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Star Israeli-Argentine conductor Barenboim to break from performing due to health

79-year-old known for promoting ties between young Israeli and Arab musicians says he’ll be halting appearances due to ‘serious neurological condition’

Musical director and conductor Daniel Barenboim stands in the main concert hall of the newly renovated Staatsoper Opera House in Berlin, Germany, September 29, 2017. (Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa via AP/File)
Musical director and conductor Daniel Barenboim stands in the main concert hall of the newly renovated Staatsoper Opera House in Berlin, Germany, September 29, 2017. (Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa via AP/File)

Legendary conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim has announced that he will be taking a break from performing after being diagnosed with a “serious neurological condition.”

The 79-year-old broke the news in a statement posted on social media this week, saying his health “has deteriorated over the last months” and that he now must “focus on my physical well-being.”

“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,” Barenboim said.

“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,” he added.

The Berlin-based Barenboim was born in Argentina to Jewish parents. He moved to Israel as a teen, marrying Russian pianist Elena Bashkirova. He has been acclaimed for a stellar career, which saw him begin performing internationally as a pianist at the age of 10, and then become a leading conductor.

He earned further renown when he co-created a foundation and orchestra to promote cooperation among young musicians from Israel and Arab nations. In addition to obtaining Israeli citizenship, he also was given honorary Palestinian citizenship in 2008, using that occasion to describe the destinies of Israelis and Palestinians as “inextricably linked.”

Barenboim’s health has limited him as of late, and last February he announced a pause in performances to undergo surgery.

AFP contributed to this report.

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