ARABIC MUSIC DAYSMusic, Visual Arts, Poetry, and Film
Art can lend a deeper meaning to all our lives, but is also an essential means of communication and international exchange—this is the basic idea of the Arabic Music Days, which present music, poetry, visual arts, and film in an interplay of analog and digital offerings. While the possibilities for cultural journeys of discovery have been limited in recent times, the digital avenues of communication serve the curiosity and joy for the new that we experienced in years past. Wherever you are in the world, we invite you to explore the online program of this year’s Arabic Music Days, and we hope you will join us again with as much enthusiasm as you did in previous seasons.
The program also includes a range of digital content, such as an exhibition of works by visual artist Nja Mahdaoui (Tunisia), readings by poets Basim Alansar (Iraq) and Gayath Al Madhoun (Palestine), and the Oscar-nominated film The Man Who Sold His Skin by Tunisian filmmaker Kaouther Ben Hania. The digital program will be available from September 7, 2022.
Quite a few years have passed since I first walked into the auditorium of the Pierre Boulez Saal, while it was still under construction. I was immediately in awe of the architecture and of the idea behind the hall’s elliptical shape, as Ole Bækhøj, its director, was enthusiastically explaining it to me. The floor area was covered in nails, and we were wearing special shoes and protective gear. Even so, in that moment my mind drifted away and I began to imagine myself center stage with my oud. The stacks of building materials that surrounded us became lifelike and delicate. Not much later I was indeed sitting on that stage, surrounded by an audience that seemed to exude the same kind of warmth as the hall itself. I wondered then whether it was the listeners’ souls that were affected by the space or vice versa. My relationship with this hall began before the building was finished, and for me it has always constituted a particularly beautiful and warm space. This does not extend just to the hall itself, its curved shapes, its comfortable chairs, its warm wood colors, but also to the people who work here. I feel a gentle spirit whenever I am in this room. I have had many musical and personal experiences in the hall since that first day, and the audience has always made me feel very much at home—almost as if they were guests in my own home. I think it is this idea that the Pierre Boulez Saal was built on.
With the Arabic Music Days, we have presented a number of programming ideas over the years. I wanted to give Berlin audiences, who have a great interest in culture, the opportunity to learn about different aspects of Arabic music, artistically and culturally. This festival is an expression of my belief that art cannot be divided. Music is poetry and poetry is music, painting consists of colors and shapes, just as music does. Film represents life itself, as does music.
Under the banner of the Arabic Music Days, these arts all come together to create a wonderful melody. While these last few years have gone by quickly, my memories of the moments that have been shared on this stage continue to expand. We have always striven to present distinctive programs and aspects of Arabic culture, and these past examples keep inspiring creativity and beauty. Five years have passed since that first concert I played here. I am grateful to the Pierre Boulez Saal audience for embracing me and our festival, and I embrace each and every audience member. Artists draw inspiration from the spirit of those around them. We must never forget that all art is always an exchange—it cannot be isolated, and it only comes to life when there is a public to receive it.
A Dedicated Space for Musical CuriosityDiscover the New Online Space of the Pierre Boulez Saal