In a spectacular start to the new year, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi wrote pop history at the Elbphilharmonie on 4 January in a special collaboration with indie band Bastille. The orchestra and the British group teamed up to headline Channel Aid’s latest ‘Live in Concert’ event, which was livestreamed on YouTube. Channel Aid, the world’s first YouTube charity channel, is an initiative of the Hamburg-based FABS Foundation, which provides access to sports and dance activities for children and the disabled. The Saturday night concert was a sell-out, with 2,100 music fans packing the Elbphilharmonie. More than 10,000 viewers followed the livestream, with every view resulting in a donation to FABS Foundation social projects. Single videos from the show will be released on the Channel Aid YouTube channel at a later date.
The concert with Bastille represented a new artistic adventure for the boundary-breaking Baltic Sea Philharmonic, as it was the orchestra’s first collaboration with a major pop band. Sharing the stage with the Grammy-nominated, platinum-selling British group, the orchestra and Kristjan Järvi performed specially orchestrated Bastille songs in signature Baltic Sea Philharmonic style, with a gospel choir adding an extra dimension to the sound. Ahead of the concert, the orchestra’s 52 musicians had rehearsed for two days in Hamburg together with the band. In an interview with German newswire dpa (Deutsche Presse-Agentur) on the day of the show, Bastille frontman Dan Smith said his most important new year’s resolution was ‘not to screw up this gig’, adding that it was a great privilege to be playing in the Elphilharmonie with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic.
The performance garnered wildly enthusiastic reactions on social media from concert goers and those watching the YouTube livestream. Comments on Facebook included: ‘This was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Being in this hall with so many incredibly talented musicians was like a wave of joy washing over me.’ One Facebook user wrote: ‘Absolutely loved this. Such a pleasure to see the orchestra enjoying performing, and the conductor was fabulous.’ The reorchestrations proved a hit with Bastille fans, one of whom posted on Facebook: ‘We need an album of the orchestrated songs please!’
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will next be back at the Elbphilharmonie on 5 September 2020 as part of their ‘Nordic Pulse’ concert tour of Germany and Italy in the autumn. Tickets for the concert, which features Kristjan’s innovative recasting of Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Sleeping Beauty as a dramatic symphony, will go on sale from 1 April.