Event Cancelled

Due to the current situation, all events at the Pierre Boulez Saal  through April 19, 2020 have been cancelled or postponed indefinitely. Any tickets already purchased may be returned.

Details on how to return tickets can be found here.

We are looking forward to welcoming you back to the hall soon.



Alex Ross


Mena Mark Hanna


Approximate running time: 1h 30m without intermission

In English with simultaneous German translation.

Alex Ross explores a fundamental ambiguity in Wagner’s legacy: on the one hand, his notorious role as a fount and figurehead of nationalist, racist, and patriarchal values; and, on the other, his strong hold on the imaginations of writer and thinkers from marginalized groups. Tracing the spread of Wagnerian antisemitism in the late 19th-century alongside countervailing trends of Wagnerian decadence and eroticism, Ross weaves together the various strains of the composer’s complex legacy vis-à-vis the subaltern, portraying a Wagnerism that is more than the sum of its parts. 


In English with simultaneous German translation. Headphones will be provided. A valid photo ID (or alternatively € 20) must be presented as a security deposit.

In addition to lectures and music, the exhibition Dry, featuring works by photographer Abdo Shanan, will be on view during the Edward W. Said Days 2020 in the foyer of the Barenboim-Said Akademie.


Alex Ross

Alex Ross has been the music critic of The New Yorker since 1996. His first book, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, a cultural history of music since 1900, won a National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His second book, the essay collection Listen to This, won an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award. Wagnerism: Art in the Shadow of Music, an account of the composer’s vast cultural impact, will be published in 2020 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the US and by Rowohlt in Germany. Alex Ross has received a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Belmont Prize, and an Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Reading Recommendations

Alex Ross, Toscanini, Trump, and Classical Music as a Tool of Power, The New Yorker, July 12, 2017

Alex Ross, When the Genius is also a symbol of hate, where does that leave us?, The Harvard Gazette, April 18, 2018

Alex Ross, The Rest is Noise (Blog)  

Alex Ross, The Rest is Noise (Book)

Alex Ross, Wagnerism: Art in the Shadow of Music (Forthcoming in 2020)