Conductor Barenboim to accept British knighthood

23rd June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Israeli-Argentine conductor Daniel Barenboim will accept a knighthood from the British ambassador to Berlin Thursday for his work toward reconciliation in the Middle East through music, the embassy said.

Barenboim, 68, will become an honorary Knight Commander of the most excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) but he will not receive a "Sir" title -- an honour reserved for Britons.

British Ambassador Simon McDonald will present the accolade, the highest accorded to foreign citizens, at a gala dinner in the German capital in the name of Queen Elizabeth II.

McDonald hailed Barenboim's tireless campaign for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, including his founding in 1999 of the East-West Divan orchestra with the late Palestinian-American scholar Edward W. Said.

"Daniel Barenboim is a staunch advocate of the unifying power of music. He certainly has become an inspirational figure, not least of all for the next generation of musicians," he said in a statement.

Barenboim, who lives in Berlin and is general music director of the city's State Opera and its Staatskapelle, said he was "deeply touched" by the honour, adding that years he spent in Britain had been "of formative importance until this very day."

Previous recipients of the honorary KBE include former German chancellor Helmut Kohl, US director Steven Spielberg and IT mogul and philanthropist Bill Gates.

© 2011 AFP

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