Barenboim-Said Akademie

A Center for Education Through Music

© Volker Kreidler

Music and Humanism

Education through music is a founding principle of three institutions linked by this unique project: the Barenboim-Said Akademie, the Pierre Boulez Saal and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. Founded in 2012 by Daniel Barenboim, the Barenboim-Said Akademie launched its program for musicians from the Middle East in its new home on Berlin‘s Französische Strasse in October 2016.

The curriculum is a reflection of the academy’s philosophy that a musical education must be enriched with a thorough knowledge of the Humanities. The academy is another ideal environment for the thinking ear.

When making music in an ensemble, one learns to listen to one’s own voice and to the voices of others. Although one may not always agree, an openness and curiosity about other opinions, the ability to listen to one another, are an invaluable part of being a great artist and human being. When this process of listening and understanding happens onstage, the concertgoer is also drawn in and participates in the musical dialogue.

Humanism is the only, and I would go

as far as to say the final resistance we have against the inhuman practices and injustices that disfigure human history.

Edward Said


The Pierre Boulez Saal is the public face of the academy. It gives students a nurturing environment for taking their first steps into the spotlight, while offering them an outlet and stage to become part of the city’s cultural life. New formats, discovery, and flexibility are essential to the academy’s program: Academy Concerts, student-faculty presentations, lectures, and symposiums have been an integral part of the Pierre Boulez Saal's season from the beginning, showcasing what is being studied and what inspires students and faculty over the course of a semester.

The students of the Barenboim Said-Akademie bring life to the Pierre Boulez Saal in their own way, putting their stamp on this new cultural space in the center of Berlin, together with and alongside prominent artists. They are creating a new tradition while becoming a part of the capital’s vibrant musical history.


Created in the spirit of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, The Barenboim-Said Akademie also represents hope for mutual understanding. Goethe´s admiration of the Persian poet Hafiz led him to pen the collection of poems titled West–östlicher Divan. As indicated in its namesake, this unique orchestra is an ensemble that places intercultural inspiration and collaboration at its core, where young musicians from Middle Eastern nations find common ground for making music and communicating. As a group which is also driven by curiosity, both musical and cultural, the orchestra will have an important role in the Pierre Boulez Saal and Boulez Ensemble.

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