Announced Thursday by Italy's leading opera house, he will officially take over on Dec. 1 and will continue through December 31, 2016. He has promised 15 weeks for the Milanese to prepare productions, concerts and tours.
He is currently the general music director of the Berlin State Opera and has held that post since 1992. As a sign of how much Berlin values his leadership: they have contracted with him to stay there until 2022.
Barenboim has been invited to conduct at La Scala several times. Intendant Stephane Lissner made his wish to have him as music director a matter of public record but it was Barenboim himself who kept his role in Milan vague and ill-defined until recently. The post has been empty since Riccardo Muti stepped down in 2005.
In taking this post, he will now follow such legendary maestros as Arturo Toscanini, Tullio Serafin, Victor de Sabata, Carlo Maria Giulini and Claudio Abbado.
Intendant Lissner described Barenboim as "one of the greatest musicians of our time... a humanist who can bring us a lot through his ideas." He will conduct the season- opening opera, Mozart's "Don Giovanni," as staged by the Canadian director Robert Carsen.