Conductor Daniel Barenboim has announced plans to open a permanent music academy in Berlin for Middle Eastern musicians.
The new school will be the home for the Barenboim-Said Academy, which was launched this summer (July 2012) but which hasn’t had a permanent base until now.
Opening in 2015, the music centre will be based in a former warehouse belonging to the Staatsoper Unter den Linden – where Barenboim is music director – and will cost €28.5m (£23m) to construct.
The German government has already agreed to fund €20m of the project, leaving €8m to be provided by private donors.
In the new centre, up to 60 young students from Arab and Israeli communities will be taught subjects including music and philosophy, with music taught by players from the Berlin Staatskapelle. There will also be a music nursery for pre-school children as part of the centre.
Architect Frank Gehry, who designed the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and acoustics expert Yasuhisa Toyota will create an 800-seat concert hall in the centre. Both Gehry and Toyota have agreed to work for free on the project.
The centre will be named after the scholar Edward Said (1935-2003), with whom Barenboim set up the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in 1993. The orchestra is made up of musicians from Israel, Palestine and other Middle Eastern countries and Barenboim hopes the new academy will continue the ensemble’s work.