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Director Barenboim wants classical music for the masses

21 sierpnia, 2010

Israeli-Argentine conductor Daniel Barenboim called on classical musicians Thursday to take elitism out of their art and make it available to the masses, as he will be doing at the weekend with a free concert.

Israeli-Argentine conductor Daniel Barenboim called on classical musicians Thursday to take elitism out of their art and make it available to the masses, as he will be doing at the weekend with a free concert.

"It\'s very important to do mass events once in a while, to show that classical music is not elitist," Barenboim told reporters after receiving the Bicentennial Medal for outstanding contributions on the 200th anniversary of Argentina\'s independence.

Barenboim, 67, is here to direct a series of musical events on the 60th anniversary of his debut as a child pianist in Buenos Aires.

On Saturday, Barenboim will direct his West-Eastern Divan orchestra -- which includes Arab and Israeli musicians -- in a free concert at the foot of Buenos Aires\' famous central obelisk.

The 10-concert tour kicked off Wednesday at the Teatro Colon with a repertoire from Beethoven and Verdi.

Barenboim\'s family settled in Israel in 1950, but the director-pianist said his Argentine roots were key in selecting his orchestra because Argentina is a welcoming home to multiple ethnic groups.

"We were able to do this because of the years I lived in Argentina, where I got used to thinking there are no problems in multiple identities," he said, referring to the many Arabs and Jews living together in the Argentine capital.

Also receiving a Bicentennial Medal was Mariam Said, whose late husband, Palestinian-American intellectual Edward Said, co-founded the West-Eastern Divan orchestra with Barenboim.