Israeli pianist and conductor of Jewish Ukrainian descent. He became an Officier de la Légion d'honneur in 1987.
Born in Buenos Aires, where he made his piano debut at the age of seven, Barenboim and his family moved to Europe in 1951 and to Israel in 1952. He studied the piano in Salzburg with Edwin Fischer (1886–1960) (playing the Bach D minor concerto at the Mozarteum at the age of nine) and with Igor Markevich(1912–83), and composition in Paris with Nadia Boulanger. He made his English debut in 1955, his New York debut in 1957, and his conducting debut in Israel in 1962.
Barenboim has made his reputation as a virtuoso pianist, with complete recordings of the Mozart piano concertos and the Beethoven piano sonatas and concertos; as a pianist-conductor, particularly with the English Chamber Orchestra; and as a chamber musician, especially in partnership with the violinists Pinchas Zukerman and Itzak Perlman and the cellist Jacqueline du Pré;, whom he married in 1967. He is also known as an accompanist in Lieder, especially with Fischer-Dieskau. In 1975 Barenboim became musical director of the Orchestre de Paris, which he left in controversial circumstances in 1988; he subsequently became music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Deutsche Staatsoper in Berlin (from 1991). He has been awarded the Beethoven medal (1958) and the Paderewski medal (1963).