Berlin, 3 October 2015:
Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi pick up European Culture Prize at star-studded gala in Dresden

· Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi awarded prestigious European Culture Prize 2015
· Awards gala on 2 October celebrated 25th anniversary of German reunification
· BYP performed and accompanied Angela Gheorghiu and Jonas Kaufmann

Berlin, 3 October 2015. The Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic (BYP) proudly collected the European Culture Prize last night at a gala event marking the 25th anniversary of German reunification.

The prize was presented at a star-studded concert in Dresden’s Frauenkirche, itself a symbol of peace and reconciliation. The orchestra performed the Prelude from Charpentier’s Te Deum, also known as the Eurovision anthem and Beethoven’s ‘Prometheus’ Overture, and accompanied Angela Gheorgiu, Jonas Kaufmann, Maximilian Hornung, Daniel Hope, Ben Lepetit, Simone Kermes and Samuel Kummer in works by Catalani, Puccini, Haydn, Rózsa, Vivaldi and Bach, under the baton of Kristjan Järvi, the orchestra’s Founding Conductor and Music Director. The award was given to the Executive Director of the Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic, Thomas Hummel, Kristjan Järvi and Dirk von Ameln, the Chairman of the Board of the Baltic Sea Music Education Foundation by the former German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, who was deeply involved in the unification of the two Germanies 25 years ago and the European integration.

Hans-Dietrich Genscher said: “When we founded the ‘Council of the Baltic Sea States’ shortly after the Berlin wall came down, we said: We have to send a clear signal. We need a new Baltic Sea, another common ground particularly a new genuine common ground. No one could have imagined what it would bring to us: The awareness of the power arising out of a common culture. Today, we are essentially witnessing a young orchestra with the message to be an ambassador of a new age! This has a lot to do with its conductor, Kristjan Järvi – one of the most powerful around the world“

The evening concluded with a rousing performance of Beethoven’s Ode ‘An die Freude’, which has become an anthem for Europe.

‘An example to others’

The orchestra follows in the footsteps of Kurt Masur, Daniel Barenboim, Plácido Domingo, Thomas Quasthoff and the Berlin Philharmonic, who have all been awarded the European Culture Prize by the European Culture Foundation ‘Pro Europe’. The foundation promotes dialogue between European states and regions and makes regular awards to artists it deems as working effectively towards this goal. The 2015 jury awarded Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic in acknowledgement of the enormous impact the orchestra has made on the culture of the region since its inception in 2008. In particular, the jury cited BYP’s ‘passionate and thrilling performances as an example to others to inspire worldwide audiences and foster cultural understanding in Europe and beyond’. Tilo Braune, President of the European Culture Foundation ‘Pro Europe’, said: ‘The European Cultural Awards honour outstanding achievements and special contributions in and for Europe. I can’t imagine anything better to celebrate 25 years of the reunification of Germany than an orchestra of young, talented musicians from the countries surrounding the Baltic Sea coming together to create the sound of a united Baltic Sea region.’

Kristjan Järvi said of the award: ‘The European Culture Award means a lot to us. It confirms that Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic meets the spirit of the times. 25 years after the German reunification and European integration, we need more initiatives like our orchestra, to touch the hearts and minds of people around the world. We are bringing a historically divided region like the Baltic Sea closer together, with passion and emotion. Our orchestra demonstrates impressively how much positive energy cooperation between young people liberates, and we hope to be an example and inspiration to others.’

Unique voice from the North

Founded in 2008 by the Usedom Music Festival and Nord Stream AG, the Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic features musicians aged 18-28 from, or studying in, the ten countries bordering the Baltic Sea. Retaining national specialities but opening up to international perspective, the musicians share their influence, knowledge and perspective to create a unique voice for the region. More than a youth orchestra, it is a project for cultural and social integration and cooperation to create unity in a historically-divided region. In 2015, BYP is supported by Nord Stream AG, operator of the natural gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea, as co-initiator and main sponsor as well as Saipem, one of the global leaders in the engineering & construction and drilling businesses, as sponsor.

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