At the age of eleven, Daniel Barenboim saw Edwin Fischer conducting from the piano. He realised immediately: “That’s exactly what I want to do!” And so it happened that the young virtuoso pianist, who had already performed in public in his native Buenos Aires at the age of eight, also embarked on a conducting career as the youngest member of Igor Markevitch’s conducting class. Daniel Barenboim made his conducting debut in 1967 and in the following years took on leadership positions with the Orchestre de Paris, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and La Scala in Milan before becoming artistic director and general music director of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in 1992. Together with the Palestinian-American literary scholar Edward Said, he founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which more than any other ensemble promotes tolerance and international understanding. In 2015, he also founded the Berlin Barenboim-Said Academy, which supports outstanding young musicians from the Middle East. Since his debut as a soloist in 1964 and his conducting debut in 1969, Barenboim has enjoyed a decades-long artistic partnership with the Berliner Philharmoniker, which appointed him an honorary member in 1992 and honorary conductor in 2019: “Even as a child, the Berliner Philharmoniker were a model for me of how an orchestra could and should sound. Their unmistakable sound blew me away even then.”
From Siberia to Paris and then to Berlin: Liubov Medvedeva was born in Russia, “more precisely in the north of Russia, within the Arctic Circle. My parents are not musicians themselves. Nevertheless, I was surrounded by music from childhood, as my parents always contributed to my musical education.” After studying at the Russian Institute of Theatre Arts in Moscow, the young soprano became a member of the Académie de l’Opéra national de Paris in September 2018. A year later, she won the prestigious Siemens Competition, where “with a strong voice and charisma” she was “assured of the audience’s attention and delight from the very first moment”. “The art of singing,” she says, “always means for me to be in harmony with my body, with myself. And no matter where I perform or whatever I do, I always try to be very precise. It’s very important to know where you can develop and where you should change your expression or technique.” Numerous other competition successes were followed by other performances, including at the Opéra Garnier in Paris. Since the 2020/21 season, Liubov Medvedeva has been a member of the International Opera Studio at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, where she made her debut in 2021 as Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro under the direction of Daniel Barenboim.