Berlin/Helsinki, 20 April 2016:
Baltic Sea Philharmonic inaugural ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ tour supported by Ministers of the Environment from Finland, Estonia and Russia

  • Concert in Helsinki attended by Finnish Minister Kimmo Tiilikainen and Estonian Minister Marko Pomerants
  • Programme of ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ champions the environment
  • Joint patronage from Ministers of the Environment from Finland, Estonia and Russia 
  • Money raised for John Nurminen Foundation’s ‘Clean Baltic Sea’ project

Berlin/Helsinki, 20 April 2016. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic is on the last leg of its inaugural ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ tour, having performed last night in Helsinki in the presence of Kimmo Tiilikainen, Minister of Agriculture and the Environment of Finland, and Marko Pomerants, Minister of the Environment of Estonia. Together with Sergey Donskoy, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation, they are joint patrons of the entire concert tour. The concert in Helsinki was a highlight of the ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ tour, which is dedicated to the environment, and raised money for the John Nurminen Foundation’s ‘Clean Baltic Sea’ projects. According to Juha Nurminen, Chairman of the Board of the John Nurminen Foundation the event was ‘a great testimony what great inspiration and power music can carry forward. In this concert, with Kristjan Järvi as the captain of the fantastic Baltic Sea Philharmonic, we were happy to witness a great turnout of new audiences and new generations. For us, the Clean Baltic Sea concert was also an opportunity to thank the young Finns, who through their own active participation have participated in a number of Baltic Sea initiatives.’

Kristjan Järvi, Founding Conductor and Music Director of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic said: ‘We are glad that we can contribute to the foundation’s amazing projects through our concert. In a way, the Baltic Sea has given the Baltic Sea Philharmonic life. It is our backyard. Therefore, we have the responsibility to take care of it, and one way for us to do this is to draw attention to the incredible culture, as well as to its vulnerable environment. That the environmental ministers from Finland and Estonia attended yesterday’s concert in Helsinki and that they gave their patronage to our ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ tour shows that we are more than just an orchestra.’

Kimma Tiilikainen stressed the importance of international cultural projects in fostering a common concern for protecting the environment, and praised the Baltic Sea Philharmonic for its commitment: ‘None of us can save the Baltic Sea alone. International cooperation is a key element in cleaning the sea. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all the musicians. They have an important message tonight: the Baltic Sea can still be saved and we don’t have a moment to lose. I wish the Baltic Sea Philharmonic the greatest success on its tour around the Baltic Sea.’

Commitment to the environment recognised
One demonstration of the orchestra’s commitment to the environment is in the repertoire chosen for the ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ tour by Kristjan Järvi. The works celebrate nature and wildlife, including Jean Sibelius’s Karelia Suite, Arvo Pärt’s Swansong, Stravinsky’s Firebird and Gediminas Gelgotas’s Mountains. Waters. (Freedom). Kristjan Järvi said: ‘It’s music that makes you feel the Northern Lights, the ice, the cold wind, the forests, the incredible feeling when you jump into the lakes. The whole mentality and way of being of the region is formed by nature, which is why you have these great composers.’

Tour climaxes in St. Petersburg
The final two stops of the tour are in Russia: in St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Concert Hall on 21 April, at the invitation of Valery Gergiev, and in Moscow on 23 April, which marks the 125th anniversary of Russian composer Prokofiev. To celebrate the event, a leading Prokofiev proponent, Georgian pianist Alexander Toradze, performs the composer’s Third Piano Concerto. Previous concerts in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have been received enthusiastically: the first evening of the tour, in Klaipeda Concert Hall as well as the concert at Estonia’s Concert Hall in Tallinn, both sold out, and the orchestra was asked back for four encores, ending with the audience dancing and clapping along.

Birth of a new orchestra
Baltic Sea Philharmonic, making its first appearances on the ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ tour, was born out of the Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic (BYP), which was founded in 2008 by the Usedom Music Festival and Nord Stream AG. Since then, BYP has toured the famous concert halls and festivals of Europe, won international acclaim for its performances and its recent CD, ‘Baltic Sea Voyage’, and been awarded the 2015 European Culture Prize. In 2013 the Baltic Sea Music Education Foundation (BMEF) was created to develop a consolidated music educational system for the region and this led, in 2015, to the formation of Baltic Sea Philharmonic, made up of current BYP players and selected alumni from across the region, as a touring orchestra to complement the educational work of BYP.

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