In Berlin, architect Frank Gehry’s Pierre Boulez Hall “opened Saturday night with a concert of chamber music and art song by Boulez, Schubert, Mozart, Alban Berg and Jörg Widmann that stretched more than three hours,” writes Christopher Hawthorne in Sunday’s (3/5) Los Angeles Times. “The 682-seat hall is tucked into one corner of a four-story building from 1955 that was designed … to store sets for the Berlin State Opera, where [Daniel] Barenboim is music director. The building … is now the headquarters for the Barenboim-Said Academy, a conservatory that includes young Israeli and Arab musicians…. On one side [of the building] are offices and rehearsal spaces for the academy. On the other is … Pierre Boulez Saal…. Working with acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota … [Gehry] produced a clubby jewel box of a design that is also a sophisticated machine for delivering sound…. The most striking and unusual feature of the hall is its sunken stage … a clearing, nine feet below entry level and surrounded by an oval-shaped arrangement of five rows of seats. A balcony with two rows … forms another oval above. It’s a remarkably intimate space for music. Every seat is within 50 feet of the stage.”

Posted March 8, 2017