Daniel Barenboim steps back from performing for health reasons | Classical music

Conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim, a towering cultural figure of our time, has announced that he is stepping back from performing for health reasons.

The 79-year-old, who is the music director of the Berlin State Opera and the Staatskapelle Berlin, and founder of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, has canceled several concerts and tours in recent months due to health problems. He made the announcement on social media on the evening he was honored with the Gramophone lifetime achievement award.

“I am taking a step back from some of my performing activities, especially conducting engagements, for the coming months,” he wrote. “My health has deteriorated over the last months, and I have been diagnosed with a serious neurological condition. I must now focus on my physical well-being as much as possible.”

“Music has always been and continues to be an essential and lasting part of my life. I have lived all my life in and through music and I will continue to do so as long as my health allows me to. Looking back and ahead, I am not only content but deeply fulfilled.”

It is with a combination of pride and sadness that I announce today that I am taking a step back from some of my performing activities, especially conducting engagements, for the coming months. pic.twitter.com/1LlqaETNzG

— Daniel Barenboim (@DBarenboim) October 4, 2022

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It is with a combination of pride and sadness that I announce today that I am taking a step back from some of my performing activities, especially conducting engagements, for the coming months. pic.twitter.com/1LlqaETNzG

— Daniel Barenboim (@DBarenboim) October 4, 2022

Personal messages from many other major artists, including Sir Antonio Pappano, Maxim Vengerov, Alisa Weilerstein, Lisa Batiashvili and Yo-Yo Ma, were relayed in a video tribute at the awards ceremony on 4 October in central London.

Sir Simon Rattle described him as “the personification of lifetime achievement … I can’t think of any classical musician who has not been influenced, inspired or learned from Daniel over all these years, both as musician and philosopher with the extraordinary work he’s done with the [West-Eastern] Divan Orchestra. Of course, one of the greatest musicians of our time, both as pianist and conductor.”

Also on Tuesday evening’s ceremony, the recording of the year was awarded to a DVD of Bayerische Staatsoper’s production of Korngold’s Die tote Stadt, the first time a DVD has ever won this award. Conducted by Kirill Petrenko and with Jonas Kaufmann, Marlis Petersen, Andrzej Filończyk and Jennifer Johnston, it also won the opera category and was described by Gramophone as a “glorious achievement” and “a performance of a lifetime”.

The orchestra of the year award – the only award voted for by the public – was won by the Budapest Festival Orchestra, which claimed over a third of the votes cast; and Barbara Hannigan was named artist of the year, celebrating her extraordinary abilities as both singer and conductor.

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