Alex James's Date Night - Saturday 15 November

Alex James celebrates the big anniversaries in the classical music world for the week ahead.

Natalie Wheen's Great Performers, Classic FM

Among the musical anniversaries and significant dates tonight, Alex raises a glass to the legendary pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim on his birthday. 

Born in Buenos Aires in 1942, Barenboim first made his name in the 1960s as a pianist. His performances of Beethoven 's Sonatas are legendary and he became one of the first modern musicians to revive the idea of performing Mozart ’s concertos without a conductor, directing them instead from the keyboard as Mozart himself used to do. In 1967, Barenboim married the cellist Jaqueline du Pré. They remained married for 20 years until her death.

At the very pinnacle of his profession for more than 40 years, Barenboim is renowned for his longstanding relationships with some of the world's finest orchestras - the Chicago Symphony , the Berlin Staatskapelle, and the Berlin Philharmonic , as well as the Berlin Staatsoper Unter den Linden, where he was artistic director for many years.

Alex also marks the first ever performance by the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra. One of the "Big Five" American orchestras, it was formed by Fritz Scheel in 1900. It has gone on to have eight music directors and one chief conductor, including most famously Leopold Stokowski , who conducted the orchestra on the soundtrack to Walt Disney's Fantasia.