Category : Allgemein

The German Consulate General in Gdańsk, the City of Gdańsk and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic champion unity and solidarity with Ukraine

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi close out their ‘Nordic Swans’ tour of Belgium (Antwerp, 23 March), Germany (Berlin, 24 March) and Poland with a special Freedom and Solidarity Concert at the European Solidarity Centre in Gdańsk on 26 March. The concert will be held under the patronage of the German Consulate General in Gdańsk and the City of Gdańsk. The event also sees the launch of a new initiative by Kristjan Järvi, #musichainforukraine.

As the world witnesses lives and freedoms being attacked in Ukraine, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and calls for peace and unity in Europe. As an ensemble that brings together musicians from ten countries around the Baltic Sea region, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic has always had a mission to connect people and communities across Europe. The orchestra recognises that now it is more important than ever to support dialogue and understanding between nations. Gdańsk is the birthplace of the Solidarity movement, which played a major role in ending Communist rule in Poland. The movement’s founding leader Lech Wałęsa, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 and served as Polish president from 1990 to 1995, strongly condemns the war against Ukraine: ‘This war is a disgrace and a slap in the face for humanity and the modern world. At the same time, it is a challenge for the free democratic world.’ He adds that ‘peace is absolutely necessary for us to survive as a species, for the world to survive. And we must prove that the wiser democratic part of the world is stronger.’ The livestream of the performance will be on the YouTube channel of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic on Saturday 26 Mach at 8.00pm CET.

A world premiere and the launch of a digital music solidarity project
The ‘Nordic Swans’ programme, performed entirely from memory, features swan-inspired music by Arvo Pärt (Swansong), Sibelius (The Swan of Tuonela) and Tchaikovsky (Swan Lake, newly arranged by Kristjan Järvi as a Dramatic Symphony). But another bird will share the spotlight in Gdańsk, as the performance opens with the world premiere of Child of the Nightingale, a new piece written by Kristjan Järvi and Ukrainian musician Ruslan Trochynskyi, from the folk band Svjata Vatra. The nightingale is the national bird of Ukraine and is often invoked in Ukrainian folklore and folksong as a harbinger of spring and a singer of sweet sounds. Trochynskyi will join Kristjan Järvi on stage in Gdańsk to perform their creation with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic.

Child of the Nightingale also heralds the launch of #musichainforukraine, a new digital project by Kristjan Järvi that aims to connect people through the power of music. Building on a series of innovative music videos that the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi have been creating collaboratively throughout the pandemic, #musichainforukraine will invite musicians around the world to record and post their own versions of the Child of the Nightingale melody on social media, thereby creating an organic musical chain that stands for peace, freedom and solidarity. Kristjan Järvi says: ‘It is time to create a living and breathing monument that will remind all those who are waging wars against humanity that we will not give up and that we cannot be defeated. I invite everyone to come together and send a message of peace and solidarity in the most universal language of the world – the language of music. Record your own version of Child of the Nightingale and post it online using #musichainforukraine or #musichain. This is how we will create a virtual sound chain, an unbreakable proof of our unity, and the belief that dark times will end when we share the light.’

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Solidarity with Ukraine

We strongly condemn the invasion of Ukraine.

Our thoughts and solidarity are with the peaceful people of Ukraine, which includes many friends and relatives of our musicians.

We stand for hope and unity in Europe and have discontinued all ties with all entities supporting this type of aggression.

This community of musicians from the Baltic Sea region, from Norway to Russia, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic is a movement uniting people since 2008. As a flagship for cooperation we are more than an orchestra, building bridges at the best and worst of times contributing to cultural and social understanding and reconciliation throughout Europe.

Our Music Director Kristjan Järvi, who is an Estonian citizen fled his country as a child due to the soviet occupation. He knows the devastation of this type of aggression first hand. Together our aim is to create a forum to overcome our differences and prosper. We will continue to strive to connect everyone through our shared values, dignity and respect for humanity.

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC TO TOUR BELGIUM, GERMANY AND POLAND IN MARCH 2022 WITH MEMORISED ‘NORDIC SWANS’ CONCERT EXPERIENCE

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

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC’S FIRST TRANSFORMATIONAL MUSIC VIDEO ‘MIDNIGHT MOOD’ RELEASED TODAY AS SINGLE ON NESCAPES

The music track of Midnight Mood, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s first video in its digital project ‘Musical Chain’, is released today on Estonian label nEscapes. With the release of this first single in 2022, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic hopes that the world will soon see an end to the pandemic, which has deprived so many musicians and audiences of live music. The innovative ‘Musical Chain’ series of music videos features striking transformations of iconic classical pieces, and ‘Midnight Mood’ is inspired by ‘Morning Mood’ from Grieg’s Peer Gynt – a new beginning for 2022. Kristjan Järvi wrote, mixed and produced the track, which features 13 musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic from Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Finland and Germany, who recorded themselves at home during the early summer of 2020 when all of Europe was in lockdown due to the pandemic.

‘Midnight Mood’ is the fourth single from the ‘Musical Chain’ series to be released on nEscapes; the first, ‘Ascending Swans’, a track inspired by the ‘Song of Praise’ from Sibelius’s Swanwhite Suite, came out on 24 September 2021. ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’, an electronics-infused take on the composer’s Symphony No. 5, followed on 5 November, and ‘Nutty Christmas’, a fun seasonal take on Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet The Nutcracker, was released on 3 December. More ‘Musical Chain’ tracks are set for release on nEscapes during 2022.

Sounds of a new beginning

The music for ‘Midnight Mood’ captures the anticipation of a new dawn. Soothing strings and electronics are slowly joined by more instruments, reflecting the growing light of a new Nordic day. The ‘Midnight Mood’ video was released on the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s social media channels in July 2020 and has had more than 20,000 views on YouTube and almost 60,000 views on Facebook. The video intercuts black-and-white footage of 13 Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians, who filmed themselves performing at home, with striking Nordic landscapes.

Boundary-breaking audiovisuals, and musicians as composers

‘Musical Chain’ reflects the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s boundary-breaking spirit, its passion for innovative collaborations, and its dedication to communicating through digital media the energy, style and creative freedom of its live performances. It is also a symbol of unity and solidarity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic: inspired by the human chain formed by people across the three Baltic States in August 1989, it brings together musicians from across Europe with other artistic collaborators and professional video producers.

Recutting musical gems for the 21st century, the four ‘Musical Chain’ videos released in 2020 – ‘Midnight Mood’, ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’, ‘Ascending Swans’ and ‘Nutty Christmas’ – all feature footage of Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians performing at home or in atmospheric landscapes or cityscapes. The release in August 2021 of ‘Midnight Sun’ took ‘Musical Chain’ in a new creative direction, with original music written and produced by Kristjan Järvi and visuals that combine monochrome images of nature and landscapes with eyecatching geometric animations. The music track of ‘Midnight Sun’ was also released as a single, in both a radio edit and a long version, on BMG/Modern Recordings.

‘Musical Chain’ will develop further in 2022 with Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians creating their own original material as composers and producers, and collaborating with fellow musicians and creative professionals. New videos will be available on the orchestra’s social media channels and audio tracks will be released on the nEscapes label.

Watch all the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Musical Chain’ videos on our YouTube page here

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Baltic Sea Philharmonic single ‘Nutty Christmas’ out now on nEscapes

The music track from ‘Nutty Christmas’, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s fourth video in its digital project ‘Musical Chain’, is released today on Estonian label nEscapes. The innovative ‘Musical Chain’ series of music videos features striking transformations of iconic classical pieces, a one of a kind in the orchestral world. With ‘Nutty Christmas’, Kristjan Järvi and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic have reimagined music from Tchaikovsky’s beloved ballet The Nutcracker in their own unique style, making a very special Christmas gift for listeners around the world. Mixed and produced by Kristjan Järvi, the track features 22 musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, who recorded themselves at home during late 2020. ‘Nutty Christmas’ is the third single from the ‘Musical Chain’ series to be released on nEscapes; the first, ‘Ascending Swans’, came out on 24 September, and the second, ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’, was released on 5 November. The ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’ single has so far had more than 11,000 streams on Spotify alone, featuring on 54 playlists, with the most listeners coming from the US, UK and Germany. Upcoming ‘Musical Chain’ tracks will be released on nEscapes during 2022.

A unique musical Christmas cracker

‘Nutty Christmas’ takes the ‘Dance of the Reed Pipes’ and the ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’ from The Nutcracker and fuses their inimitable melodies with contemporary beats to create a crackling, toasty new version of this iconic Tchaikovsky score. The video for ‘Nutty Christmas’ was released on the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s social media channels in December 2020 and has since had almost 28,000 views on YouTube and over 72,000 views on Facebook, making it the most popular video in the ‘Musical Chain’ series. Beyond its success online, ‘Nutty Christmas’ was also broadcast to hundreds of thousands of TV viewers in Germany, Switzerland and Austria in the run-up to Christmas 2020.

The ‘Nutty Christmas’ video features musicians of the orchestra, most of whom filmed themselves outside in wintry landscapes and city streets lit up by Christmas decorations. Reflecting the international make-up of the orchestra, the film takes in performances from Wroclaw, Berlin, Hamburg, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Belgrade, Madrid and the countryside of Finland and Lithuania. A professional production team edited the video, which captures the Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians in a fun and festive mood.

Watch all the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Musical Chain’ videos on our YouTube page here

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC SINGLE ‘BEETHOVEN’S TWILIGHT’ RELEASED on nEscapes

An extended, six-and-a-half minute version of the music track from ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s second video in its digital project ‘Musical Chain’, is released today on Estonian label nEscapes. The innovative ‘Musical Chain’ series of music videos features striking transformations of iconic classical pieces, a one of a kind in the orchestral world. ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’ is inspired by the composer’s Symphony No. 5. Kristjan Järvi mixed and produced the track, which features 21 musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, who recorded themselves at home during the summer of 2020.

‘Beethoven’s Twilight’ is the second single from the ‘Musical Chain’ series to be released on nEscapes; the first, ‘Ascending Swans’, which came out on 24 September, has had nearly 20,000 streams on Spotify alone. More tracks from the series are set for release on the label later this year and in 2022.

Orchestral energy with an electronic edge
The music for ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’ pays homage to the composer’s indomitable spirit, celebrating him as the rock star of his time. The track is at once energetic and mysterious, enlightening but dark, vibrant yet intimate. Its remixing of orchestral sound and electronics channels Beethoven’s spirit as if from another dimension. The ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’ video was released on the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s social media channels in September 2020 and has since had almost 15,000 views on YouTube and 27,000 views on Facebook.

Musical gems recut for the 21st century
The ‘Musical Chain’ series of music videos launched in July 2020 with ‘Midnight Mood’, based on Grieg’s ‘Morning Mood’ from Peer Gynt. After the release of ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’, the third video in the series was ‘Ascending Swans’, which came out in November 2020. The music for this video is based on the ‘Song of Praise’ from Sibelius’s Swanwhite Suite, one of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s favourite encore pieces. The series continued with ‘Nutty Christmas’, a fun seasonal take on Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker which was also broadcast to hundreds of thousands of TV viewers in Germany, Switzerland and Austria in the run-up to Christmas in 2020.

‘Musical Chain’ reflects the orchestra’s boundary-breaking spirit, its passion for innovative collaborations, and its dedication to communicating through digital media the energy, style and freedom of its live performances. It is also a symbol of unity and solidarity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic: inspired by the human chain formed by people across the three Baltic States in August 1989, it brings together musicians from across Europe with other artistic collaborators and professional video producers.

The latest ‘Musical Chain’ video, ‘Midnight Sun’, which was released in August 2021, takes the series in a new creative direction, with original music written and produced by Kristjan Järvi and visuals that combine monochrome images of nature and landscapes with eyecatching geometric animations. The music track of ‘Midnight Sun’ was also released as a single, in both a radio edit and a long version, on BMG/Modern Recordings.

Watch all the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Musical Chain’ videos on our YouTube page here

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Baltic Sea Philharmonic single ‘Ascending Swans’ out now on Estonian label nEscapes

The music track of ‘Ascending Swans’, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s third video in its innovative digital project ‘Musical Chain’, is out now as a single by Estonian label nEscapes. The ‘Musical Chain’ series of music videos features striking orchestral transformations of iconic classical pieces, and the music for ‘Ascending Swans’ is based on the ‘Song of Praise’ from Sibelius’s Swanwhite Suite, one of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s favourite encore pieces. Kristjan Järvi composed and produced the track, which was recorded by the orchestra in Merano, Italy, in September 2020, during its ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour. ‘Ascending Swans’ is the first single from the ‘Musical Chain’ series to be released on nEscapes. More tracks from the series will be released on the label later this year and in 2022.

Grace and strength in sound and on screen

The ‘Ascending Swans’ video was released on the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s social media channels in November 2020. It has since had almost 32,000 views on YouTube and 37,000 views on Facebook, making it the most popular video of the ‘Musical Chain’ series so far. The video combines outdoor footage of 13 musicians from the orchestra with stunning images that celebrate the nature and landscape of the North as autumn turns to winter. ‘Ascending Swans’ reflects the grace, purity and strength of the eponymous birds, many thousands of which fly south from the Arctic in October and November. The swan is a cherished bird of Nordic culture, and is an inspiration to the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi, whose ‘Nordic Swans’ tour of Italy, Slovenia, Germany and Poland to internationally renowned festivals earlier this month (3–12 September) featured Arvo Pärt’s Swansong, Sibelius’s The Swan of Tuonela and Järvi’s own adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake as dramatic symphony.

Musical gems recut for the 21st century

The ‘Musical Chain’ series of music videos launched in July 2020 with ‘Midnight Mood’, based on Grieg’s ‘Morning Mood’ from Peer Gynt. The second video, ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’, which was released in September 2020, is a cutting-edge, electronics-infused take on Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Following the release of ‘Ascending Swans’, the series continued in December 2020 with ‘Nutty Christmas’, a fun seasonal take on Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker in which the ‘Dance of the Reed Pipes’ and the ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’ are transformed into the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s very own Christmas cracker.

‘Musical Chain’ reflects the orchestra’s boundary-breaking spirit, its passion for innovative collaborations, and its dedication to communicating through digital media the energy, style and freedom of its live performances. It is also a symbol of unity and solidarity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic: inspired by the human chain formed by people across the three Baltic States in August 1989, it brings together musicians from across Europe with other artistic collaborators and professional video producers. The latest video in the series, ‘Midnight Sun’, released in August 2021, takes ‘Musical Chain’ in a new creative direction, with original music written and produced by Kristjan Järvi and visuals that combine monochrome images of nature and landscapes with eyecatching geometric animations. The music track of ‘Midnight Sun’ was also released as a single, in both a radio edit and a long version, on BMG/Modern Recordings.

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Baltic Sea Philharmonic celebrates return to European touring with exhilarating ‘Nordic Swans’ tour of Italy, Slovenia, Germany and Poland

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic completed a successful return to European touring on 12 September at the Mieczysław Karłowicz Philharmonic in Szczecin, Poland. Last night’s performance with Founding Conductor and Music Director Kristjan Järvi was the culmination of the orchestra’s ‘Nordic Swans’ tour, its first major European tour after 12 months of unprecedented interruptions to live performance because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Between 3 and 12 September, 45 musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic travelled 3,660 km, beginning in Italy before journeying to Slovenia, Germany and Poland. A total of around 3,000 concert-goers – with audience numbers limited by Covid restrictions – experienced the orchestra’s unique style and energy at performances in Merano, Verona, Ljubljana, Peenemünde and Szczecin. The musicians played a new swan-themed programme of music by Arvo Pärt, Sibelius and Tchaikovsky entirely from memory. Together with dramatic lighting and sound design, bespoke concert outfits and video projections combined to turn the audience experience into a truly immersive spectacle.

‘Nordic Swans’ – a unique Baltic adventure
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s September 2021 tour celebrated the swan, a cherished bird of Nordic culture. The orchestra opened its programme with Arvo Pärt’s hymn-like Swansong, continued with Sibelius’s evocative The Swan of Tuonela, and brought audiences to their feet with Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, which Kristjan Järvi had arranged as a dramatic symphony. In signature Baltic Sea Philharmonic style, the musicians played the entire programme, plus two encores – the ‘Song of Praise’ from Sibelius’s Swanwhite Suite and Midnight Sun by Kristjan Järvi – by heart. And the orchestra showed itself truly as an ensemble of soloists, with starring roles for cor anglais player Victor Sjögren in The Swan of Tuonela, and in Swan Lake for violinists Kseniia Ivakina, Ilze Gagaine, Malwina Kulisiewicz, Laura Zimka and Evgenia Pavlova, and trumpeter Josep Gómez Alemany, among others. The orchestra’s performances combined exhilarating music making with atmospheric lighting and elegantly crafted sound effects. Special video projections enhanced the swan theme, and bespoke black-and-white concert outfits evoked the impression of swans moving on dark water.

Flying high across Europe
The ‘Nordic Swans’ tour was immediately preceded by rehearsals for the musicians in Bucharest, Romania, where the orchestra and Kristjan Järvi had given two acclaimed concerts on 30 and 31 August at the prestigious Enescu Festival. The orchestra travelled first to Merano in Italy, for its fifth appearance in as many years at the Merano Music Festival. The sold-out concert at the town’s Kursaal on 3 September was recorded by Italia Festival and the video is now available on demand from its website. Writing about the performance for Il Manifesto, Elfi Reiter was struck by the visual impact of the musicians’ outfits, and the pure energy of the playing: ‘The orchestra, in black and white tailored suits with little wings on their sleeves, create the kind of luminous atmosphere that moves body and soul, especially so in the case of Kristjan Järvi, who sometimes even jumps on the podium, the notes he conducts vibrating through the muscles of his body, just as they do in the musicians playing them.’

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic also sold out its next concert, at the Teatro Filarmonico in Verona on 4 September. The orchestra had last performed at the Teatro Filarmonico in 2015, and this ‘Nordic Swans’ performance was the first concert to take place at the opera house since its closure due to the pandemic. Audience member Stefano Provero thanked the orchestra on Facebook for its return to Verona and for its inspirational reawakening of the Teatro Filarmonico: ‘Grazie! Thank you for coming! It’s still not that great having half audience, all in masks, etc. But after two years finally it’s time to see the light. And you, with your energy and joy in making music, brought light and a new hope. Bravi!’

Next up for the Baltic Sea Philharmonic was a debut performance in Slovenia on 6 September. The orchestra’s open-air concert in Ljubljana’s Congress Square, a historic square in the city centre with beautiful views of Ljubljana Castle, was livestreamed on the Ljubljana Festival website.

For the German leg of the ‘Nordic Swans’ tour, the orchestra returned to its spiritual home, the Baltic Sea island of Usedom, for a sold-out concert in Peenemünde on 10 September. This performance was a special concert of the Usedom Music Festival, where the orchestra has played every year since its founding in 2008, and marked the 30th anniversary of Peenemünde’s Historical Technical Museum. Reviewing the concert for the Ostsee-Zeitung, Cornelia Meerkatz wrote of the orchestra’s Swan Lake performance: ‘In Kristjan Järvi’s condensed, dramatic-symphony arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s enormous score, the ballet numbers emerged as fireworks. The orchestra sprang from dance to dance, from waltz to polka to pas de deux, one eruption following another, creating a tumultuous sensation. That the musicians played this enormously difficult score completely by heart, while standing, dancing and smiling, and in constant interaction with each other, bordered on the miraculous.’

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic closed a memorable and inspiring ‘Nordic Swans’ tour on 12 September with another debut, this time at the strikingly designed Mieczysław Karłowicz Philharmonic concert hall in Szczecin.

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Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi set an example for more environmental protection with successful Beach Clean-Up campaign

45 musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi engaged in a Beach Clean-Up campaign today at the imperial seaside resort of Heringsdorf on the German Baltic Sea island Usedom. ‘We are happy to actively contribute to keeping our beaches clean with this campaign’, says Thomas Hummel, Executive Director of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and the Usedom Music Festival. The Beach Clean-Up campaign was a joint initiative by the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, the Usedom Music Festival and the Kaiserbäder Usedom right before tomorrow’s special concert of the orchestra at the Usedom Music Festival as part of its current ‘Nordic Swans’ tour.

For more environmental protection in and around the Baltic Sea
On their ‘Nordic Swans’ tour the musicians already travelled several thousand kilometres, from Bucharest to Merano, to Verona and Ljubljana to Usedom. For the orchestra, the Beach Clean Up is a welcome break from the daily routine of touring, says Viktoria Kassel. ‘Everything we do, musically, but also campaign for more environmental awareness are incredibly meaningful. And the fact that we have now arrived at the Baltic Sea to promote more environmental protection is special experience for us;’ explains the oboist, who is part of the orchestra for the first time. The environment, the increasingly drastic effects of marine pollution, has been a topic for the musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic for years. Several of the orchestra’s tours and concerts have already been performed to mark their commitment to the environment, the sea, nature and the landscape. In the past, the orchestra has collaborated with the Finnish John Nurminen Foundation, which supports projects dedicated to a ‘clean’ Baltic Sea. Together with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, Kristjan Järvi gave the world premiere of the Green Concerto by Finnish composer Severi Pyssalo at the Usedom Music Festival – a resounding call for greater environmental awareness. And the Ministers for the Environment of Finland, Estonia and Russia took over the patronage of the orchestra’s ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ tour in 2016.

Kristjan Järvi, who is from Estonia and has close ties to the Baltic Sea, summed up the large-scale Beach Clean-Up campaign: ‘The Baltic Sea is our home, the orchestra bears it in its name. Who wants a polluted home?’ In the end, the garbage bags of the musicians did not turn out to be so full after all, because the beaches of the Kaiserbäder are already quite clean. After all, the campaign was also meant to setting an example and other such activities are planned to be incorporated into future tours.

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC MAKES ACCLAIMED RETURN TO LIVE PERFORMANCE WITH CONCERTS AT ENESCU FESTIVAL IN BUCHAREST

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic celebrated its long-awaited return to the stage with an acclaimed Romanian debut at the prestigious George Enescu International Festival in Bucharest. The orchestra’s two concerts with Kristjan Järvi at the Romanian Athenaeum concert hall on 30 and 31 August were the ensemble’s first live performances since September 2020, after an enforced break due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic was collaborating in Bucharest for the first time with pianist Maria João Pires and violinist Viktoria Mullova. Pires was soloist in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 9, which together with Kristjan Järvi’s Aurora and Enescu’s Symphony No. 2 comprised the 30 August programme, ‘Aurora’. The second programme, ‘Nordic Swans’, featured Mullova in Arvo Pärt’s Fratres and the Passacaglia for violin, vibraphone and strings, alongside Pärt’s Swansong and Kristjan Järvi’s arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake as a dramatic symphony. Around 1,000 concert-goers experienced the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s electrifying performances, and the ‘Nordic Swans’ concert was livestreamed on the Enescu Festival website.

A festival of firsts
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s debut at the Enescu Festival was much anticipated by the orchestra’s musicians, who were coming together for the first time in almost a year. A total of 81 players arrived excitedly in Bucharest six days before the first concert, ready for an intensive rehearsal period. Alongside these musicians, this year’s 25th edition of the Enescu Festival (28 August to 26 September 2021) features some 3,400 performers, including some of the greatest orchestras in the world.

The orchestra paid tribute to George Enescu with a performance of his Symphony No. 2 – the first time that the orchestra had performed a work by the great Romanian composer. Kristjan Järvi said of the symphony: ‘This piece has been a real discovery for me. Neither I nor anyone in the Baltic Sea Philharmonic had performed it before, so it was a complete adventure to play it.’ The orchestra played its ‘Nordic Swans’ programme entirely from memory, and greeted standing ovations at both concerts with two favourite encores: Sibelius’s noble ‘Song of Praise’ from the Swanwhite Suite, and Kristjan Järvi’s atmospheric Midnight Sun.

‘Nordic Swans’ goes on tour
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will now take ‘Nordic Swans’ on tour to Italy, Slovenia, Germany and Poland. A new programme for the tour will enhance the swan theme, with Sibelius’s The Swan of Tuonela featuring alongside Pärt’s Swansong and Järvi’s dramatic-symphony arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. The tour begins in Italy on 3 September at the Merano Music Festival, with the next concert at the Teatro Filarmonico in Verona on 4 September. The orchestra’s Slovenian debut follows on 6 September with an outdoor concert in Ljubljana, which will be livestreamed on the Ljubljanafestival.si website. After a special concert at the Usedom Music Festival on 11 September, ‘Nordic Swans’ will conclude in Szczecin, Poland, on 12 September, with a performance at the Szczecin Philharmonic Hall.

See photos from the Enescu Festival concerts on Facebook and Instagram, and for more details of ‘Nordic Swan’ tour dates and venues, see our concert calendar here

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