The pianist and conductor DANIEL BARENBOIM is committed to reconciliation in the Middle East to an extent unlike any other artist of world renown. He made his debut in concerts in the Palestinian territories, and went on to found the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. This orchestra is comprised of young Israeli and Arab musicians. In Israel he supported the performance of highly disputed works of Richard Wagner. Barenboim was born in 1942 in Buenos Aires, into a family that fled czarist Russia before the pogroms began. He was a musical child prodigy, giving his piano debut at the age of seven. From 1991 to 2006 he was the Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Since 1992 he has been the General Music Director of the Staatsoper in Berlin.