Orchestra’s first tour of 2022 features debut in Antwerp and return visits to Berlin and Gdańsk
Swan-inspired programme includes Arvo Pärt’s Swansong, Sibelius’s The Swan of Tuonela, and Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake arranged by Kristjan Järvi
Full-size ensemble of 66 musicians, with soloists from orchestra, to perform complete programme from memory
Berlin 11 February 2022. 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.
After rehearsals in Essen, Germany, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic will travel to Antwerp for its first ever concert in Belgium, at the Queen Elisabeth Hall (23 March). The ensemble will then return to Germany the next day for a performance at the Berlin Philharmonie (24 March), where it last played in June 2019. The final concert will take place in Gdańsk (26 March) at the European Solidarity Centre, which previously played host to the orchestra in September 2016. This performance will be a special ‘Freedom Concert’ 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 without the constraints of music stands and scores. 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 cultureThe Baltic Sea Philharmonic’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. The orchestra’s recording of Sleeping Beauty was released on Sony Classical in November 2020 and was nominated for the Opus Klassik 2021 awards in the categories ‘Ensemble/Orchestra of the Year’ and ‘Symphonic Recording of the Year’.
Baltic Sea Philharmonic – a revolution in music and culture
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic takes the orchestral concert experience to a new dimension. Every performance is a voyage of musical discovery, as the musicians perform the entire programme from memory, creating a one-of-a-kind artistic journey. Each concert is a unique spectacle of sound, light, visual art, technology, choreography and playing by heart, and under the electrifying baton of Music Director and Founding Conductor Kristjan Järvi every performance has a special energy that is absolutely infectious. But even more than this, as a community of musicians from ten Nordic countries, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic transcends boundaries and has become a movement for bringing people together. Embodying all that is innovative and progressive about the Nordic region, this visionary ensemble is taking the traditional orchestral model further than ever before. ‘It is a living breathing creature, with boundless energy and enthusiasm for the new – an adventure in itself,’ says Kristjan Järvi.