Baltic Sea Philharmonic launches anniversary season with concerts at Kissinger Sommer, Germany, in July 2018

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will begin a landmark anniversary season of international touring with three concerts at the Kissinger Sommer music festival in Bad Kissingen, Germany, in July 2018. On 7 July the orchestra will debut ‘Nordic Pulse’, a new programme of music by leading composers from the Baltic Sea region, both past and present. Then on 9 July the Baltic Sea Philharmonic will perform its unique ‘Waterworks’ programme, in a spectacular concert presentation featuring cutting-edge projection art, lighting and sound design. The orchestra will also present a special ‘Waterworks’ school concert on the morning of 9 July.

‘Nordic Pulse’ at Kissinger Sommer with world premiere of new Violin Concerto
‘Nordic Pulse’ is a double celebration for the Baltic Sea Philharmonic. It marks ten years since the orchestra’s creation and 100 years of independence for the Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, as well as Finland and Poland. Kristjan Järvi sees strong parallels between the declaration of independence by the Baltic States and the birth of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic. ‘These nations saw the opportunity to assert themselves a century ago,’ he says. ‘People came together to create a nation, a new identity. We created the Baltic Sea Philharmonic with the same spirit. By bringing together musicians from all around the Baltic Sea, the orchestra has always stood for unity.’

For its ‘Nordic Pulse’ concert at the Kissinger Sommer festival, the orchestra will perform music by Kristjan Järvi, the contemporary Lithuanian composer Gediminas Gelgotas, and Tchaikovsky. The concert opens with Järvi’s Aurora, a piece inspired by the iconic Northern Lights, and closes with his arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty concert suite. The centrepiece of the performance is the world premiere of Gelgotas’s Violin Concerto, featuring its dedicatee, Swiss violinist David Nebel, as soloist. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic previously premiered Gelgotas’s Never Ignore the Cosmic Ocean in 2012 and Mountains. Waters. (Freedom) in 2015, and the composer says that the orchestra and Järvi are ideal advocates for his symphonic music: ‘Their energy and strength, their freedom of phrasing the music, the fearlessness in the way they express themselves – these are qualities that I admire very much.’ For Nebel, the attraction of Gelgotas’s music lies in its power, physicality and emotional directness. ‘Gediminas plays with your emotions, and his music can transform your mood,’ he says. ‘With the Violin Concerto, the biggest challenge for the soloist is keeping the energy through the piece. It’s powerful, physical music, and you have to be strong to play it well.’

Revolutionary ‘Waterworks’ concert show returns
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic won acclaim in 2017 for its water-inspired concert presentation ‘Waterworks’, a bold new fusion of music, light, visual art and sound design in collaboration with Sunbeam Productions. The orchestra and Kristjan Järvi will bring ‘Waterworks’ to Bad Kissingen on 9 July, with a programme of original arrangements of Handel’s Water Music and a new orchestral version of Philip Glass’s Aguas da Amazonia, a piece inspired by the great Amazon river and its tributaries.

‘Waterworks’ school concert to inspire next generation
On the morning of 9 July in Bad Kissingen the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will perform a concert for schoolchildren featuring selections from the main ‘Waterworks’ concert programme. Since its formation in 2008 the orchestra has always maintained a strong commitment to education and training. Under the auspices of the Baltic Sea Music Education Foundation, the orchestra notably partnered with Danish Radio to give concerts for schoolchildren from rural areas of Denmark. From 2015 to 2017, as part of the groundbreaking ‘Into the Music’ programme, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic played to around 16,000 young people in Denmark.

Find out more and book tickets here

 

‘Nordic Pulse’ and ‘Waterworks’ concerts, July 2018
Saturday, 7 July 2018, 8.00 pm, Bad Kissingen (Kissinger Sommer), Germany

Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Kristjan Järvi
David Nebel

Programme ‘Nordic Pulse’
Kristjan Järvi: Aurora
Gediminas Gelgotas: Violin Concerto (world premiere)
Peter I. Tchaikovsky: Sleeping Beauty concert suite (arranged by Kristjan Järvi)

Monday, 9 July 2018, 11.00 am, Bad Kissingen (Kissinger Sommer), Germany (school concert)
Monday, 9 July 2018, 8.00 pm, Bad Kissingen (Kissinger Sommer), Germany

Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Kristjan Järvi

Programme ‘Waterworks’
Gene Pritsker/George Frideric Handel/Charles Coleman: Water Music
Philip Glass: Aguas da Amazonia (orchestrated by Charles Coleman)

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Baltic Sea Philharmonic marks major anniversaries in 2018 with action-packed year of international touring

The orchestra’s two tours in 2017, ‘Waterworks’ and ‘Baltic Folk’, were both groundbreaking in their presentation. With ‘Waterworks‘, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic debuted a bold new fusion of music, light, visual art, sound design and fashion in collaboration with Sunbeam Productions. Along with spectacular projections and dynamic lighting design, the innovative presentation extended to the musicians wearing bespoke outfits from Estonian fashion house Baltika Group. The musical programme, which featured original arrangements of Handel’s Water Music and a new orchestration of Philip Glass’s Aguas da Amazonia, thrilled audiences in Germany and Denmark in May and August; concerts in Hattingen, Berlin, Peenemünde and Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie were sold out, and 6,000 Danish children came to special ‘Waterworks’ school concerts in Copenhagen and Aarhus.

The orchestra’s ‘Baltic Folk’ tour of Sweden, Italy and Germany in August made history with the world’s first ever memorised performance of Stravinsky’s The Firebird. The musicians played the 1945 orchestral version of the iconic ballet score entirely by heart, drawing praise from both critics and audiences alike. The tour included a sold-out concert at the Merano Music Festival in Merano, Italy, and a performance at the Rheingau Music Festival in Wiesbaden, Germany, a live-stream of which was viewed by 15,000 people.

‘Nordic Pulse’ – a double celebration of landmark anniversaries in 2018
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s first major project of 2018 is ‘Nordic Pulse’. Inspired by the 100th anniversary of independence for the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, ‘Nordic Pulse’ also celebrates 100 years of independence for Finland and Poland and, furthermore, ten years since the birth of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic itself. The ensemble, under its Estonian conductor Kristjan Järvi, will perform music by Lithuanian composer Gediminas Gelgotas, Latvian composer Imants Kalniᶇš, Estonian composer Arvo Pärt and Polish composer Wojciech Kilar, as well as pieces by Sibelius and Järvi himself. Swiss violinist David Nebel will give the world premiere of Gelgotas’s new Violin Concerto in a concert in Germany in July. The European tour of ‘Nordic Pulse’ together with Norwegian violinist Mari Samuelsen in September will revisit the orchestra’s performance to play pieces entirely from memory. This year the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will perform Sibelius The Tempest and Kalniņš’ ‘Rock Symphoy’ by heart.

‘Waterworks’ to return in 2018
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will take their pioneering ‘Waterworks’ concert experience on the road again in 2018. After a concert in Germany in July, the orchestra will end the year with its first ever tour of the United Arab Emirates in November, giving performances of ‘Waterworks’ in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Joining the orchestra and Kristjan Järvi again for this ‘Waterworks’ tour will be Russian-born violinist Mikhail Simonyan, as featured soloist in Philip Glass’s Violin Concerto No. 2 ‘The American Four Seasons’, and members of the New York-based Absolute Ensemble.

Find out more about the 2018 tours in the concert calendar

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Auditions for Baltic Sea Philharmonic as part of Baltic Academies Orchestra – Application deadline 20 November 2017

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic is continuing its mission to develop young talent in the region by collaborating on the launch of an ensemble that brings together some of Europe’s top music students. The Baltic Academies Orchestra (BAO) will have its debut in February 2018 in Tartu, Estonia, with a week of rehearsals, masterclasses and workshops ahead of a tour of the Baltic States, Poland and Germany. Drawing on students from the national academies of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, together with students from, or studying, in the Baltic Sea countries, the BAO aims to bridge the gap between education and professional practice, giving high-level students new skills and experiences to help prepare them for their performing careers.

Through the BAO, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic will complement its Academy LAB, an intensive series of workshops and seminars for young orchestral players, which has run annually as part of the Baltic Sea Music Education Foundation’s teaching and development programme.

Auditions for Baltic Sea Philharmonic

All BAO participants will have the opportunity to audition for the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, and thus get the chance to take their orchestral experience to the next level. In addition, students who are unable to attend the BAO education week can separately audition for the Baltic Sea Philharmonic in Tartu on 7 and 8 February 2018. Online applications for the 2018 BAO programme are open until 20 November 2017 on www.balticacademies.eu/participate-2018.

Pathway to professionalism

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s Music Director, Kristjan Järvi, is a driving force behind the BAO, and will be a central figure in its activities – sharing conducting duties in rehearsals and on tour, and leading a conducting masterclass. As well as developing students’ musical skills, Kristjan takes a holistic approach to training young musicians, encouraging them to be entrepreneurial and open to new experiences, such as performing musical works from memory. He believes that a strong sense of national identity is an asset for musicians, and says it’s important for artists to be aware of their cultural heritage. ‘Professionalism starts with understanding who you are and where you are from,’ he says. ‘In this sense, promoting your national music, whether it’s Estonian, Latvian or Lithuanian music, becomes a way of developing and promoting yourself.’

Kristjan will be joined on the BAO’s launch programme by several of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s international team of coaches, among them bassoonist Martin Kuuskmann (Estonia), violinist Jan Bjøranger (Norway) and trumpeter Charlie Porter (United States). Estonian percussionist Heigo Rosin, a Baltic Sea Philharmonic alumnus, will also be part of the BAO coaching team. Learning from such experienced musicians will help equip BAO participants for future professional opportunities, and is the perfect preparation for training and performing with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic.

A shared Nordic vision

The Baltic Academies Orchestra is a partnership between the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Estonian music organisation GMF La Nota, with the backing of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music, and the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. As Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania prepare to celebrate the centenary of their independence in 2018, the BAO represents a striking new cultural collaboration, presenting the greatest Baltic music and the most talented young Baltic musicians to the world, and exemplifying the energy and outward-looking character of the region.

Together, the BAO and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic will form a dynamic hub of Nordic creativity, nurturing talented young performers on their journey from high-level students to professional musicians. The collaboration also aims to build networks between musicians and composers, audiences, educators, music therapists, producers and arts managers, with the BAO offering training opportunities to a wide range of emerging music professionals, in addition to its main focus on orchestral players.

For more information about the Baltic Academies Orchestra, and how to apply for the 2018 programme in Tartu, see www.balticacademies.eu/

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Baltic Sea Philharmonic successfully completes ‘Baltic Folk’ and ‘Waterworks’ tours in August

In one of the most intense and exciting fortnights in its history, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic completed not one, but two international tours in August. In the space of just eleven days, the orchestra performed for 11,000 people in seven cities.

The ‘Baltic Folk’ tour took the ensemble first to Visby, on the Swedish island of Gotland, where on 19 August Kristjan Järvi conducted the opening performance of a folk-inspired programme of music by Pärt, Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky. ‘Baltic Folk’ continued with sold-out concerts at the Rheingau Music Festival in Wiesbaden, Germany (20 August) and the Merano Music Festival in Merano, Italy (23 August).

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic then returned to Germany to resume its groundbreaking ‘Waterworks’ tour, which it had begun in May. A spectacular fusion of music, light, visual art, sound design and fashion, ‘Waterworks’, which featured original arrangements of Handel’s Water Music and a new orchestration of Philip Glass’s Aguas da Amazonia, thrilled audiences in the sold-out Berlin Konzerthaus (25 August), the sold-out Peenemünde Kraftwerk (26 August), an open-air concert in Lutherstadt Wittenberg (27 August) and the sold-out Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg (29 August).

Conquering the Elbphilharmonie with ‘Waterworks’
One of the high points of the ‘Waterworks’ tour came at the very end, when the orchestra gave a special performance for hundreds of people outside the Elbphilharmonie, who had been watching the main concert on a giant screen. The impromptu mini-concert was a huge hit with both the audience and the local media. The Hamburger Abendblatt reported: ‘What a special evening! As the musicians and Kristjan Järvi performed further encores for an enthusiastic audience in front of the Elbphilharmonie Hall, there was an almost Mediterranean atmosphere. When was this last seen in Hamburg?’

With its ‘Waterworks’ tour, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic introduced a radical new style of performance presentation, combining music with cutting-edge lighting design, projection art and sound design. A 14-strong team from Sunbeam Productions, including lighting designer Bertil Mark, projection artist Philipp Geist and sound designer Ruben Ferdinand, transformed the musical performance into a fully immersive concert experience. The musicians also sported an exciting new look for ‘Waterworks’, courtesy of a clothing collaboration with Estonian fashion house Baltika Group. Designers from Monton, one of Baltika’s five international brands, created 13 different outfits for the men, and nine different outfits for the women, all of which were styled to reflect the water theme of the concert programme.

World-premiere: Starvinsky’s The Firebird from memory
The major highlight of the ‘Baltic Folk’ tour was the orchestra’s performance, at all three concerts, of Stravinsky’s The Firebird, in its 1945 orchestral suite version. In a world first, the musicians played the score without sheet music, entirely from memory. Critics praised the orchestra’s thrilling interpretation. Writing in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Guido Holze said: ‘The interaction between the players worked out amazingly smoothly in the rhythmically difficult work. The Russian fairytale about the fight between good and evil was given a vivid, multi-faceted performance.’

For Kristjan Järvi, the effect of playing the Stravinsky from memory was both striking and liberating: ‘Not only is performing The Firebird this way creating history. It is also incredibly empowering. It has been a great achievement for all of the musicians, to break through their limitations, to cast aside their doubts and fears, and to immerse themselves in a realm of possibilities and freedom.

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic welcomed an impressive range of musical partners for its tours in August. Fifteen-year-old Russian pianist Alexander Malofeev, one of the most exciting talents of his generation, joined the orchestra on its ‘Baltic Folk’ tour to perform Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. For ‘Waterworks’, three members of the New York-based Absolute Ensemble – trumpeter Charlie Porter, bassist Mat Fieldes and percussionist David Rozenblatt – were embedded in the orchestra, and Russian-born violinist Mikhail Simonyan was the featured soloist in Philip Glass’s Violin Concerto No. 2 ‘The American Four Seasons’. And for the final ‘Waterworks’ concert, at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, the orchestra collaborated with the girls choir Mädchenchor Hamburg for a special encore performance of Arvo Pärt’s Kuus kuus kallike (Lullaby Song).

For photos and video highlights of the ‘Baltic Folk’ and ‘Waterworks’ tours, see the orchestra’s Facebook page. You can also watch a livestream of the Wiesbaden ‘Baltic Folk’ concert here, and a livestream by ARTE of the Berlin Konzerthaus ‘Waterworks’ concert here

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Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie to livestream Baltic Sea Philharmonic ‘Waterworks’ concert on 29 August

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s first ever concert at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg will be livestreamed on the venue’s website www.elbphilharmonie.de/de. The performance, at 8.00 pm CET on Tuesday 29 August, marks the end of the orchestra’s pioneering ‘Waterworks’ tour of Denmark and Germany with conductor Kristjan Järvi. The concert is already sold out, with an audience of 2,100 expected at the Elbphilharmonie, so the live stream will give even more people the opportunity to experience the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s bold new fusion of music, lighting, projection art, fashion and sound design. In addition, the performance will be broadcast live on a giant screen to spectators in the Plaza outside the Elbphilharmonie, and will be shown a further three times during the Hamburg Cruise Days festival from 8 to 10 September.

The ‘Waterworks’ programme includes one of the most famous of all water-themed pieces – Handel’s Water Music, in a special arrangement featuring variations by contemporary composers Charles Coleman and Gene Pritsker. The orchestra also celebrates the 80th birthday of American composer Philip Glass by performing his Aguas da Amazonia – in a new orchestration by Charles Coleman – and his Violin Concerto No. 2 ‘The American Four Seasons’, with Russian-born violinist Mikhail Simonyan as soloist. The concert at the Elbphilharmonie will include a special collaboration with the girls’ choir Mädchenchor Hamburg from Jugendmusikschule Hamburg, in which the 60-strong choir will perform an encore with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic.

‘Waterworks’ heralds an exciting new era for the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, with the introduction of an immersive concert show format. The orchestra has collaborated with lighting designer Bertil Mark, projection artist Philipp Geist, sound designer Chris Ekers and a team from Sunbeam Productions to transform the concert experience for audiences. The musicians also have a striking new look on stage, thanks to a clothing collaboration with Monton, a leading brand of Estonian fashion house Baltika Group.

You can also follow the livestream via the Facebook page of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic: www.facebook.com/BalticSeaPhilharmonic

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Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Waterworks’ concert in Berlin to be livestreamed

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Waterworks’ concert with Kristjan Järvi in Berlin this Friday, 25 August 2017, will be livestreamed by European cultural channel Arte. The performance at the city’s Konzerthaus, at 8.00 pm CET, is part of the Young Euro Classic festival, which Arte (Concert.arte.tv/young-euro-classic) is covering with live streams of seven concerts. Arte’s coverage is especially welcome given that the Berlin concert is sold out, with 1,600 people expected at the venue. Together with the live-stream audience, they will experience an innovative concert show that fuses music, lighting, projection art, fashion and sound design.

The Berlin concert is the first of four performances in Germany in the next days for the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, as it continues its pioneering ‘Waterworks’ tour. The ‘Waterworks’ adventure began in May with a series of enthusiastically received concerts in Hattingen, Germany, and Copenhagen and Aarhus in Denmark. After Berlin, the orchestra will next perform in Peenemünde, on the island of Usedom, on 26 August, then in Lutherstadt Wittenberg on 27 August, and finally at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie on 29 August.

You can also follow the livestream via the Facebook page of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic: www.facebook.com/BalticSeaPhilharmonic

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Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi resume pioneering ‘Waterworks’ tour in Germany

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi kick off the second half of their groundbreaking ‘Waterworks’ tour tomorrow with a performance at Berlin’s Konzerthaus as part of the Young Euro Classic festival. The orchestra debuted ‘Waterworks’ back in May, wowing audiences in Hattingen, Germany, and Aarhus and Copenhagen in Denmark with a pioneering fusion of music, lighting, sound design and projection art. Now ‘Waterworks’ returns to Germany for a series of four performances: after Berlin the orchestra will perform at the Usedom Music Festival in Peenemünde on 26 August, then in Lutherstadt Wittenberg on 27 August, and finally in Hamburg at the Elbphilharmonie on 29 August.

The concerts in Berlin and Hamburg will both be livestreamed. The performance in Berlin is one of seven concerts from this year’s Young Euro Classic festival being livestreamed by European culture channel Arte. Our concert at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie will be livestreamed on the Elbphilharmonie website, and will also be broadcast live on a giant screen to spectators in the Plaza outside the venue. The Elbphilharmonie performance will be shown again three times during the Hamburg Cruise Days event from 8 to 10 September.

The music of ‘Waterworks’ focuses on the life-giving power of water, reflecting the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s concern for the environment, and in particular the Baltic Sea itself. ‘This body of water is the engine of the region,’ says Kristjan Järvi, ‘the thing that gives us all our necessities of life. It’s why people settled around here, and it also connects with all the other water across the world.’ This sense of connection has always been central to the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s identity, he says. ‘Just as water is the binding force of humanity, our orchestra is a binding force for the whole Nordic region, from Norway all the way to Russia.’

The ‘Waterworks’ programme includes one of the most famous of all water-themed pieces – Handel’s Water Music, in a special arrangement featuring variations by contemporary composers Charles Coleman and Gene Pritsker. The orchestra also celebrates the 80th birthday of American composer Philip Glass by performing his Aguas da Amazonia – in a new orchestration by Charles Coleman – and his Violin Concerto No. 2 ‘The American Four Seasons’, with Russian-born violinist Mikhail Simonyan as soloist.

‘Waterworks’ heralds an exciting new era for the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, with the introduction of an immersive concert show format in cooperation with Sunbeam Productions that fuses music, lighting, projection art and sound design to stunning effect. The musicians also have a striking new look on stage, thanks to a clothing collaboration with Monton, a leading brand of Estonian fashion house Baltika Group.

The second half of the ‘Waterworks’ tour begins just a few days after the completion of the orchestra’s ‘Baltic Folk’ tour of Sweden, Germany and Italy. On this tour, its second of 2017, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic performed a folk-inspired programme of music by Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff and Arvo Pärt to 2,000 people, and made a daring shift from orchestral convention by playing Stravinsky’s The Firebird entirely from memory.

Download the ‘Waterworks ’ tour programme and book tickets for the remaining tour concerts here.

‘Waterworks’ Tour
Friday, 25 August 2017, 8.00 pm, Berlin (Konzerthaus, Young Euro Classic), Germany
Saturday, 26 August 2017, 8.00 pm, Peenemünde (Usedom Music Festival), Germany
Sunday, 27 August 2017, 7.00 pm, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Germany (open air)
Tuesday, 29 August 2017, 8.00 pm, Hamburg (Elbphilharmonie), Germany

Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Kristjan Järvi
Mikhail Simonyan

Gene Pritsker/ Georg Friedrich Handel/ Charles Coleman: Water Music
Philip Glass: Violin Concerto No. 2 The American Four Seasons
Philip Glass (arranged by Charles Coleman): Aguas da Amazonia (2016)

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Rheingau Music Festival to livestream Baltic Sea Philharmonic concert in Wiesbaden on 20 August

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s concert at the 30th Rheingau Music Festival in Germany is to be livestreamed by Medici TV, the world’s leading classical music channel, and on the festival’s website (www.rheingau-musik-festival.de). The broadcast of the concert, at 7.00 pm CET on Sunday 20 August in Wiesbaden’s Kursaal, will be the first ever live stream in the festival’s history. The performance marks a return visit for Kristjan Järvi and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, who first played at the festival in 2014. The concert in Wiesbaden will be the second of three concerts on the orchestra’s ‘Baltic Folk’ tour of Sweden, Germany and Italy this August.

Kristjan will conduct the orchestra in a folk-inspired programme of music from Estonia and Russia. The concert opens with the contemplative, hymn-like Swansong by Arvo Pärt, the celebrated Estonian composer whose music is both deeply spiritual and emotionally direct. Then we present two of the best-loved orchestral works of the early 20th century: Rachmaninoff’s achingly nostalgic Piano Concerto No. 2 and Stravinsky’s groundbreaking, folktale-inspired ballet The Firebird.

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic will perform The Firebird in its 1945 orchestral suite version, and will make a daring shift from convention by playing the work entirely from memory. Kristjan sees this approach as an evolution in how musicians express themselves as artists. ‘Performing The Firebird from memory is all about chemistry and communication,’ he says. ‘It should feel like the players are improvising music that they have known for a long time.’

Joining the orchestra to perform Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto will be the 15-year-old Russian pianist Alexander Malofeev, one of the most exciting talents of his generation. He says: ‘Rachmaninoff is one of my favourite composers and the Second Piano Concerto expresses his Russian soul. I’ve been dreaming about playing this music for a long time.’

You can also follow the livestream via the Facebook page of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic: www.facebook.com/BalticSeaPhilharmonic

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Baltic Sea Philharmonic launches ‘Baltic Folk’ tour of Sweden, Germany and Italy

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi have arrived in Visby, on the picturesque Swedish island of Gotland, for the first stop on their new ‘Baltic Folk’ tour. Following six days of intensive rehearsals, the orchestra will take to the stage of the Wisby Strand Concert Hall on Saturday 19 August to perform a folk-inspired programme of music by Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff and Arvo Pärt. The musicians will then travel to Wiesbaden in Germany for a concert the next day as part of the Rheingau Music Festival. The tour concludes on 23 August in Merano, northern Italy, where the orchestra has the honour of opening the Merano Music Festival.

Both festival appearances will be return visits for the Baltic Sea Philharmonic. The orchestra last played at the Merano Music Festival in 2011, and the Rheingau Music Festival is welcoming us back in its 30th anniversary year, after our previous appearance in 2014. The orchestra’s concert in Wiesbaden this month will be the first ever livestreamed event in the history of this prestigious festival to be broadcasted on the festival’s website.

Visby is a special place for the orchestra, and is in many ways the perfect location for the start of our new tour. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic has always been concerned for the environment, and on Gotland, with its picturesque beaches, lakes and rocky outcrops, it’s impossible not to feel deeply connected to nature. One of the best-preserved medieval cities in northern Europe, Visby is also where the idea for the Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic was born ten years ago in a concert of a project orchestra called the Baltic Youth Orchestra.

‘Baltic Folk’ is the orchestra’s second tour of 2017, after its ‘Waterworks’ tour of Germany and Denmark, which began on 5 May and will conclude this August with a series of concerts in Berlin, Peenemünde, Lutherstadt Wittenberg and Hamburg. For ‘Waterworks’, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic pioneered an immersive concert show format fusing music, lighting, sound design and projection art. With ‘Baltic Folk’ the orchestra will again enter uncharted territory by performing Stravinsky’s The Firebird – in its 1945 orchestral suite version – entirely from memory. For Kristjan, this approach opens up a new world of expression for the musicians. ‘Performing The Firebird from memory is all about chemistry and communication,’ he says. ‘It should feel like the players are improvising music that they have known for a long time.’

Alongside Stravinsky’s groundbreaking ballet music, the ‘Baltic Folk’ programme will feature Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, a work that Kristjan calls ‘the most nostalgic, the most Russian-themed concerto ever’. As soloist, we welcome our youngest ever collaborator, the 15-year-old Russian pianist Alexander Malofeev, one of the outstanding talents of his generation.

Preceding the two much-loved Russian works by Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky will be a contemporary piece by the celebrated Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. His contemplative, hymn-like Swansong, which was premiered in 2014, is an orchestration of an earlier choral composition, ‘Littlemore Tractus’.

Download the full ‘Baltic Folk tour programme here.


Baltic Folk Tour 2017
Saturday, 19 August 2017, 7.00 pm
Visby (Congress Hall Wisby Strand, Island of Gotland), Sweden

Sunday, 20 August, 7.00 pm
Rheingau Music Festival, Wiesbaden (Kursaal), Germany

Wednesday, 23 August, 8.30 pm
Merano Music Festival, Merano (Kursaal), Italy

Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Kristjan Järvi
Alexander Malofeev

Arvo Pärt: Swansong (Littlemore Tractus) for orchestra
Sergei Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2
Igor Stravinsky: The Firebird (1945)

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Baltic Sea Philharmonic gets set for ‘Baltic Folk’ tour of Sweden, Germany and Italy

In just over a month’s time, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will be touring Sweden, Germany and Italy with a new, folk-inspired programme of music from Estonia and Russia. ‘Baltic Folk’, the orchestra’s second tour of 2017, begins on 19 August in Visby, on the Swedish island of Gotland. The orchestra then performs at the Rheingau Music Festival in Wiesbaden, Germany, on 20 August, before concluding the tour on 23 August with a performance at the Merano Music Festival in Merano, northern Italy.

The music of ‘Baltic Folk’ has a strong Russian focus. In Stravinsky’s folktale-inspired The Firebird and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, we present two of the best-loved orchestral works of the early 20th century, both of which reveal their Russian essence in contrasting ways. In his groundbreaking ballet Stravinsky dazzles us with brilliant colours, the vitality of Russian folk music, and the magic of the mythical Firebird. And in one of the most romantic piano concertos ever written, Rachmaninoff bares his soul in dramatic music rich in Slavic melancholy.

The ‘Baltic Folk’ programme begins, however, in the altogether different sound world of Arvo Pärt, the celebrated Estonian composer whose music is both deeply spiritual and emotionally direct. His contemplative, hymn-like Swansong is an orchestration of an earlier choral composition, ‘Littlemore Tractus’, in which Pärt set words from a sermon that the influential theologian John Henry Newman preached in 1843 in the English village of Littlemore.

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic will perform The Firebird in its 1945 orchestral suite version, and will make a daring shift from convention by playing the work entirely from memory. Kristjan sees this approach as an evolution in how musicians express themselves as artists. ‘Performing The Firebird from memory is all about chemistry and communication,’ he says. ‘It should feel like the players are improvising music that they have known for a long time.’

Joining the orchestra to perform Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto, a work that Kristjan calls ‘the most nostalgic, the most Russian-themed concerto ever’, will be the 15-year-old Russian pianist Alexander Malofeev, one of the most exciting talents of his generation. Kristjan says of his new collaborator: ‘Alexander is already a rising star in Russia and has been acclaimed by some of the country’s greatest musicians. I am pleased that we can introduce him to a wider international audience.’

We are delighted to be making return visits to both the Rheingau and Merano festivals, which welcome us back after previous appearances in 2014 (in Wiesbaden) and 2011 (in Merano). And Visby is a special place for us, not just because the island of Gotland is such a beautiful natural environment but also because Visby is where the original idea for the Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic was born ten years ago, in a concert of a project orchestra called the Baltic Youth Orchestra.

Find out more about ‘Baltic Folk’ and book tickets here.

Baltic Folk Tour 2017
Saturday, 19 August 2017, 7.00 pm
Visby (Congress Hall Wisby Strand, Island of Gotland), Sweden

Sunday, 20 August, 7.00 pm
Rheingau Music Festival, Wiesbaden (Kursaal), Germany

Wednesday, 23 August, 8.30 pm
Merano Music Festival, Merano (Kursaal), Italy

 

Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Kristjan Järvi
Alexander Malofeev

Arvo Pärt: Swansong (Littlemore Tractus) for orchestra
Sergei Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2
Igor Stravinsky: The Firebird (1945)

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