Category : Allgemein

BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC RELEASES NEW ‘MUSICAL CHAIN’ VIDEO ‒ ‘ASCENDING SWANS’

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi today release the third video in their innovative digital project ‘Musical Chain’. The new video, Ascending Swans, follows the release of ‘Midnight Mood’, based on Grieg’s ‘Morning Mood’ from Peer Gynt, and ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’, inspired by Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. ‘Ascending Swans’ was written and produced by Kristjan Järvi, and is based on the ‘Song of Praise’ from Sibelius’s Swanwhite Suite, one of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s favourite encore pieces. The fourth and final ‘Musical Chain’ video of 2020 will be based on Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. A seasonal gift from Kristjan Järvi and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, the video is set for release on 11 December.

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic recorded the music for ‘Ascending Swans’ in Merano, Italy, in September 2020, during its ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour of Italy and Germany. Kristjan Järvi remixed the audio and a professional production team edited the video, which features 13 Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians who recorded themselves outdoors. These videos are interlaced with stunning images that celebrate the nature and landscape of the North. Calming and uplifting, elemental and spiritual, ‘Ascending Swans’ reflects the grace, purity and strength of the eponymous birds, many thousands of which migrate south from the Arctic in October and November. ‘Ascending Swans’ is available to watch from today on the orchestra’s social media channels.

‘Musical Chain’ – connections and creativity in challenging times

A symbol of unity and solidarity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and inspired by the human chains formed by people across the three Baltic States in August 1989, ‘Musical Chain’ brings together musicians from across Europe in a new kind of virtual orchestra collaboration. Launched in July 2020, ‘Musical Chain’ reflects the orchestra’s boundary-breaking spirit and its dedication to communicating through digital media the energy, style and freedom of its live performances. Kristjan Järvi says: ‘The pandemic put us into a situation where we’ve had to come out of our normal groove and comfort zone, our usual structures, methods and routines. Physically we can’t produce the same energy in the same room, but we’re creating a new way to convey our energy and spirit to people around the world who are inspired by what we do and the way we make music.’

Find out more about ‘Musical Chain’ in our storyboard.

Watch ‘Ascending Swans’ now on YouTube

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC MOVES PLAYER RECRUITMENT ONLINE WITH LAUNCH OF DIGITAL TALENT TOUR 2020

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic today launches its Digital Talent Tour 2020, a new programme of virtual auditions in response to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Digital Talent Tour is open to applicants aged 18 to 28 who are from, or studying in, one of the ten countries around the Baltic Sea – Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden. The orchestra is seeking musicians who share some of the same qualities and spirit that make the Baltic Sea Philharmonic unique in the orchestral world: a fearlessness, a willingness to push boundaries and embrace new levels of freedom and ways of performing, and a passion for storytelling in their music making and in their communication with audiences and their fellow musicians.

The Digital Talent Tour will have two audition rounds – a video audition round and a live digital audition in front of Founding Conductor and Music Director Kristjan Järvi and a panel of principal players from the orchestra. Applications open today and close on 30 November. The live digital auditions will take place in the week of 18 January 2021. Successful applicants will have the chance to join the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s pool of musicians for upcoming international tours and exciting opportunities on stage, in the studio and online. Full details and regulations for the Digital Talent Tour 2020 are available on the orchestra’s website, www.bmef.eu/digitaltalenttour2020.

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic constantly strives to refresh and expand its pool of outstanding musicians, and was set to run its Talent Tour 2020 audition programme alongside its planned ‘Midnight Sun’ tour of Poland, Germany and Russia in June and July 2020. When that tour was postponed to March 2021 because of the pandemic, far from standing still, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic immediately started to develop innovative digital projects and solutions. The Digital Talent Tour follows the success of digital projects such as ‘Musical Chain’, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi’s ongoing series of cutting-edge classical music remix videos, which launched in July.

A new kind of virtual audition from the Baltic Sea Philharmonic
The Digital Talent Tour will combine video and online technology with an in-person audition. After submitting a short video audition to be assessed by the Baltic Sea Philharmonic principals and Kristjan Järvi, successful applicants will be invited to a live video audition consisting of an interview and a performance of an excerpt from the orchestra’s past and future repertoire. Candidates will be expected to perform this excerpt from memory, as playing by heart has become a trademark of Baltic Sea Philharmonic concerts, and is just one of the many ways in which the orchestra is shaking up the classical music world.

Principal violist Marzena Malinowska from Poland explains the philosophy behind the Digital Talent Tour 2020 auditions: ‘We are trying to get players out of their comfort zone – not in search of failure or perfection, but to see who they really are as people. We let them show and share their passion, and then we ask them to do things they might have thought they couldn’t do, to show that crossing mental boundaries is fun. Maybe our approach on the Digital Talent Tour 2020 will make a little change in the musicians’ world, a world in which we all deal with self-doubt and self-judgement. Because there is no right and wrong in music – only fun and freedom.’

Empowering musicians on every level
With the Digital Talent Tour, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic is giving musicians from all across the Baltic Sea region a chance to showcase their musical talent and artistic personality at a time when performance opportunities have been drastically reduced because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In common with the orchestra’s other digital initiatives of recent months, the Digital Talent Tour aims to connect, unite and empower musicians in the face of a challenging landscape for the performing arts.

The audition process not only allows candidates to discover new possibilities in their playing and tap into different aspects of their identity as performers. It also empowers the Baltic Sea Philharmonic principals on the audition panel. These experienced members can continue to develop their leadership and mentoring skills, and, by helping to assess and interview their peers, play a key role in shaping and developing the unique personality of the orchestra as a whole.

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SONY CLASSICAL TO RELEASE NEW BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC ALBUM SLEEPING BEAUTY ON 13 NOVEMBER 2020

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s latest album Sleeping Beauty will be released on 13 November. The new Sony Classical recording sees Kristjan Järvi conducting the orchestra in his own arrangement of Tchaikovksy’s fairytale ballet Sleeping Beauty. Condensing and transforming the near three-hour score into a dramatic symphony of around 70 minutes, Järvi gives new life to this most iconic of theatre music compositions. The musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic performed this version of Sleeping Beauty entirely from memory during their March 2019 ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Russia, and the album was recorded in St. Petersburg at the end of the tour. Playing the score by heart transformed the musicians into storytellers who felt like they were telling the fairytale for the first time.

As well as releasing the complete album on 13 November, Sony will release three singles showcasing celebrated moments and characters from the ballet – ‘Pas d’action: Desiré sees Aurora’ (9 October), ‘Garland Waltz’ (23 October), and ‘The Blue Bird and Princess Florine’ (9 November).

From ballet to dramatic symphony

The new album follows in the spirit of Järvi’s previous Tchaikovsky releases on Sony – The Snow Maiden and Swan Lake – in reshaping sublime fairytale pieces for contemporary audiences. Järvi believes that masterworks such as Sleeping Beauty have lost some of their appeal in the theatre world with the evolution of technology. ‘Great music will always remain great music,’ he says, ‘but it constantly needs to be updated and modernised, not only interpreted. Making a dramatic symphony from a ballet is a step in this direction of constant reinvention.’

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic is the perfect partner for Järvi’s enterprising reinvention of Tchaikovsky’s music. The ensemble is constantly renewing the musical heritage of the Nordic lands around the Baltic Sea, and furthermore is reimagining what an orchestra can be in today’s society. Challenging classical music conventions, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic creates unique concert experiences that fuse sound, light, visual art and technology, and performs entire programmes from memory, with the musicians able to stand, move and interact more freely with each other, the conductor and the audience.

Storytelling and the art of memorisation

The musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic were no strangers to memorising complex scores when they started working on Järvi’s version of Sleeping Beauty ahead of the ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour in early 2019. However, for many of the players, this was the longest piece of music they had ever memorised. Adding to the challenge posed by the music’s duration, some of the many sections in Järvi’s adaptation were unlabelled in the score, offering the players no mental connection with characters or moments from the ballet. However, Polish principal violist Marzena Malinowska came up with a solution that helped both her and other musicians in the orchestra memorise the complete score. ‘I knew I needed to make more connections and signposts in the score to be able to memorise the music,’ she says. ‘So I added titles for the untitled sections, sourcing them from the original fairytale but mostly from the ballet itself. Adding in the names of dances, or of the other fairytale characters from Act III, helped complete the picture in my mind, and gave me a route to follow.’

Memorising the score and playing it by heart turned the musicians into storytellers who felt like they were telling this famous fairytale for the first time. ‘Performing from memory changed our relationship with Tchaikovsky’s music,’ says Malinowska. ‘When you’re playing ballets and operas in an orchestra you’re usually hidden in the pit, and the stars of the show are the dancers or singers, who are responsible for telling the story and making it strong. We knew it was our responsibility to be the storytellers. In that moment you feel incredibly connected to each other on stage, and to the audience. And you feel creative: you don’t feel that you’re recreating something that has been done hundreds of times already.’

A burgeoning Sony Classical discography

Sleeping Beauty joins the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s growing discography on Sony Classical. The orchestra and Järvi’s first recording for the label, released in September 2016, was The Ring: An Orchestral Adventure, an arrangement for orchestra of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. In May of this year Sony Classical released an album of Stravinsky and Glass violin concertos featuring the young Swiss violinist David Nebel in his debut concerto recording, with Järvi conducting the Baltic Sea Philharmonic in Stravinsky’s neoclassical Violin Concerto in D major and the London Symphony Orchestra in Glass’s Violin Concerto No. 1. Gramophone praised Nebel’s interpretation of the Stravinsky and the energetic playing of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, with the magazine’s reviewer concluding: ‘This is a tremendously impressive debut album, and the Stravinsky performance is among the very best.’    

Listen to the first single ‘Pas d’Action: Desiré sees Aurora’ here.

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC AND KRISTJAN JÄRVI RELEASE NEW ‘MUSICAL CHAIN’ VIDEO – ‘BEETHOVEN’S TWILIGHT’

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi have released ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’, the second video in their innovative digital project ‘Musical Chain’. The new video is part of the orchestra’s ‘Rewritten Series’ of music videos featuring striking transformations of iconic classical pieces, and follows the release on 23 July of ‘Midnight Mood’, based on Grieg’s ‘Morning Mood’ from Peer Gynt.

A cutting-edge, electronics-infused take on Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’ features 21 musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic. The players made recordings at home under the creative direction of Kristjan Järvi, who then mixed the tracks and produced the final audio. The video is unlike any other orchestral production: the musicians filmed themselves performing outside in atmospheric landscapes, and these scenes are intercut with emotive scenes of love, loss, pain and peace, along with elemental images of nature, cities and space. A professional production team edited the film, creating a dynamic and captivating video that reinvents the 1980s MTV aesthetic for the YouTube generation. ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’ is available to watch from today on the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s social media channels.

‘Musical Chain’ – connections and creativity in challenging times
A symbol of unity and solidarity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and inspired by the human chains formed by people across the three Baltic States in August 1989, ‘Musical Chain’ brings together musicians from across Europe in a new kind of virtual orchestra collaboration. Launched in July, when the Baltic Sea Philharmonic would have been touring Poland, Germany and Russia were it not for the pandemic, ‘Musical Chain’ reflects the orchestra’s boundary-breaking spirit and its dedication to communicating through digital media the energy, style and freedom of its live performances.

‘Rewritten Series’ – musical gems recut for the 21st century
The ‘Rewritten Series’ will involve at least 60 Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians in total by the end of this year. The first video, the Grieg-inspired ‘Midnight Mood’, featured 13 musicians. Since its release on 23 July, ‘Midnight Mood’ has had over 30,000 views on Facebook and more than 20,000 views on YouTube. ‘Midnight Mood’ was also performed live with a full orchestra on the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour of Italy and Germany earlier this month. In addition, the video of ‘Midnight Mood’ accompanied the orchestra’s performance on the opening day of the 27th Usedom Music Festival on 19 September, when Kristjan Järvi and an ensemble of 14 musicians, who were replacing Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek at short notice, showcased their own unique take on jazz. The Ostsee-Zeitung praised the performance as ‘art at the highest level, enchanting and accurate to the point’.

Music by Beethoven was also part of the orchestra’s recent concert programmes, and for Kristjan Järvi, the opportunity to celebrate in live performance and with ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’ this year’s 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth could not be more important given the global challenges today. He says: ‘In our orchestra we have chosen to come together from many different Baltic Sea countries, overlooking all of our histories and differences and embracing our unity at a time when the world seems to be lacking in humanity. We are trying to escape and come together in something that is truly a vehicle of togetherness and love. We are celebrating Beethoven’s legacy this year, and he was somebody who stood for all these same things over 200 years ago.’

The next video in the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Rewritten Series’ will be Kristjan Järvi’s take on Sibelius’s ‘Song of Praise’ from Swanwhite, a piece that has become one of the orchestra’s favourite encores. This video is set for release in November.

Watch ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’ now on YouTube

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC AND KRISTJAN JÄRVI TO OPEN USEDOM MUSIC FESTIVAL ON 19 SEPTEMBER, REPLACING JAN GARBAREK

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will open the 27th edition of the Usedom Music Festival on Saturday 19 September. Replacing at short notice the planned opening concert by Norwegian jazz saxophonist Jan Garbarek, a Baltic Sea Philharmonic ensemble of 13 musicians will give two performances (at 3pm and 8pm) at the UBB Lokhalle in Heringsdorf. The concerts will have smaller audiences, social distancing and other safety measures in place to comply with COVID-19 regulations.

The theme of this year’s Usedom Music Festival is Norway, but some Norwegian artists are unable to travel to the festival because of pandemic restrictions. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic will reflect the Norway theme in its ‘Nordic Escapes’ programme with music by Grieg and Jan Garbarek. The ensemble’s evening concert on 19 September is already sold out, but some tickets are still available for the afternoon concert.

Nordic heritage and innovation     

For its Usedom concerts, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic ensemble will perform an eclectic programme in the orchestra’s unique, boundary-pushing style, and with its own take on jazz. Composers past and present from around the Baltic Sea region will be represented, from Beethoven and Tchaikovsky to Gediminas Gelgotas and Kristjan Järvi. Audiences will experience the complete programme as an unbroken flow of music, with pieces intertwined.

With the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s characteristic flair for innovation, the performance will include electronics-infused remixes in the shape of Kristjan Järvi’s Nebula, remixed by German producer and composer Robot Koch, and Midnight Mood, a reimagining of Grieg’s ‘Morning Mood’ from his Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, mixed and produced by Kristjan Järvi. The latter piece will be accompanied by an original video production by the Baltic Sea Philharmonic from its ‘Musical Chain’ series. In a special addition to the programme, New York-based musician and composer Gene Pritsker has arranged Jan Garbarek’s Brother Wind March for the Baltic Sea Philharmonic ensemble, with clarinet and flute taking the original piece’s saxophone solos.

Innovation continues online with ‘Musical Chain’ videos

During an unprecedented break from live performance in the past months, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi have been producing innovative online music experiences. ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’, the next release in the orchestra’s ‘Musical Chain’ series of cutting-edge remix videos, will be available on the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s social media channels from 24 September.

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC RETURNS TO STAGE WITH SUCCESSFUL ‘NORDIC PULSE’ TOUR, SENDING A STRONG MESSAGE OF UNITY

After an unprecedented break from live performance because of the COVID-19 crisis, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi have returned to the stage with three hugely successful concerts in Italy and Germany. The orchestra’s ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour, curtailed from a planned total of six concerts because of the pandemic, went ahead with performances at the Merano Music Festival on 10 September and the Usedom Music Festival on 12 September. With social distancing regulations in place, around 500 concert-goers attended the sold-out performance in Merano, and around 400 attended each of two sold-out concerts in Peenemünde, Usedom. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic safely followed all relevant COVID-19 protocols, and toured as a smaller-sized ensemble of 39 musicians.

Return to favourite festivals
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s concert at the Merano Music Festival was its fourth acclaimed performance there in as many years. In Peenemünde, where the Baltic Sea Philharmonic has performed every year since 2008, the orchestra gave two concerts in the same evening. The later event was a special concert of the Usedom Music Festival to mark the 30th anniversary of German reunification, and was attended by the Prime Minister of Mecklenburg Western Pomerania, Manuela Schwesig. This concert, and the performance in Merano, were both recorded for future radio broadcast. Deutschlandfunk Kultur will broadcast the Peenemünde concert on 20 October at 8pm.

‘Nordic Pulse’ – an innovative celebration of the North
The ‘Nordic Pulse’ programme took the audiences on an exciting musical journey through the Baltic Sea region. Composers from countries all around the Baltic Sea were represented, including Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Stenhammar, Nielsen, Gediminas Gelgotas and Kristjan Järvi. The musicians performed the entire 70-minute-plus programme from memory, and as a single unbroken stream of music, with individual pieces intertwined. A tailor-made projection underlined the ‘Nordic Pulse’ theme in the Usedom concerts. Members of the ensemble took the soloist roles in several pieces, including violist Maximilian Procop in ‘Midnight Snow’ from Järvi’s White Dragon and clarinettist Alexey Mikhaylenko and bassoonist Arseniy Shkaptsov in Gelgotas’s To the Skies.

For Järvi, ‘Nordic Pulse’ sends a message of unity at a time when countries should be working together to tackle global problems, from COVID-19 to climate change. Speaking ahead of the concerts in Peenemünde, he said: ‘The programme is reflecting why we are actually doing what we are doing in this orchestra. And that is not only to play music, but that we have chosen to come together from our different countries, overlooking all of our histories and differences, and embrace our unity at a time when the world seems to be lacking in humanity.’

Acclaim from critics and concert-goers
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Nordic Pulse’ performances were warmly received by audiences and critics alike. After attending a full dress rehearsal in the German spa town of Bad Schussenried, where the orchestra gathered to prepare for the tour, the reviewer for the Schwäbische Zeitung wrote: ‘A shimmering, sensuous and extremely sensual hour with this sparkling ensemble was poignant proof of the boundlessness of music.’ The Ostsee-Zeitung critic wrote of the Usedom concerts: ‘The irrepressible joy of playing was transformed into a breathtaking sonic experience.’ Also attending the concerts in Peenemünde was Cornelia Pieper, the German consul general in Gdańsk, Poland. She commented afterwards: ‘It is simply incredible what these young musicians are achieving.’

Online innovation continues with ‘Musical Chain’ videos
With many of their planned concerts unfortunately postponed or cancelled in the last six months, Järvi and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic have been busy producing innovative online music experiences. The next release in the orchestra’s ‘Musical Chain’ series of remix videos is ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’, with music written and produced by Järvi, based on Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. The video will be available on the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s social media channels later this month.

Check out photos from our ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour on Facebook and Instagram

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC REUNITES FOR ‘NORDIC PULSE’ TOUR OF ITALY AND GERMANY

After many months of not being able to come together and play, musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic are once again rehearsing for a new tour. Around 40 musicians have gathered in Bad Schussenried, a spa town in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, to rehearse the programme for their ‘Nordic Pulse’ concerts with Kristjan Järvi at the Merano Music Festival on 10 September and the Usedom Music Festival on 12 September.

COVID-19 restrictions mean that the orchestra will be touring as a smaller ensemble, and also that some of the planned ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour concerts have had to be postponed to 2021. But the palpable excitement of the musicians in Bad Schussenried at being able to play live together again after so long guarantees that the concerts, which are already sold out, will create the same thrill and joy that the Baltic Sea Philharmonic brings to all its performances.

The ‘Nordic Pulse’ programme will be an innovative celebration of the North, with works by composers from all the Baltic Sea countries, including Beethoven from Germany, Nielsen from Denmark, and Górecki from Poland. In trademark Baltic Sea Philharmonic style, the musicians will perform the entire programme from memory, and, in another characteristic innovation, players from the orchestra will be featured soloists. Shining a spotlight on the ensemble’s soloistic talent reflects Kristjan Järvi’s conviction that the Baltic Sea Philharmonic has truly become an ensemble of soloists. In its necessarily more compact form for the ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour, with nearly all the players standing and free to move and interact without the limitations of stands and sheet music, the orchestra will certainly look and feel like an ensemble of soloists.

In a further showcase of the musicians’ individual talents, principal violist Marzena Malinowska from Poland has been mentoring other players in memorising the music for the ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour. She has previously helped the orchestra to memorise complex scores, and her idea of adding titles for untitled music sections in Kristjan Järvi’s version of Tchaikovsky’s fairytale ballet The Sleeping Beauty helped players memorise this demanding 70-minute dramatic symphony, the orchestra’s new recording of which comes out on Sony Classical next month. For the ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour, Malinowska produced a video guide for the musicians, explaining tried-and-tested memorisation strategies. Acting as a memorisation mentor is just one of the ways that experienced players such as Malinowska, a member of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic since 2012, are helping newer members of the ensemble. As new members learn new skills and have their minds opened to the rewards of performing orchestral works from memory, so the principals develop their leadership and mentoring experience, renewing and evolving the orchestra at the same time.
Follow the ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour on our Facebook page

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KRISTJAN JÄRVI RELEASES NORDIC ESCAPES ALBUM FEATURING BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC

Kristjan Järvi’s new album Nordic Escapes is out on 7 August 2020 and features the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Swiss violinist David Nebel on the track Aurora. The new recording is being released on Modern Recordings, the BMG label devoted to neo-classical, jazz and electronic music. Nordic Escapes is Järvi’s first complete album of self-composed music, uniting his talents as composer, conductor and producer.

Journey into the north
Inspired by the sounds, people and landscapes of the north, Järvi takes the listener on a captivating musical journey, merging electronic textures and orchestral soundscapes. It’s a journey that, on a personal level, illuminates the Estonian-born Järvi’s reconnection with his Nordic homeland after many years of living in the US, and on an elemental level explores and celebrates the power and beauty of nature. ‘One of the problems we have today is that people feel disconnected from nature and from each other,’ he says. ‘I think we need to feel ourselves again as part of nature and as part of the big picture. Nordic Escapes connects the listener to music and nature.’

Aurora evokes both the Northern Lights (the aurora borealis) and the short, colourful Nordic summers. Diatonic sequences, dancing rhythms and flowing, repeating patterns combine in an uplifting work that’s full of light, warmth and vitality. The track was recorded in St. Petersburg in March 2019 during the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Russia. Aurora is now a signature piece of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, and the orchestra has performed it on numerous recent tours. Aurora will form part of the upcoming ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour of Italy and Germany in September.

David Nebel is also the soloist on another track from the new album, Nebula, in which Järvi conducts the London Symphony Orchestra. Five of the album’s tracks feature Kristjan Järvi’s Nordic Pulse Ensemble, which includes musicians from the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, including, for example, violinist Mari-Liis Urb and bassoonist Jakob Peäske, both from Estonia. The album closes with a remix of Nebula by Los Angeles-based German producer/composer Robot Koch.

Orchestra and conductor reunited
Järvi’s atmospheric melding of electronics and orchestral music can also be experienced in the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s new music video ‘Midnight Mood’, a reimagining of Grieg’s ‘Morning Mood’ from Peer Gynt. The first in the orchestra’s series of remix videos for its new online project ‘Musical Chain’, ‘Midnight Mood’ is available to watch now on the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s YouTube channel and Facebook page. 

Music videos for the Nordic Escapes album are available on Kristjan Järvi’s YouTube channel from 7 August 2020

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC LAUNCHES ONLINE INITIATIVE ‘MUSICAL CHAIN’ WITH UNIQUE SERIES OF REMIX VIDEOS

Project opens with ‘Rewritten Series’ featuring transformations of iconic pieces by Grieg, Beethoven and Sibelius

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi are launching a unique online music project called ‘Musical Chain’ on 23 July. A symbol of unity and solidarity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, ‘Musical Chain’ brings together musicians from across Europe in a new kind of virtual orchestra collaboration. The project begins with the ‘Rewritten Series’ – four strikingly original music videos featuring transformations and remixes of iconic classical pieces. The first of these, ‘Midnight Mood’, based on ‘Morning Mood’ from Grieg’s Peer Gynt, is available to watch from 23 July on the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s social media channels. Further videos in the series, including music from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, and Sibelius’s ‘Song of Praise’ from the Swanwhite Suite, will be released over the coming weeks.

Amid an unprecedented situation of lockdowns and concert cancellations, ‘Musical Chain’ is a powerful way of strengthening solidarity and community, both among the musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic itself and among music lovers throughout Europe. The project is inspired by historic human chains, such as the Baltic Way, which was a peaceful political demonstration on 23 August 1989 when around two million people joined hands to form a human chain stretching more than 600km across the three Baltic states of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.

Were it not for the COVID-19 pandemic, the orchestra and Kristjan Järvi would have been on their ‘Midnight Sun’ tour of Poland, Germany and Russia at the beginning of July. With the tour postponed to March 2021, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic has transferred its activity online and, in keeping with its boundary-breaking spirit, is exploring new ways of communicating through digital media the energy, style and freedom of its live performances. Already the orchestra has created one of the most ambitious virtual orchestra videos of its kind, with a 20-minute recording of music from Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7, featuring 108 musicians in 18 countries, which premiered on 8 May. Now, with ‘Musical Chain’, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic is developing its own unique way of coming together to create new music from classic compositions. Kristjan Järvi says: ‘The pandemic has put us into a situation where we have to come out of our normal groove and comfort zone, our usual structures, methods and routines. We have to create a completely new reason for being, and ask ourselves why we do what we do. Physically we can’t produce the same energy in the same room, but we’re creating a new way to convey our energy and spirit to people around the world who are inspired by what we do and the way we make music.’

The ‘Rewritten Series’ will involve at least 60 Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians in total. The first video, ‘Midnight Mood’, features 13 musicians. For each video, the musicians will make recordings at home based on themes and musical ideas from the original piece, and then the audio tracks will be combined and remixed by Kristjan Järvi, in his role as producer of the ‘Musical Chain’ project. The resulting recordings will be released as videos on Youtube and eventually as audio tracks on Spotify.

The pieces in the ‘Rewritten Series’ each have a special resonance for the Baltic Sea Philharmonic. Sibelius’s ‘Song of Praise’ is one of the orchestra’s signature encores, and Beethoven, whose 250th anniversary is being celebrated this year, also features regularly on the orchestra’s programmes. Music from Grieg’s Peer Gynt is part of the programme for the orchestra’s ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour, which is scheduled to go ahead this September with concerts in Germany and Italy, and the ‘Midnight Sun’ tour in March 2021. Following the release of ‘Midnight Mood’, the remaining instalments of the ‘Rewritten Series’ will go live over the coming weeks, taking the orchestra and Kristjan Järvi up to the moment when they plan to be back together on stage again, performing ‘Nordic Pulse’ at the Merano Music Festival on 10 September and the Usedom Music Festival on 12 September.

On the occasion of the German EU Council Presidency, ‘Musical Chain – Unifying Europe Through Music’ is supported by Germany’s Minister of State for Culture and the Media.

Watch the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Midnight Mood’ video from 23 July on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC PLANS RETURN TO LIVE PERFORMANCE IN SEPTEMBER WITH MODIFIED ‘NORDIC PULSE’ TOUR OF ITALY AND GERMANY

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi are set to return to the concert stage in September with performances in Italy and Germany. The orchestra’s ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour – an innovative celebration of the North, with music performed completely by heart – was originally scheduled to include concerts at the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, the Bonn Beethovenfest and the Merano Music Festival, in Peenemünde at the Usedom Music Festival, and in Stockholm. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Beethovenfest has been cancelled, and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s concerts in Hamburg and Stockholm have been postponed until March 2021. The ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour performances in Merano on 10 September and Peenemünde on 12 September will, however, go ahead, depending on the progress of the pandemic and also on travel regulations and local authority requirements. ‘Nordic Pulse’ – an exhilarating Baltic adventure

The COVID-19 situation means that the Baltic Sea Philharmonic will be touring as a smaller ensemble of around 40 musicians. The ‘Nordic Pulse’ programme of musical riches will take audiences on a journey of discovery across the Baltic Sea region. Russian composer Tchaikovsky features on the programme, as well as Sibelius from Finland and Grieg from Norway. The orchestra showcases music from young contemporary composers such as Gediminas Gelgotas from Lithuania and Sven Helbig and Robot Koch from Germany, as well as music by Kristjan Järvi representing Estonia. ‘Nordic Pulse’ also includes Beethoven in his 250th anniversary year, with his Symphony No. 5. Although the ensemble will be, out of necessity, more compact than usual, audiences can expect to feel the same thrill and joy that the Baltic Sea Philharmonic brings to all its performances. The ‘Nordic Pulse’ concert that was due to take place at the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg on 5 September has been postponed to 14 March 2021, when it will form part of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Midnight Sun’ tour of Poland and Germany. All tickets that have been purchased for the concert on 5 September remain valid for the new date next March.

Creating unique online orchestral experiences During the unprecedented break from live performance, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic has been busy producing innovative online music experiences. It created one of the most ambitious virtual orchestra videos of its kind, with a 20-minute recording of music from Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7, featuring 108 musicians in 18 countries, which premiered on 8 May. By mid-July the orchestra will launch a unique collaborative online project called ‘Musical Chain’, beginning with a series of remix videos that transform classical music gems for the 21st century. The first of these videos, ‘Midnight Mood’, which is based on ‘Morning Mood’ from Grieg’s Peer Gynt, will be available to watch shortly on the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s social media channels. For the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s full concert schedule, see here. The Shostakovich virtual orchestra video is available to watch on YouTube

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