Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1942, Barenboim moves to Israel in 1952 with his family. Beginning to study classical music and conducting at the age of 14, he is quickly recognized as a child prodigy by German conductor and composer Wilhelm Furtwangler. A skilled pianist, Barenboim makes his conducting debut in 1966 in London. Making his operatic debut in 1973, with a performance of Mozart’s “Don Giovani,” he further reinforces his reputation as a top tier classical conductor; he then becomes musical director for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, turns down a position as music director for the New York Philharmonic in 2009, eventually accepting the position with La Scala in 2011.
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