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/