Built thanks to Daniel Barenboim's initiative, the Pierre Boulez Saal offers its audiences an intimate auditory experience.
The concert hall was designed upon the initiative of Daniel Barenboim, General Music Director of the Berlin State Opera, and in collaboration with the American architect Frank Gehry. The hall’s acoustics concept is the work of Japanese acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota. The building’s original façade, designed by Richard Paulick in the 1950s, was preserved as a listed building. The location formerly housed the State Opera’s backdrops warehouse.
French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez – the concert hall’s eponym
The French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez (1925 to 2016), a friend of Barenboim’s for many years and the namesake of the concert hall, viewed music’s essential function as the forging of a connection between musicians and listeners. One of the hall’s core elements is thus the closeness of the audience to the musicians – not seated on a raised dais, the musicians face the audience directly at eye level. To Boulez, music was a means of direct communication which demanded careful, attentive listening.
The concert hall, panelled in lightly coloured cedar, has a flexible design offering variable setups: The audience’s seating and the stage can be moved to form different layouts. Examples include an arena layout or a classic concert hall with the audience facing the stage at the front. Stalls and galleries together form the visual of two interlocking ellipses.
The Pierre Boulez Saal is also the venue for concerts played by the Barenboim-Said Academy. Since October 2016, young musicians from conflict zones in the Middle East have found a place to study music here. The orchestra was founded in 1999 by Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said. The orchestra’s name was inspired by Goethe’s collection of poems “West–Eastern Divan”, itself inspired by Middle Eastern poetry. The Barenboim-Said Academy’s building was designed by the architects HG Merz and rw+.
The Pierre Boulez Saal brings studies and practical experience together. Students are given the opportunity to advance their knowledge and skills through learning and giving concerts, under the tutelage of professionals.
Since March 2017, the hall has regularly hosted concerts and chamber music performances. The programme features contemporary works and the Classical and Romantic repertoire. The hall is also used for lectures and conferences.
Pierre Boulez Ensemble
At the same time as concert hosting began, a new ensemble was founded. The Boulez Ensemble comprises musicians from the Staatskapelle Berlin and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.
Locations in the immediate vicinity:
- the State Opera
- the Konzerthaus Berlin concert hall
- the Komische Oper Berlin opera company
- the Französischer Dom cathedral
- the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music
Parking near the concert hall:
Use the theatre rates in the Q-Park underground car park on Unter den Linden/Staatsoper
Entry: Behrenstraße 37/Bebelplatz, 10117 Berlin
463 spaces, 200 metres to the Pierre Boulez Saal
When parking from 6pm to 11.59 pm, the parking fee is max. €6.
To benefit from this rate, press the “Theatertarif” button on payment machine before paying.
Disabled parking is located on the Hinter der Katholischen Kirche street.
Getting there on public transport:
S-Bahn/U-Bahn: take the S-Bahn to the Friedrichstraße station or the U-Bahn to Französische Straße. From there, it’s a 6-minute walk.
Bus: bus line 100 to the Staatsoper stop, then a 4-minute walk to the Pierre Boulez Saal.
All visitors enter through the main doors. There is also wheelchair access there.