05 October 2022
By Ellie Palmer
The 79-year-old made the announcement on the same night he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Gramophone Awards 2022
Seven-time Grammy Award-winning pianist Daniel Barenboim has made the decision to step out of the performing spotlight due to his health.
Barenboim confirmed the news via social media in a tweet to his 51,000+ followers last night. He said, "It is with a combination of pride and sadness that I announce today that I am taking a step back from some of my performing activities, especially conducting engagements, for the coming months.
"My health has deteriorated over the last months, and I have been diagnosed with a serious neurological condition. I must now focus on my physical well-being as much as possible."
He continues, "Music has always been and continues to be an essential and lasting part of my life. I have lived all my life in and through music, and I will continue to do so as long as my health allows me to. Looking back and ahead, I am not only content but deeply fulfilled."
It is with a combination of pride and sadness that I announce today that I am taking a step back from some of my performing activities, especially conducting engagements, for the coming months. pic.twitter.com/1LlqaETNzG— Daniel Barenboim (@DBarenboim) October 4, 2022
In the same evening, Barenboim was given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Gramophone Awards 2022. Unable to attend the awards in person, personal messages from many other major artists, including Sir Antonio Pappano, Maxim Vengerov, Alisa Weilerstein, Lisa Batiashvili and Yo-Yo Ma, were relayed in a powerful video tribute. In the video, Sir Simon Rattle described him as, “the personification of lifetime achievement… I can’t think of any classical musician who has not been influenced, inspired or learnt from Daniel over all these years, both as musician and philosopher with the extraordinary work he’s done with the [West-Eastern] Divan Orchestra. Of course, one of the greatest musicians of our time, both as pianist and conductor.”
With a vast recorded catalogue made over an illustrious 66-year career, the award recognises the pianist and conductor's exceptional contribution to classical music in his 80th birthday year. Earlier this year, he announced he was releasing three separate albums in celebration of his birthday across the year. The first album, 'Encores', was released on 25 March, with the second album, Mendelssohn’s 'Lieder ohne Worte', following on 29 July. The third and final album, featuring Schumann's Four Symphonies, is set to be released on 7 October.
The full story of the night's other winners can be found here.
Main image: © Monika Rittershaus