Fall highlights

September and October at the Pierre Boulez Saal

Here are some of the highlights to launch the Pierre Boulez Saal’s fifth season—secure your tickets to September and October events now!

Edward W. Said Days 2021

Culture & Power

Edward W. Said Days

The Piano Series

Since Mozart’s time, there have been few major composers who didn’t play or write for the piano, and the instrument in its modern incarnation dominates many aspects of concert life. Over the course of the Pierre Boulez Saal’s 2021–22 season, a group of outstanding pianists performs some of the most celebrated masterpieces of the repertoire as well as contemporary and very recent works that suggest pathways from the past to the future.

The extraordinary duo of Martha Argerich and Daniel Barenboim opens the season as well as the piano series—the program is built around the world premiere of Philippe Manoury’s Das wohlpräparierte Klavier. The September and October lineup also includes Elisabeth Leonskaja, Yulianna Avdeeva, and Denis Kozhukhin.

Arab & Persian Music

From the beginning, it was part of Daniel Barenboim’s vision to make the Pierre Boulez Saal “a home for Arab and Persian music in Europe.” During the first weeks of the 2021-22 season, the Palestinian oud ensemble Le Trio Joubran makes its Pierre Boulez Saal debut performing a program that combines traditional maqamat, Spanish-Arabic music, and improvisation. Syrian singer and oud player Waed Bouhassoun, heard here in previous years, is joined by ney virtuoso Moslem Rahal. Composer Sohrab Pournazeri and singer Sahar Boroujerdi, who both hail from Iran, open a concert series that accompanies a new exhibition at the Museum für Islamische Kunst Berlin. In their Concert for Children and Adults, recorder virtuoso Stefan Temmingh and oud player Bakr Khleifi embark on a musical journey through different cultures by way of their folk songs.

Jazz & Improvised Music

One important rule in jazz and improvised music of many different traditions is that there are few strict rules. Each musical moment may be explored and re-explored—in an artistic dialogue that leads musicians from the unexpected to the unheard. This limitless combination of creative moments is once again a major focus at the Pierre Boulez Saal during the 2021–22 season.

The multitude of possibilities in this exchange of ideas is already apparent in the season’s first quarter: both clarinetist François Houle and the piano duo of Kris Davis and Craig Taborn will be heard not only in two different musical formations, they are also presenting programs in which music is reflected and enriched through other art forms.

The Quartet Series

Over the course of the 2021–22 season, a varied selection of string quartet repertoire will be heard in the elliptical space of the Pierre Boulez Saal, which is ideally suited to the blending of tradition and innovation, and, with its intimate atmosphere, brings listeners closer to the music than most other venues.

The Staatskapelle String Quartet performs the complete quartets of Arnold Schoenberg, while the Hagen Quartett explores the monumental cosmos of Dmitri Shostakovich’s 15 quartets. In their September and October concerts, both ensembles present the earlier works of these composers. In its Pierre Boulez Saal debut, the Marmen Quartet performs a program of music by Haydn, Mozart, Ligeti, and Salina Fisher.

Save the Date!

Schubert Week

January 24-30, 2022

In more than 600 songs, Franz Schubert explored virtually all shades of human emotion. His inexhaustible urge to experiment and the unique gift to capture “feelings in limited yet precisely defined contours,” as Franz Liszt said of his colleague, made the word “Lied” an untranslatable expression. As in previous years, an entire week in January—curated by baritone Thomas Hampson—is dedicated to the cosmos of Schubert (and selected works by his contemporaries), bringing together renowned as well as young artists in a series of concerts and workshops at the Pierre Boulez Saal.

Arabic Music Days

March 1-5, 2022

The 2021–22 Arabic Music Days once again bring together music, visual arts, poetry, and film. As in previous years, the program—now extended to five days—was curated by Iraqi oud master Naseer Shamma, who has been closely associated with the Pierre Boulez Saal since its inception. He is joined by his trio for a concert on March 4 to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the hall’s opening. Visual artist Nja Al Mahdawi will create live paintings during the performance. The week’s musical program features four more exceptional trios from countries of the Middle East and Northern Africa. The accompanying online program includes an exhibition of works by visual artists Jabar Alwan and Nja Al Mahdawi as well as the Oscar-nominated film The Man Who Sold His Skin by Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania. Omani poet Saif al-Rahbi will read a selection of his works.