Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Daniel Barenboim is a music director, conductor, and pianist. He performed his first live concert at the old age of seven. Since then he has been traveling the world as a musician of the highest level. He was music director of the Chicago Symphony from 1991 until 2006 after which he become director of the Deutsche Staatsoper in Berlin.
His life story is equally impressive having been born to Russian Jews in Buenos Aires. in 1952 his family immigrated to Israel. The title of this books represents his beliefs as a person and a citizen of the world. The argument, reflected in this title, is that the means in which music is studied, performed and listened to can be applied to all aspects of human interaction. He succeeds in making strong associations between music and world events, namely the conflict in Israel and Palestine. If political leaders applied the same set of skills required by musicians in a symphony, great advancements could me made. Most impressive, is how Barenboim has acted on his theory by bringing together young, aspiring musicians from Syria, Egypt, Palestine and Israel into one symphony. This group of young adults travel the world together in demonstration of their ability to overcome religious and geographic conflict through cooperation in music. If music could be described in words, it would serve no purpose. For this reason, the cooperation that is required, which does not depend on words but actions, has accomplished more than politicians were able over the last ten years.
Barenboim certainly has a deep understanding of modern culture, philosophy and language in addition to his profound music skills. He introduces certain philosophers in this book. I would have liked to see a stronger connection made between philosophy and music in what ended up being a rather short book. What Barenboim confirmed, though, is how true "maestri" almost always have deep knowledge and passion for certain fields outside their own area of expertise.