Daniel Barenboim: I’m sleeping 12 hours a day

Daniel Barenboim: I’m sleeping 12 hours a day


norman lebrecht

April 02, 2020

In an interview to roll out the Staatsoper’s next season, he shares a discovery that the best sleep is when he goes back to bed after breakfast.

On the general situation, he advises ‘cautious optimism’.

He’s preparing to play the Mozart double concerto with Martha Argerich on her 80th birthday next year.


  • John Holmes says:

    He was famous in his younger days for sleeping very little. So it’s good for him to catch up

  • Piano Lover says:

    “Try not to cough”…easier said than done.I hear and read this permanent request….impossible to achieve.Artists should realize that they,too are subject to coughing.
    Famous Richter recitals are full of coughing-listen to his Carnegie Hall recitals…and yest :music comes through.

    • david hilton says:

      Nonsense. Most of it is not ‘coughing’. It’s simply people clearing their throats. For that, they can well wait until the music has stopped. That respects both the performers and the other audience members who wish to listen to concerts free of others loudly clearing their throats.

    • Bruce says:

      It’s possible not to cough during a concert, if you’re not actually sick (and if you’re sick enough that you’re coughing uncontrollably, you shouldn’t be out spraying droplets on other people, coronavirus or not). You just have to pay attention to your body.

      Most concert-coughing happens because a person sits in one position for a long time and stops breathing deeply. The throat starts to get coated with mucus (which we are constantly secreting). Between movements we “wake up” for a moment and start breathing, and start to inhale that mucus, and of course the coughing reflex kicks in. (You will notice that people don’t generally cough while walking, and the concert-hall coughers don’t usually cough up a storm in the lobby.)

      All you have to do is stay aware enough to recognize that this is happening, and clear your throat — quietly — before it reaches a critical point.

      The other thing that can happen is that the person lets saliva start to go down the wrong pipe. The only time it ever happens to me is when I’m falling asleep in an awkward position, so I’m going to guess that’s the case with these people too 🙂

  • Brettermeier says:

    “the best sleep is when he goes back to bed after breakfast.”

    Finally, something we can agree on. 😀

  • MezzoLover says:

    “Although I have to say – forgive me to say something funny – it was amazing to conduct CARMEN” once in my life without coughing. Nobody coughed because the hall was empty. This is a beautiful lesson that our beloved audience can also learn: Not to cough during performances or concerts.”

    Loved it!!

    His comment reminds me of his 1970 Edinburgh Festival Beethoven Cello Sonata cycle with Jacqueline du Pré. How he must have hated all that non-stop coughing by the audience members!

    But, as one BBC Music Magazine critic wryly put it: “A sometimes chesty Usher Hall audience notwithstanding, this is among the better Du Pré retrospective collections.”

  • RW2013 says:

    He must have been sleeping when they decided who should conduct the new Lohengrin 🙁

  • AlexanderL says:

    I am rich. I have a nice house. I have enough money to be home, not work, and not worry. I can afford being home and having a worry-less sleep. You should know that a better life is possible… mine!

  • David Taylor says:

    I must say he looks more rested than I’ve ever seen him!

  • Alexander Tarak says:

    Let’s hope he puts in a bit more practice for Martha Argerich than he did for Jacques Chirac’s funeral (an excruciating performance).

    • Esther Cavett says:

      He used to play the double concerto from memory (eg with Ashkenazy) but he’ll probably now have a score.
      He could have been more cordial to the interviewer; wouldn’t have killed him at the end to say “same to you” after the good wishes

  • pianomaiden says:

    Glad he’s finally sleeping, given that his performances have sent me to sleep for years, not always for good reasons.

    • batonbaton says:

      agreed, he’s bored me for years with his interminable Barenbolitis, both at the keyboard and on the podium – in his youth he was a phenomenon though, but he’s sunk to pedestrian mediocrity