Kristjan Järvi will conduct swan-inspired programme of music by Arvo Pärt, Sibelius and Tchaikovsky at concerts in Antwerp, Berlin and Gdańsk

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will return to the concert stage next month with their first major tour of 2022. Bringing its acclaimed ‘Nordic Swans’ programme to Belgium, Germany and Poland from 23–26 March, the orchestra will perform entirely memorised concerts in Antwerp, Berlin and Gdańsk. With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions the Baltic Sea Philharmonic is able to tour again as a full-size orchestra, with featured soloists drawn from the ensemble of 66 musicians. All three scheduled ‘Nordic Swans’ concerts will depend on the progress of the pandemic.

The tour opener at Antwerp’s Queen Elisabeth Hall on 23 March will be the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s debut concert in Belgium. After performing at the Berlin Philharmonie on 24 March, the orchestra will end the tour in Gdańsk on 26 March with a special ‘Freedom Concert’ at the European Solidarity Centre, to be given in collaboration with the German Consulate General in Gdańsk.

A spectacular concert experience

Internationally acclaimed for its signature memorised performances, the orchestra will play the entire 90-minute ‘Nordic Swans’ programme by heart and without an intermission, with most of the musicians standing up and able to move freely. Specially devised choreography and bespoke half-black and half-white concert outfits will conjure an impression of swans dancing and moving on dark water, and dynamic lighting design will add to the evocative atmosphere. All these elements aim to inspire in audiences a deeper and more immediate understanding of the music. They also reflect the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s innovative and experimental approach and its desire to add an extra dimension to every performance.

Celebrating a cherished symbol of Nordic culture

The orchestra’s tour programme is inspired by one of nature’s noblest creatures – the swan. Often visible on the Baltic coast, especially at sunset, this majestic bird holds a special place in Nordic culture. Kristjan Järvi says: ‘Swans are creatures of great purity and beauty, and all the Nordic countries have them in their culture, which is why we’re focusing the repertoire in this way.’

The programme opens with Arvo Pärt’s hymn-like and contemplative Swansong, and continues with the most well-known of Sibelius’s Four Legends from the Kalevala, The Swan of Tuonela. A special reworking by Kristjan Järvi of Tchaikovsky’s ballet Swan Lake brings the programme to a climax. Explaining his aim was to ‘highlight the brilliance of Tchaikovsky’s epic work’ and also ‘keep the music alive for younger generations’, Järvi arranged the score as a Dramatic Symphony that combines the composer’s famous melodies with more rarely heard sections of the original ballet.

Future tours in 2022 to include Germany and Switzerland
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will next be touring in the second half of 2022, with a return to Peenemünde for the Usedom Music Festival in September, and a tour of Switzerland in December. The orchestra’s concert programmes in the second half of the year will feature a new inspired arrangement by Kristjan Järvi of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet The Nutcracker. This will be the third Tchaikovsky masterpiece that Järvi has transformed into a Dramatic Symphony, after Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty.

For more information about the March 2022 ‘Nordic Swans’ concert schedule, and for ticket links, see here