Pierre Boulez Saal

The concert hall was designed upon the initiative of Daniel Barenboim, General Music Director of the Berlin State Opera, and in collaboration with the American architect Frank Gehry. The hall’s acoustics concept is the work of Japanese acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota. The building’s original façade, designed by Richard Paulick in the 1950s, was preserved as a listed building. The location formerly housed the State Opera’s backdrops warehouse.
French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez – the concert hall’s eponym

The French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez (1925 to 2016), a friend of Barenboim’s for many years and the namesake of the concert hall, viewed music’s essential function as the forging of a connection between musicians and listeners. One of the hall’s core elements is thus the closeness of the audience to the musicians – not seated on a raised dais, the musicians face the audience directly at eye level. To Boulez, music was a means of direct communication which demanded careful, attentive listening.

Flexible architecture

The concert hall, panelled in lightly coloured cedar, has a flexible design offering variable setups: The audience’s seating and the stage can be moved to form different layouts. Examples include an arena layout or a classic concert hall with the audience facing the stage at the front. Stalls and galleries together form the visual of two interlocking ellipses.

Barenboim-Said Academy

The Pierre Boulez Saal is also the venue for concerts played by the Barenboim-Said Academy. Since October 2016, young musicians from conflict zones in the Middle East have found a place to study music here. The orchestra was founded in 1999 by Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said. The orchestra’s name was inspired by Goethe’s collection of poems “West–Eastern Divan”, itself inspired by Middle Eastern poetry. The Barenboim-Said Academy’s building was designed by the architects HG Merz and rw+.
The Pierre Boulez Saal brings studies and practical experience together. Students are given the opportunity to advance their knowledge and skills through learning and giving concerts, under the tutelage of professionals.
Since March 2017, the hall has regularly hosted concerts and chamber music performances. The programme features contemporary works and the Classical and Romantic repertoire. The hall is also used for lectures and conferences.

Pierre Boulez Ensemble

At the same time as concert hosting began, a new ensemble was founded. The Boulez Ensemble comprises musicians from the Staatskapelle Berlin and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.