Israeli conductor: Where I differ from Barenboim

Israeli conductor: Where I differ from Barenboim


norman lebrecht

February 15, 2020

Omer Meir Wellber, Daniel Barenboim’s former assistant in Milan and Berlin, is now working in Palermo with a Palestinian director of culture to raise the city’s multicultural profile.

But Wellber, who is also music director in Manchester, is his own man.

From a fascinating Jewish Chronicle profile this weekend:

Like (Barenboim), he is critical of Israeli policy on the settlements, but has maintained close ties with the nation (he has been music director of his native Raanana Symphonette Orchestra for over a decade). “There is one small difference between Barenboim and I that is actually huge,” Wellber says. “My mother still lives in Israel. If the army calls, I go.”

Read on here.


  • Musician says:

    Barenboim is a bit old for military service. I wouldn’t hold that against him.

  • Ruthanne Schnell says:

    So tragic this cannot be fairly resolved so that all people can live freely and without fear. Especially so this young musician does not have to put on a uniform and carry a gun to protect his mother.Ruthanne

  • John Dalkas says:

    What a remarkable man — combining his talents with the power of music to change lives in such a challenging environment. Bravo!

  • John Soutter says:

    If the army calls, Barenboim is nearly 80 …!

  • Jan Piet says:

    yeah, that’s the only difference between the two of them……………

  • Tamino says:

    So the difference is: Wellber is born in Israel in 1981. Barenboim is born in Argentina in 1942.
    Anything else?

    • Miguel Cervantes says:

      The difference between Wellber and Barenboim is that Barenboim is openly anti-Zionist.

      As for the Raanana Symphoniette, Welber’s position is symbolic. There is a resident conductor who is the real MD. The orchestra is known in Israel for its POPS performances (both Israeli and international).

  • Zvi says:

    Welber is a fine musician. I remember well his excellent Gioconda at the Israeli Opera. He is the musical director of that peripheral orchestra in Raanana. Pity he’s not performing regularly with the Philharmonic.

  • Eduardo says:

    My friend, the delightful Aida Barenboim died quite a while ago, and as for military service there are much better things Maestro Barenboim could do rather than holding a gun. If Mr Meir Wellber wants to do something useful he could simply shut up.

  • Esther Cavett says:

    DB once cut short an interview when the reporter turned up in military uniform (even though off duty)