This article deals with questions of the sociopolitical involvement of classical music performance spaces. During the last twenty years of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the Gewandhaus in Leipzig provided opportunities for its users to emancipate themselves from Socialist Unity Party oppression. Through its architecture, music, and visual art, the Gewandhaus symbolized an agonistic space that aided in disrupting its sociopolitical surroundings, because it made visible what real-existing socialism was lacking: unity, openness, transparency, and internationality. Examining how the Gewandhaus interacted with its sociopolitical surroundings sheds light on its ability to engage with public discourse within the restricted society of the GDR.

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