Barenboim, Founder of Israeli-Palestinian Peace Orchestra, Wins Praemium Imperiale Award

It’s been a busy week for Daniel Barenboim, internationally-renowned conductor and champion of Israeli-Palestinian peace. Yesterday, the UN Secretary designated him among a distinguished group of world citizens as a UN peace envoy. Today, he received the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in music, the Praemium Imperiale:

Daniel Barenboim, the conductor, pianist, author and activist, has been named the winner of the Praemium Imperiale for music. The Japan Art Association, which administers the awards, announced the news yesterday in Tokyo.

Created in 1989 and carrying a prize of 15 million yen (currently about US $129,000) each, the five Praemium Imperiale awards are given annually for outstanding achievement in five fields not covered by the Nobel Prizes: music, painting, sculpture, architecture and theater/film.

…The Praemium award citation cites in particular Barenboim’s well-known campaign against the taboo on performing Wagner in Israel, his activism on behalf of peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, an ensemble of young Arab and Israeli musicians which Barenboim founded in 1999 with his great friend and co-author, the Palestinian-American scholar Edward Said.

Bravo, maestro! The Amazon book link is to the Said-Barenboim literary collaboration, Parallels and Paradoxes.