Rising conductor Thomas Guggeis takes over West-Eastern Divan tour from ailing Daniel Barenboim
Daniel Barenboim, legendary pianist and conductor and co-founder of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra is forced to withdraw from the orchestra’s upcoming May tour of Europe. Mr Barenboim was recently diagnosed with an inflammatory vascular disease and has been undergoing inpatient treatment for the past two weeks. He is expected to make a full recovery.
Following the advice of his physicians, he will complete his current treatment course and withdraw from the upcoming concert tour to focus on his recovery. He will be replaced by rising conductor Thomas Guggeis, a former assistant to Mr Barenboim, holding since the 2020/21 season the position of Staatskapellmeister at the Berlin´s Staatsoper unter den Linden, slated to be the next General Music Director of Frankfurt Opera. Prior to taking up his position in Frankfurt he will have already worked in such houses as the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Semperoper in Dresden and the Vienna State Opera. On the concert podium, he has made successful debuts with a number renowned ensembles, including the Orchestre de Paris, the Staatskapelle Dresden and the Staatskapelle Berlin to name just a few.
Says Daniel Barenboim: "Withdrawing from this tour is painful. My work with the WEDO is very special to me and I was greatly looking forward to performing Smetana’s Ma Vlast with them. However, at this time, I must prioritize my health and I am grateful that Thomas Guggeis has agreed to take over the tour. “Ma Vlast” is a very poignant piece for the WEDO to be taking to European capitals, especially at this time. "Ma Vlast" means "my homeland" and it is very significant and symbolic that our orchestra, which still does not have a homeland, will be performing this piece in Prague. I will be with all the musicians in spirit and look forward to reuniting with them in the summer."
The tour takes the orchestra across Europe to France, Italy, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Czech Republic, culminating in eagerly awaited concerts to open the Prague Spring Festival. The program is"Má vlast" ("My Homeland") by Bedřich Smetana.