November 3, 2010 / 8:42 AM / 8 years ago

Musician Barenboim seeks classical music revival

BERLIN (Reuters) - Israeli pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim, who signed a new recording deal with classical labels Deutsche Grammophon and Decca Classics this week, said he had found partners who shared his musical vision.

Israeli-Argentine conductor Daniel Barenboim directs the West-Eastern Divan orchestra, which includes Arab and Israeli musicians, in a free open air concert in Buenos Aires, August 21, 2010. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian

Barenboim said he was pleased the two labels — both part of Universal Music — were prepared to be pro-active in trying to turn around the fortunes of classical music, rather than take a bleak view like many other labels had.

The Argentine-born musician, renowned for his work with the West-Eastern Divan youth orchestra which unites Arabs and Israelis, will make his first ever recordings of the Chopin and Liszt piano concertos under the agreement.

In signing the 10-year deal, he pledged to act as an ambassador for classical music.

“I’ve been involved with young musicians and I would like to continue that,” he told a news conference in Berlin late on Tuesday.

He said they would discuss what had changed since his first record went on the market in the mid-1950s, as well as “what we can do so things are better in 50 years.”

The problem with music nowadays was that “it is not part of a child’s normal education and it’s too late to get started on it when you’re 30 and you’ve got a job,” Barenboim said.

This had hurt appreciation of classic music, he said.

Barenboim said the closure of record stores meant it was time to consider other methods of getting people interested.

“I’ve always been very interested in young musicians and always found one learns a lot more by teaching than by not teaching,” Barenboim said.

The 67-year-old will also lead the Berlin Staatsoper, where he is music director, and Italy’s La Scala, where he is guest conductor, in a new production of Wagner’s Ring cycle.

The first release on Deutsche Grammophon, early next year, will be devoted to Chopin and mark the 60th anniversary of Barenboim’s performing debut.

“I’m looking forward to our joint future and many fascinating recordings,” Barenboim said.

Editing by Paul Casciato

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