Praise from Barenboim delights young musician – and his grandfather

Ben Goldscheider received a standing ovation


A word of praise from Daniel Barenboim provided a moving moment for a young musician and his Jewish composer grandfather.

Ben Goldscheider received a standing ovation after he was singled out for special mention by Daniel Barenboim at a performance of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.

Mr Goldschdeider, the grandson of Czech composer Alexander Goldscheider, was congratulated by acclaimed conductor after playing the horn solo in Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony at a concert at the Royal Festival Hall.

Mr Barenboim made a point of telling the audience that Mr Goldscheider was British. The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra is primarily made up of young musicians from Palestinian and Israeli backgrounds and it is rare to have a British member.

The 20-year-old, who studies at the Barenboim-Said Akademie in Berlin, told the JC : “It is a huge honour and a source of continuous joy to be part of the West Eastern Divan Orchestra. To work with maestro Barenboim and tour the world’s greatest halls and festivals is just the most incredible experience.”

Alexander Goldscheider, who came to the UK in 1981 as a refugee and who was in the audience at Royal Festival Hall, said seeing his grandson celebrated for his British identity was moving.

“When you are 31 and leave everything behind, you think of the future for your children and their children more than of your own. Becoming British 10 years later is a huge privilege, but again it is your children and their children who are truly British.

“And when one the world’s best ever musicians, a true genius, shows your grandson to thousands in a phenomenal concert and shouts ‘he is British,’ it is a circle that is so wonderfully, unbelievably completed.”

The concert was held to commemorate Jacqueline du Pré, Mr Barenboim’s wife who died 30 years ago after suffering multiple sclerosis, and to raise money for STOP MS, a charity that helps fund research into the condition.

Mr Goldscheider said: “The whole concert was poignant to me as I have lived with MS for 22 years myself; to see my grandson playing a part in a fight against it was unforgettable.”

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