In 1967, Barenboim married the brilliant cellist Jacqueline Du Pré, with whom he made several exceptional recital recordings. The couple also participated in a number of excellent concert and documentary films for television directed by Christopher Nupen. Unfortunately, this partnership ended when Du Pré contracted multiple sclerosis, which forced her to end her playing career in 1972. She died in 1987.
Barenboim became music director of the Orchestre de Paris in 1975. In 1988, the French Minister of Culture announced Barenboim's appointment as artistic director of the new Bastille Opéra in Paris. Sadly, following political squabbles, which included disputes over money and artistic policy, a new Minister of Culture dismissed Barenboim in January 1989. However, that same month he was named as Sir George Solti's successor as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
. In 1992, Barenboim became music director of the Berlin State Opera, then named chief conductor for life by its orchestra in 2002. He has also received awards for his efforts to bring together and mentor young Israeli and Palestinian musicians. In 1999, with Palestinian-American scholar Edward Said, Barenboim co-founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, a summer youth orchestra designed to foster understanding and cooperation. In May, 2011, he conducted the ad hoc Orchestra for Gaza, under the auspices of the United Nations.
Barenboim has a rich recorded repertoire as a conductor, pianist, accompanist, and chamber music player. Interestingly, as a pianist, he tends to focus on Mozart
, and the early Romantics, while as a conductor he favors later Romantic music, particularly Brahms
and Bruckner (he has won a medal from the Bruckner Society of America). With German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau he has played acclaimed recitals of lieder, notably those of Hugo Wolf. In 2004 he resigned his position in Chicago, citing stress brought on by the numerous nonmusical activities conductors of American orchestras are expected to undertake.