The Sound of Utopia

From the Divan to the Akademie

From the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra to the Barenboim-Said Akademie

The Sound of Utopia

From the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra to the Barenboim-Said Akademie. A new book describes how the sound of utopia, which Daniel Barenboim and Edward W. Said heard from afar, has been realized in their joint projects through pictures, short texts, and quotations of musicians.

Daniel Barenboim and the literary theorist Edward W. Said († 2003) founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in Weimar in 1999. In this extraordinary ensemble, young musicians from Israel and the Arab world make music together on a world-class level. The Orchestra has become a living symbol for the possibility of peace and understanding—“a little Utopia in a world of harsh reality,” as the Financial Times wrote.

In 2016, the Barenboim-Said Akademie opened its doors in Berlin. Here, the Orchestra’s humanistic spirit is passed on to young scholarship students from the Middle East. The Akademie’s mission is to help its students become “thinking musicians.” An integral part of the Akademie is the Pierre Boulez Saal, designed by American star architect Frank Gehry, which allows a broader public to share in Daniel Barenboim’s ideal of education through music.

The book has been published by Henschel Verlag and is now available in well-stocked bookstores. 224 pages, €29,95

The Exhibition

The book "The Sound of Utopia" is based on an exhibition of the same name on display in the foyer of the Barenboim-Said Akademie.

The exhibition chronologically traces the journey from the first workshops of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra to the founding of the Barenboim-Said Akademie. At the same time, the exhibition leads the visitor through the floors and spaces of the building's large foyer, which connects the Akademie with the spectacular Frank Gehry-designed Pierre Boulez Saal.

  • Address: Französische Strasse 33d, 10117 Berlin
  • Opening Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Admission is free and open to the public