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Barenboim named La Scala's musical director

Post left vacant by Muti in 2005

13 October, 18:13
Barenboim named La Scala's musical director (ANSA) - Milan, October 13 - Famed Argentinian-Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim was on Thursday named musical director of Milan's iconic La Scala opera house, filling a post left vacant when Riccardo Muti stormed out in 2005 amid artistic differences.

Barenboim, 68, who is already principal guest conductor for La Scala, will assume his new post on December 1, La Scala said.

For the last five years Barenboim has been Maestro of La Scala, a less formal title under which he has produced at least two operas a year. This arrangement was due to lapse this year.

Barenboim will serve as musical director until the end of 2016, La Scala said, adding that he would be present at the opera house 15 weeks a year for concerts, operas and tours.

Making the announcement "with great satisfaction and pride," La Scala Superintendent Stephane Lissner called Barenboim "one of the greatest conductors of our time".

The appointment, Lissner said, would launch "a broad-scale European project which strengthens La Scala internally and at the same time opens it up to new prospects on the world stage".

Milan Mayor Giuliano Pisapia, who is titular president of the La Scala foundation, said "with this choice, the theatre has once again confirmed it is a reference point for culture and music at an international level.

"The greatness of his (Barenboim's) work, which I have had the opportunity to enjoy many times, will enrich the history of this temple to opera and the image of Milan and Italy in the world," Pisapia added.

Barenboim has conducted many of the world's top symphony orchestras and is currently general music director of the Berlin State Opera and the Staatskapelle Berlin. He is also known for his work with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, a Seville-based orchestra of young Arab and Israeli musicians, and as an outspoken critic of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Barenboim has received numerous awards and prizes, including Britain's Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE), France's Legion d'honneur both as a Commander and Grand Officier, the German Grosses Bundesverdienstkreuz, and, together with the Palestinian-American scholar Edward Said, Spain's Prince of Asturias Concord Award. He has won seven Grammy awards for his work and discography.

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