On the eve of his 70th birthday, Daniel Barenboim has succeeded in launching a dream project: the creation of a music academy where young Arabs and Israelis will be able to train and study side by side.
The Academy will cost nearly 30 million euros, and will be constructed in Berlin using the existing structure of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden's old storage building. Two thirds of the financing will come from the German government, and the remaining funds from private donors. Architect Frank Gehry (Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Disney Hall in Los Angeles) will work for free on the project, as will Japanese acoustics expert Yasuhisa Toyota. It will open during 2015.
The storage building is currently being renovated from the ground up. It will house an 800-seat concert hall, in addition to practice and teaching rooms. The top floor will be home for the music kindergarten which Barenboim founded in 2005.
The complex is to be named after Palestinian literary scholar Edward Said (1935-2003) who founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra with Barenboim in Weimar in 1973.
On his 70th birthday, on November 15, Barenboim will perform Beethoven's Third Piano Concerto and Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto with the Staatskapelle Berlin, under the baton of his long-time friend and colleague Zubin Mehta, in a benefit concert for his Berlin Music Kindergarden.
Happy birthday Maestro!
Photo: Barenboim with Claudio Abbado in 2012
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.