,他們擁有的理論知識和音樂學知識很少,而有職業音樂家必備的高度技巧。但 薩依德看出他們欠缺探掘、悟解並表達音樂本質的根本能力。畢竟,音樂之為物,其內容捨聲音則無從表達,但今天的音樂教育愈來愈遠離這項基本真理的深刻、複 雜奧秘,愈來愈集中於以身體上的熟練靈敏在樂器上產生聲音,以及在結構與和聲上解剖音樂,而沒有任何主動參與或體驗音樂的力量。薩依德為音樂界這樣的發展 扼腕,他的樂評也處處流露這股反感。
沒有誰比薩依德為這顯微鏡式的聚焦提供更完全的相反例證。這並不是說他對細節不感興趣。他完全明白音 樂天才或 音樂才具必須非常留心細節。天才將細節視為最重要的事情來注意,同時又不昧於整體大局;其實,留意細節,反而有助顯現他的大局眼光。音樂裡,一如在思想 上,大圖像必定是小小細節彼此精準協調的結果。薩依德觀賞音樂會或一場演出時,專心注意這些細節,其中有些細節,許多職業音樂家也忽略。批評方面,他許多 方面在批評家之間出類拔萃,他們有的缺乏以足夠判斷力來討論其題材的知識,有的欠缺不帶成見來聆聽的能力。第二類批評家明顯為自己鑄造一個定見,認定某件 作品如何詮釋才「正確」,因此,他們的能耐僅限於拿眼前的演出和他們所服事的一己之見,做有利或不利的比較。薩依德則不如是,他帶著開放的耳朵和深厚的音 樂知識聆聽,因而聽到並嘗試理解演出者的用意,和他處理音樂的取徑。例如,評論柴利比達克和慕尼黑愛樂的一場音樂會,他徜徉哲學領域,探討公開演奏的本 質,觀察並比較哪些演出者具備想像力來質疑音樂會一定要兩小時的傳統。關於柴利比達克出名的慢速度,和樂章之間充滿戲劇性的停頓,他的評語來自靜觀,富於 洞識,而且公允;他的評語,代表的不是一種個人對偏離規範的做法的反應,而是嘗試進入演出者的心靈,了解其動機。
薩依德對作曲和管絃樂法 的藝術有 精純的知識。例如,他知道,在《崔士坦與伊索德》(Tristan und Isolde)第二幕某一時刻,法國號退到舞台後面。數小節後,法國號吹奏的同一音符在樂池裡的豎笛部重新浮現。我有幸曾和許多知名歌者合作這部作品,他 們懵然不覺這個細節,老是回頭看那聲音是哪兒發出來的!他們不曉得那個音符已經不來自舞台後方,而是來自樂池。他關心這些事情;這是他對細節那種不厭其詳 的興趣的一環,他對整體的了解有一種宏大的氣象,無此興趣,這氣象是難以思議的。以他對世界的理解,薩依德不可能只見一目瞭然之事、只知字面意義、只取一 索即知之理:在他的著述、在他的生活中,他持續不斷發現並提出世界一切事物本質上彼此關連的證據,而他這個概念,最可能的來源是音樂。音樂裡沒有獨立的元 素。誰不願意相信人在個人、社會或政治領域裡能獨立行動而無後果,然而我們時時刻刻碰到相反的證據。舉個例子:分析巴哈作品的演出時,薩依德自然而然援引 濟慈詩句,討論華格納作品在以色列演出的問題,他也自然而然拿當代非洲人對康拉德小說《黑暗之心》(Heart of Darkness)的解讀來比擬。在薩依德眼中,只要是人類的事,就沒有哪兩個層面是彼此無關的。
身為音樂家,他和我一樣知道並且相信邏輯 與直 覺、理性思維與情感是密不可分的。我們經常忍不住盡拋邏輯,以便滿足某種情緒性的需求或狂想。在音樂裡,這事不可能,因為音樂不能只用理性,也不能單用情 緒。事實上,兩者分開,剩下的不是音樂,而是一堆聲音。薩依德相信包容而非排斥,這個信念也導源於他的音樂理解。在音樂裡,強調一個聲部而排除其他聲部, 是違反對位法原理的,同理,薩依德相信,不將有關各造都拉來討論一個情況,不可能解決衝突,無論是政治上的還是其他領域的衝突。統合的原則也是如此,從管 絃樂團的聲音平衡,到中東的和平會談,皆屬此理。這些精采、乍看不可能的關連,促成薩依德偉大思想者之譽。他是為他的民族爭取權利的鬥士、無與倫比的知識 分子,兼為最深層意義上的音樂家:他以他的音樂體驗與知識,作為他政治、道德、思想上的信念的根據。他關於音樂和音樂演出的論述,既賞心,復益智,只是聯 想之際多遐想,而行文至為典雅,佳處精采照人,富於獨創,充滿出人意表,只有他能揭露的啟示。


1. 顧爾德的對位法慧見
2. 追憶鋼琴家的台風和藝術
3. 威風凜凜(論音樂節)
4. 理查史特勞斯
5. 女武神、阿依達、X
6. 音樂與女性主義
7. 萬人迷大師:了解托斯卡尼尼
8. 演奏家:人到中年
9. 維也納愛樂:全套貝多芬交響曲和協奏曲
10. 塞維爾的理髮師、唐喬萬尼
11. 顧爾德在大都會
12. 朱利亞凱撒
13. 藍鬍子的城堡、期待
14. 柴利比達克
15. 彼得塞拉斯的莫札特
16. 席夫在卡內基
17. 理查史特勞斯
18. 華格納和大都會的《指環》
19. 歌劇的製作(玫瑰騎士、死屋、浮士德博士)
20. 風格與無風格(伊蕾克特拉、塞米拉米德、卡佳卡芭諾娃)
21. 布倫德爾:樂語(評布倫德爾新著《音樂的探尋:文章、演說、訪談、追想》
22. 死城、費黛里奧、克林霍夫之死
23. 風格的不確定性(凡爾賽的幽靈、士兵)
24. 音樂的回顧
25. 巴德音樂節
26. 對華格納不忠實之必要
27. 音樂和指揮的姿勢
28. 《特洛伊人》
29. 兒戲(評索羅門《莫札特傳》)
30. 《顧爾德的三十二個極短篇》
31. 巴哈的天才,舒曼的怪癖,蕭邦的無情,羅森的天資(評羅森的《浪漫主義世代》)
32. 為什麼要聽布列茲?
33. 亨德密特與莫札特
34. 評麥可.坦納新著《華格納》
35. 那張椅子裡的顧爾德( 評歐斯華《顧爾德和天才的悲劇》)
36. 談《費黛里奧》
37. 音樂與場面(《灰姑娘》、《浪子的歷程》)
38. 評戈特菲德華格納的《不與狼同嗥的人:華格納的遺澤──一本自傳》
39. 給大眾的巴哈
40. 巴倫波因(跨文化連結)
41. 顧爾德,作為知識分子的炫技家
42. 抗懷宇宙(評沃爾夫《巴哈:博學的音樂家》)
43. 巴倫波因和華格納禁忌
44. 不合時宜的沉思(評索羅門的《晚期貝多芬》)

對談錄艾德華‧薩伊德(Edward W.Said)、丹尼爾‧巴倫波因(Daniel Barenboim) 作吳家恆譯,台北:麥田出版股份有限公司,2006

艾德華‧薩伊德(Edward W.Said)、丹尼爾‧巴倫波因(Daniel Barenboim) 作{並行與弔詭:薩依德與巴倫波因對談錄} (Parallels and Paradoxes)吳家恆譯,台北:麥田出版股份有限公司,2006

Barenboim conducting the orchestra 
Copyright: Monika Rittershaus/Staatsoper Berlin
Bild geliefert von Victoria Dietrich, Pressebüro STAATSOPER IM SCHILLER THEATER, Berlin für DW/Conny Paul.


Conductor Barenboim turns 70

Argentine-Israeli conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim aims to create more tolerance in the Middle East conflict with the power of music. We take a closer look at this unusual artist as he turns 70 on November 15.
Daniel Barenboim has repeatedly and impressively shown how music can bring people together. As a musical prodigy, he left Argentina for Israel and Europe at a young age. In the decades since, he has enjoyed wide acclaim as a pianist and conductor. The multi-lingual citizen of the world has demonstrated the courage of his convictions as he creates projects that assemble people to play music together, while simultaneously dispelling prejudices and bridging gaps between groups of people. However, he has no ambitions to become a statesman, preferring instead to remain the artist he is. The human aspect, and not politics, is what interests him, he says.
Barenboim playing the piano 
Copyright: Monika Rittershaus/Staatsoper Berlin
Bild geliefert von Victoria Dietrich, Pressebüro STAATSOPER IM SCHILLER THEATER, Berlin für DW/Conny Paul. Barenboim - the pianist
Born in Buenos Aires in 1942, Barenboim's grandparents - as Russian Jews - fled to South America at the beginning of the 20th century to escape the pogroms of the Russian Empire. In Argentina, Barenboim learned to play the piano at the age of five, and gave his first performance as a seven-year-old. En route to Israel, where his family emigrated in 1952, they stopped in Salzburg, where Barenboim performed a Bach recital as a young pianist. Two years later, legendary conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler called him a "phenomenon." Soon after, the nomadic life typical of an artist commenced for Barenboim as he gave his first performances in Vienna, Rome, Paris, London and New York. He also began recording albums.

A picture-book career

Following his conducting debut with the London Philharmonia Orchestra in 1967, he was soon conducting the world's top orchestras. He became principal conductor of the Orchestre de Paris, conducted at the Bayreuth Festival beginning in 1981, took up the post as Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and became General Music Director of the Berlin State Opera Unter den Linden in 1992. In addition, he became Music Director of Milan's La Scala in 2011, having worked closely with the opera house in previous years.
Barenboim has not only concentrated on the works of Wagner, Beethoven, Schumann and Mahler, but also on contemporary music. At the Berlin State Opera, the conductor has led works by Pierre Boulez, Wolfgang Rihm, Isabelle Mundry, York Höller and the sole opera by American composer Elliott Carter, who recently passed away at the age of 103. Barenboim likewise regularly shifts from the conductor's podium to the piano - such as in a recent concert series at La Scala in honor of his 70th birthday, during which he performed with his famous Italian colleague Claudio Abbado and others.
Argentinian-Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim acknowledges the audience after performing with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra at the Maestranza Theater in Seville, Spain, 18 July 2012. Copyright: picture-alliance/dpa
Argentinian-Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
Provoking fellow Israelis

Holding Argentine, Israeli and Palestinian citizenships, Barenboim experiences the Middle East conflict first-hand without taking a one-sided view. The musician created a scandal in 2004 when he was awarded Israel's Wolf Prize. During his acceptance speech before the Knesset, he sharply criticized Israel's course of action again Palestinians, and quoted from the 1948 Israeli Declaration of Independence. Then Israeli President Moshe Katsav chastised Barenboim for offending Holocaust survivors by performing works by the anti-Semitic composer Richard Wagner.
Yet Barenboim is convinced that music can break down the barriers of hate. In 1999 - along with now deceased Palestinian intellectual Edward Said - he brought together young Israeli and Arab musicians for the first time for a workshop in Weimar, Germany. Taking its name from a collection of poetry by German Wolfgang Johann von Goethe, the "West-Eastern Divan" arose out of that, becoming a multi-national, Middle East orchestra that has gone on tour every summer since.
Barenboim conducting 
Copyright: Monika Rittershaus/Staatsoper Berlin
Bild geliefert von Victoria Dietrich, Pressebüro STAATSOPER IM SCHILLER THEATER, Berlin für DW/Conny Paul. An exceptional artist
Members of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra come from Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. The musicians don't just rehearse and perform together: they also discuss controversial topics, such as current political developments. "The most important thing is that people enter into a dialogue with one another," Barenboim reflects in the documentary film 'Knowledge is the Beginning,' directed by Paul Smaczny and profiling the orchestra. "That doesn't mean one has to adopt the other person's stance. But in such a forum, the musicians have the opportunity to grow more tolerant."
Overcoming boundaries

One of the highpoints in the existence of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra was a much-celebrated concert the musicians gave in Ramallah, in the West Bank, in 2005. With massive security measures in place, the orchestra was only able to enter the territory with Spanish diplomatic passports. Israeli musicians came to the Palestinian Territories for the first time, and their Arab colleagues had never before traveled in Israel. It became evident to everyone during that adventurous trip just how greatly the seemingly insurmountable borders had prevented people from learning about those on the "other side." As Barenboim explains, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra will have achieved its true dimensions once it has performed in all of the native countries of its members.

Music has the power to break down borders, Barenboim believes - here, he's shown conducting
Copyright: MOHAMED OMAR/EPA Music has the power to break down borders, Barenboim believes
In 'Knowledge is the Beginning,' an Israeli reporter asks Barenboim if musical education could stop a Palestinian child from throwing stones at Israelis. He said he didn't think so, but with music, he could give these young people something they would never want to live without. "And when kids go to violin or cello lessons three or four times a week, they don't have time to ponder radical ideas."

Involved in society

The Berlin-based Daniel Barenboim Foundation not only supports the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, but also numerous music and educational projects in the Middle East. Together with the Barenboim-Said Musical Center in Ramallah, it supports young musicians of various ages in Israel and in the West Bank. The Edward W. Said Music Kindergarden opened its doors in Ramallah in 2004.
Barenboim also founded a music kindergarten in Berlin in 2005, where members of his Staatskapelle - the orchestra of the Berlin State Opera - regularly stop by with their instruments. Barenboim's vision of education by way of music, which can promote cooperation within society, evidently has a wide appeal: on his 70th birthday on November 15, he will perform with the Staatskapelle Berlin under the baton of his long-time friend Zubin Mehta in a benefit concert for his Berlin Music Kindergarden.