Daniel Barenboim led a gala tribute this weekend for Hans Pischner, intendant of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in former East Berlin from 1963 to 1984. The centenarian was greeted by several former leaders of East Germany, where he was a trusted servant of the regime and president of its arts academy.
But he had enough independence at the opera to engage an Austrian music director, promote Peter Schreier , Theo Adam , Anna Tomowa-Sintow as international stars and educate an influential generation of new directors.
A prisoner of war in Russia, he started out as a harpsichordist, accompanying David Oistrakh among others. His Bach recordings have been reissued as a 10-CD set.
Barenboim greeted him with a Schubert piano piece.