Daniel Barenboim: My health has deteriorated

Daniel Barenboim: My health has deteriorated


norman lebrecht

October 05, 2022

The conductor announced today that he will be taking a step back for ‘the coming months.’ His message strikes a valedictory note. We wish Daniel a full recovery.

Here’s his message:

It is with a combination of pride and sadness that I announce today that I am taking a step back from some of my performing activities, especially conducting engagements, for the coming months.

My health has deteriorated over the last months, and I have been diagnosed with a serious neurological condition. I must now focus on my physical well-being as much as possible.

Music has always been and continues to be an essential and lasting part of my life. I have lived all my life in and through music, and I will continue to do so as long as my health allows me to. Looking back and ahead, I am not only content but deeply fulfilled.

Mit einer Mischung aus Zuversicht und Traurigkeit gebe ich heute bekannt, dass ich mich in den kommenden Monaten von einigen meiner Auftritte, insbesondere von Dirigaten, zurückziehen werde.
Mein Gesundheitszustand hat sich in den letzten Monaten verschlechtert und es wurde eine schwere neurologische Erkrankung bei mir diagnostiziert. Ich muss mich jetzt so weit wie möglich auf mein körperliches Wohlbefinden konzentrieren.
Die Musik war und ist ein wesentlicher und dauerhafter Bestandteil meines Lebens. Ich habe mein ganzes Leben in und durch die Musik gelebt und werde dies auch weiterhin tun, solange es mir meine Gesundheit erlaubt. Wenn ich zurück und nach vorne blicke, bin ich nicht nur zufrieden, sondern zutiefst erfüllt.


  • Stephan von Cron says:

    Actually very good news. Daniel Barenboim was one of the century’s greatest pianists and brilliant musicians (never met anyone with an ear like his), but only a mediocre conductor, other than a few rare works in the literature, and certainly one of the most hainous power-hungry monsters in the business. He destroyed more musicians than he helped and seemed to take great joy in doing so. He will only be missed by like-minded politicians. Go in peace, but please go.

    • Alan says:

      Shame on you. A disgusting comment.

      Do people like you ever think before you type?

    • Alexy says:

      You show an amazing level of empathy!

      • Alexy says:

        To be clear, my comment is a reply to Stephan not Alan with whom I agree 100%

      • norman lebrecht says:

        You are making a bold and unsubstantiated allegation. Give us some names and dated or withdraw this defamatory imputation. Did you have a personalissue with him?

        • Stephan von Cron says:

          Mr. Lebrecht,
          The allegation is not unsubstantiated, and I have proof. I cannot give you names, but you are well informed enough to know about whom I am speaking.
          I personally never had a direct contentious claim against Mr. Barenboim.
          Should you find my propos defamatory I shall most willingly delete them.
          I appreciate your site as a forum to discuss openly and honestly how the music business works, also when it is ugly, as unfortunately it can very well be. Perhaps some things are better not known!
          All the Best

          • norman lebrecht says:

            Ths is an open forum, but we cannot acccept anonymous denunciations, especially when the subject has just suffered personal tragedy. I will bracket this part of your cmment until proof is provided.

        • Stephan von Cron says:

          Please feel free to withdraw all of my comments from the site. I am not able to do so as unaccustomed to its functionality.
          Many Thanks

    • Maria says:

      You should just get put f the pulpit and go back in your box. An attempt to sound superior with your comments about Danny but all it does is shows up your own inadequacies rather than his, and so bitterness and hate. Some of us worked with him and loved him, and are not involved in politics but with making music for others to our best ability and getting paid for what we love doing.

      • Stephan von Cron says:

        I have only expressed openly what many have thought for years but dare not express. Daniel Barenboim was indeed a great musician, and I was very clear about that.
        For all those outraged by my comments they can consider that it is only my opinion, but well-founded. His ultimate judgment on a human level will come from a different source.

    • Max Raimi says:

      This comment would be utterly appalling even if it were remotely true. I cannot express how much I learned from Mr. Barenboim. He has a sense of the structure and harmonic narrative of the music that is exceedingly rare. I don’t know how he compelled the orchestra to manage it, but when there was an unexpected remote harmony in the music, it was as if the entire room changed color. He was demanding and overworked, and not universally beloved by any means. But I am more grateful than I can say that I was able to make music with him for so many years.

    • Tancredi says:

      I think I’ll stick to recalling that DB was the first live pianist I saw; he 13 and I nine and he opened up a world, so one can only say thank you and good wishes.

    • Dixie says:

      Spot on! I know one of his victims.

    • Dixie says:

      Spot on. I know one of his victoms.

  • Aurelia says:

    Sorry to read this and hope that his health improves

  • Claudio says:

    He looked really bad whole last year, it was an obvious choice for regular person to step back, but not for him.
    I respect his choice anyway.
    Interesting if music landscape will change as well as his protegees positions.

  • TNVol says:

    God be with you musical friend.

  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    His 80th birthday is coming up (just a few days before Bidden’s 80th) . A birthday 80th with Mehta of Beethoven 3rd cto and Chopin will hopefully still happen. Maybe it’s just the conducting he’s cutting down

  • Merville says:

    Courage Maestro.

  • Herr Doktor says:

    Let’s hope this is something he can recover from. Best wishes for good health, Maestro Barenboim.

  • Duane says:

    Very sad news! I wish the great Maestro the best! He is one of the greatest musician’s of our time!

  • Judy says:

    Brahms Violin Concerto recording with Vengerov and the Strauss Oboe Concerto with Alex Klein; CSO. The best! We need musicians/conductors who are actually good. Legend, you are. Get better!

    • Gustavo says:

      The best recordings of insignificant works.

      • Una says:

        Yes, he never minded taking on non-masterpieces and turning them into pieces that were a credit to the composer, worth a airing and not treated as inferior or second rate by others so dismissed.

  • Nick2 says:

    Perhaps not unexpected but still very sad news. Let’s pray that he will continue to make music for more years to come.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    I hope that we may all put aside whatever differences we may have and wish him the best of luck, and of health.

  • Gustavo says:

    So good then he received the Gramophone Lifetime Achievements Award 2022.

  • Emil says:

    The right decision. He still has much to contribute in a scaled back role, so let’s hope his recovery goes well and that he takes the time to come back to health.

    • Maria says:

      Danny has made the decision himself with the help of his doctors, and the fact, like out late Queen, has mobility problems. Let’s hope it is the right decision and diesnt make him ill in other ways. When the body says no, not much you can do to make it function well otherbthan lisyen to it. Really wish him well and that he is kept comfortable. and out of pain.

  • RW2013 says:

    gute Besserung!
    (but does that mean that we get even more of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEErCqhrBqU ?)

  • Gustavo says:

    Remember him attacking that lady in Berlin?

    I wonder whether these were the first signs of a neurological condition.

    Poor bloke.

  • Una says:


    Here is Daniel Barenboim interviewed by musicologist and radio presenter, Bruce Duffie. He was very well liked during his time when conductor et al of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.


    Sorry for his health condition! He is one of the greatest musicians over the world, no matter what some people say..

  • PB says:

    The most holistic musician it has been my privilege to work with……. May his health improve quickly….

  • Goodwill Qedusizi Dube says:

    What a gentleman he is, like his dedication to What he does, wish you a quick recovery

  • Mark Mortimer says:

    There seems to be a lot of talk here as to whether DB is a nice or nasty person. I can’t comment on that as I’ve never met him & am sure others are far more qualified to do so. But the announcement that he’s giving up performing owing to health reasons (at least temporarily) is an immensely sad one. I always thought he was a fantastic pianist (in fact even better live than on recording- which is usually not the case with most professional pianists). I’ve seen him quite a lot as a conductor also- & although finding him less interesting in this regard- he can be inspirational with the right orchestras. Most musicians are quite dispensable- there’s always plenty more brilliant ones just waiting in the wings. But DB is ‘indispensable’- a true musical legend who has provided pleasure & inspiration to literally millions all over the world from his days as a child prodigy. He also gets a lot of stick for his East/West Divan project- which some see as a personal vanity project but, afterall, the former MD of the Chicago Symphony & Berlin State Opera- didn’t have to. Difficult to think of a comparable figure in living memory other than Lenny Bernstein (LB). Whether or not this is the end of his incredible musical journey- we should be celebrating it.

    • Anne-Louise Luccarini says:

      Thank you, Mark Mortimer. Yes, he’s been a shining light in so many ways. This announcement reminds me uncomfortably of the one made by LB.

  • Piano Lover says:

    It is sad because I value him very much.
    But would the Covid vaccination have something to do with his health deteriorating that I would not be surprised.
    Much has been said on this “vaccine” and side effects appear every where.
    Too late!!!

  • Steven Tharp says:

    I had the honor to work as a soloist with Maestro Barenboim in Chicago in the 90s, and he was remarkably supportive and encouraging. Between each performance, he would give me notes, not as a power play or to try to control me, but for the sake of improving each performance in the run. It was an incredible honor to share the stage with him.

  • William Middendorf says:

    Please get better. Have been following you since 1968