Daniel Barenboim, 73, has had an unparalleled musical career both on stage and as founder of a Palestinian-Israeli orchestra for peace. Now he's launched a YouTube channel focused on one main theme: human beings.
Launching his YouTube channel last week, Daniel Barenboim said in a welcome video that he wouldn't just be discussing music.
"I shall be talking occasionally about music, about pieces that are close to my heart, about pieces that I hope will interest you. And then I will talk about other subjects that preoccupy me - some social, maybe some political, but in any case, all subjects that have to do with the human being," he said.
In one of his first videos, the musician theorizes on the issue of freedom of speech, saying it's not only a right but also a responsibility. In that context, he addresses the use of social media, reminding viewers that the option of posting content online is accompanied by the responsibility to use it wisely.
"This way, we can turn social media into a perfectly positive element in our lives," he concludes.
Nevertheless, music doesn't come up short in his fledgling video collection. In another, entitled "Deconstructed: Music & Conversation," Barenboim sits at the piano and starts off by explaining why it's impossible to talk about music - "because music means different things to different people, and it means different things to the same person at different times."
While playing excerpts from a Chopin Nocturne, he goes on to explain how music functions as dialogue, adding that music - particularly in opera - can even be subversive.
In a third video, the pianist and conductor dissects the Brahms Piano Concerto No 1 in D minor, recalling the many times he has recorded the monumental work, starting in 1967.
New academy in Berlin
Barenboim, who was born in Buenos Aires in 1942 to Argentinean-Jewish parents, holds Argentine, Israeli, Palestinian and Spanish passports. An outspoken supporter of human rights, he has been openly critical of Israel's policies towards Palestine.
In 1999, together with Palestinian-American intellectual Edward Said, he founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. Aimed at promoting peace in the Middle East, the Seville-based initiative brings together musicians from Israel, the Palestinian territories, other Arab countries and Spain.
Starting this fall, a Barenboim-Said Academy is set to open in Berlin, run in the spirit of the orchestra. While 30 young musicians will begin their studies there this year, the academy hopes to expand to 80 or 90 students by 2018.