Daniel Barenboim-Edward Said Music Academy to Celebrate New Center

Berlin music academy envisioned by Israeli conductor and late Palestinian scholar will be housed in Frank Gehry-designed stage depot.

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Classical musician Daniel Barenboim conducting musicians from some of Europe's top orchestras, during a concert in the Gaza Strip, on May 3, 2011.
Classical musician Daniel Barenboim conducting musicians from some of Europe's top orchestras, during a concert in the Gaza Strip, on May 3, 2011.Credit: Reuters

Conductor Daniel Barenboim's music academy in Berlin for young people from the Middle East is scheduled to celebrate its conclusion of building works at a ceremony on June 15, a statement from the academy's foundation said on Wednesday.

The Barenboim-Said Academy is to be housed in the former stage depot of Berlin's famous opera house, the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, and has been designed by Frank Gehry, who "has donated his work as a contribution to the project," the foundation said.

Due to open in the autumn of 2016, the academy houses rehearsal rooms over a floor area of 6,500 square metres and a 622-seater concert hall.

"Up to 90 young students from the Middle East will be enrolled in a four-year bachelor degree programme in music, with a curriculum rooted in both music and the humanities. Daniel Barenboim will be in charge of the academic and musical direction of the academy," the Barenboim-Said Foundation says on its website.

In 1999, Barenboim and the U.S.-Palestinian literary scholar Edward W Said, who died in 2003, founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in the German city of Weimar to incorporate musicians from Arab nations and Israel.

The German government has contributed 20 million euros (22.2 million dollars) to the 33.7-million-euro construction costs for the academy. The remaining funds have come from donors, including Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.

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