Daniel Barenboimhas never been afraid to speak his mind. The outspoken conductor has long been an advocate for peace in the Middle East, founding the  West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in 1999 and attracting praise (and criticism) more recently for his views on the Israel-Palestine conflict and Brexit. Following his second performance in Sydney yesterday – the midpoint of his first tour to Australia since 1970 and the culmination of his Brahms Symphony cycle – he offered some advice for Australia.

Daniel Barenboim Daniel Barenboim. Photo © Peter Adamik

Microphone in hand, Barenboim bid the audience at the Sydney Opera House sit down, bringing to an end the standing ovation that followed his performance with the Staatskapelle Berlin of Brahms’s Fourth Symphony. “I wanted to say this yesterday, but being the first concert I didn’t think it was appropriate,” he said. “Then I wanted to say it before the concert today, and I thought, ‘It’s not appropriate’,” he continued, drawing a laugh from the audience. “But unless I say it now, I will not say it.”

“I wanted to tell you that the Staatskapelle and I would like to dedicate our concert to...