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Frank Gehry's Pierre Boulez Hall opens in Berlin
Pierre Boulez Saal © Volker Kreidler.

BERLIN.- After a four-year building programme that has gone entirely according to plan, Berlin’s new Pierre Boulez Hall opened with a gala concert under the direction of Daniel Barenboim. As honorary guest, German President Joachim Gauck attended the opening concert on 4 March. The newly formed Boulez Ensemble presented works by Boulez, Schubert, Mozart, Jörg Widmann and Alban Berg.

The Pierre Boulez Hall has been designed by American architect Frank Gehry and is a part of the Barenboim–Said Academy. Summoned into existence by Daniel Barenboim, the Academy began its teaching programme in the autumn of 2016. Located at the cultural heart of Berlin, the new concert hall has seating for 700 and offers a range of possibilities with its elliptical shape and flexible stage design. The hall’s acoustics are the responsibility of the Japanese acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota, who is well known for his expertise in this field. Both Frank Gehry and Yasuhisa Toyota have generously donated their services to the Barenboim–Said Academy and renounced any fee for their work.

The opening concert’s programme is a reflection of Pierre Boulez’s inexhaustible musical inquisitiveness. The French composer, conductor and visionary, who died in January 2016, was for many years one of Daniel Barenboim’s closest artistic colleagues. “Pierre Boulez was not just a great composer and conductor,” recalls Barenboim, “he also revolutionized music from the ground upwards. We are dedicating this chamber music room to the spirit of a musical visionary and looking forward to the forthcoming concerts and encounters.”

Under the heading of “Music for the Thinking Ear” the programme for the opening season comprises more than sixty concerts featuring chamber music from the Classical and Romantic periods as well as modern classics from the early 20th century, contemporary compositions, world premieres, music from the Middle East and jazz.

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