The Baltic Sea Philharmonic brings together leading orchestral musicians from the ten countries of the Baltic Sea region – Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden. Under the leadership of Founding Conductor and Music Director Kristjan Järvi, the ensemble performs wide-ranging repertoire from across the region, both classical masterpieces and special commissions from emerging composers, in celebration of the region’s cultural diversity. It upholds the principle that music can unite people of all nationalities and backgrounds and change society for the better, especially in a region that has historically been divided. Its 2016 tours include ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ in April and ‘Baltic Sea Discovery’ in September, the latter with Gidon Kremer and members of Kremerata Baltica.
The orchestra was born out of the Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic (BYP), which was formed in 2008, when Festival Director Thomas Hummel brought together founding partners Nord Stream AG and Usedom Music Festival. Since then, BYP’s reputation and ambitions have grown steadily and it has toured the famous concert halls and festivals of Europe.
Baltic Sea Philharmonic has been launched in 2016 to increase the breadth and depth of the Baltic Sea Music Education Foundation’s offering. The orchestra is formed from current BYP players and former members from across the region. The two ensembles share the same aspirations towards culture, society and the environment, but while BYP remains a high-level orchestra training musical and social skills in talented young performers and composers, Baltic Sea Philharmonic becomes the primary public-facing part of the foundation, coming together several times a year to tour specific projects across Europe, and eventually the world.
For its inaugural tour in April 2016, ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’, Baltic Sea Philharmonic toured Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Russia. Repertoire reflected the organisation’s championing of the environment – the sea, the nature and the landscapes – including Jean Sibelius’s Karelia Suite, Arvo Pärt’s Swansong, Stravinsky’s Firebird, and Gediminas Gelgotas’s Mountains. Waters. (Freedom), as well as works by Prokofiev, whose 125th anniversary the orchestra celebrated on 23 April with a concert in Moscow.
In September 2016 the ensemble tours the ‘Baltic Sea Discovery’ programme across Central Europe. Repertoire takes the theme of the swan, with works by Pärt (Swansong) and Tchaikovsky (Swan Lake). Gidon Kremer and his Kremerata Baltica join Baltic Sea Philharmonic, with its players embedded in the orchestra for the whole tour, and Kremer performing Weinberg’s Violin Concerto.