Music for the Thinking Ear

© Monika Rittershaus

Great music is the result of concentrated listening.

Every musician must listen very carefully to the voice of the composer as well as to his fellow players.

Daniel Barenboim

At the Pierre Boulez Saal, our goal is to offer “music for the thinking ear”: audiences are invited to listen actively and to experience sound with all senses, letting emotions, thoughts, and visual as well as aural impressions come together to create a complex whole. In our mind, the “thinking ear” does not represent the abstract or cerebral, but rather a sort of sensuousness—not unlike “grasping” a particularly beautiful or unusual object. At the same time, this extraordinary concert hall provides a space for dialogue in which music can be shared on multiple levels. Many influences—cultural, artistic, humanistic, architectural, and historical—combine to create a place where people should be able to communicate, to listen, and to understand.


We want to bring you as close as possible to many different kinds of music in an intimate setting. At the Pierre Boulez Saal, the Classical and Romantic repertoire naturally coexists with classics of the 20th century and contemporary music, including a number of world premieres—an idea most significantly expressed in the concert programs of the Boulez Ensemble, which was founded by Daniel Barenboim. The hall also aims to be a home in Europe for music from the Arab and Persian world and a place for improvised music and jazz. Another focus is on lecture concerts, talks, and discussions. Wherever we may take you: a sense of curiosity and the joy of discovery will guide us.


Creativity and education meet at the Pierre Boulez Saal. This is a place where the ideal of the Barenboim-Said Akademie—education through music—becomes a reality. While providing a stage for academic events such as lectures or symposiums, the hall also serves as a performance space for the Akademie’s students and faculty. Young musicians find a place here in which to develop their skills through study and public performance, guided by experienced artists and mentors. In the spirit of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which was founded by Daniel Barenboim and the late Edward W. Said and whose members—like the Akademie students—primarily come from Israel, Palestine, and other countries of the Middle East and Northern Africa, the Barenboim-Said Akademie is a vibrant home for learning and a vital investment in the future of music and our global community.