Daniel Barenboim
(c) Peter Adamik

Conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim announced today he was stepping down as General Musical Director of Berlin’s State Opera due to deteriorating health. »Unfortunately my health condition significantly worsened in the last year, » Barenboim, 80, said in a statement. « I can no longer deliver the performance rightly expected of a general musical director. »

Argentina-born Barenboim, who had held the position since 1992, asked Berlin’s top culture official Klaus Lederer to release him from his contract on January 31.

The conductor said his years in Berlin had been « musically and personally inspiring in every way. »

« I believe the State Opera and I brought each other great happiness, » he said, adding that he was « especially pleased and proud » that the venue’s Staatskapelle orchestra had elected him chief conductor for life.

« I will of course remain — as long as I live — deeply connected with the music and am ready to continue conducting, especially with the Staatskapelle Berlin, » he said.

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