The Boulez Ensemble

Curiosity and Dialogue

© Philippe Gontier


To create an ensemble that would present chamber music at the highest level, without a permanent lineup of musicians, across genres and epochs, and driven by artistic curiosity—that was the aim when Daniel Barenboim founded the Boulez Ensemble for the opening of the Pierre Boulez Saal in March 2017. Since then, the performances of the ensemble—which consists of musicians from the Staatskapelle Berlin and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, faculty and students of the Barenboim-Said Akademie, and international guest artists—have taken their place not only in the program of the Pierre Boulez Saal, but in the musical life of Berlin. From thebeginning, one central idea has been the guiding force: each concert combines pieces from the Classical and Romantic repertoire with landmark 20th-century works and contemporary music, and solo or duo compositions are juxtaposed with larger ensemble pieces. The result is an inspired and inspiring combination that reveals surprising connections and pays homage to Pierre Boulez: he continued to search for new sounds and new thoughts throughout his creative life, never losing his curiosity for those things that hadn’t yet been said.

The stylistic spectrum so far has ranged from Mozart and Schubert to Eisler and Schoenberg, to Reimann and, of course, Boulez. In the 2018–19 season, other pieces will be added to the mosaic, including new works by Matthias Pintscher, Kareem Roustom, and Jörg Widmann. “One should essentially see concerts as a means of communication, as a living contact between active participants, be they listeners or artists,” Pierre Boulez said. This dialogue continues in the hall that bears his name