Berlin, 12 September 2018:
Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will kick off ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour on 17 September at the Merano Music Weeks in Italy

  • New programme marks100th anniversary of independence for Finland, Baltic States and Poland, and ten years since the creation of Baltic Sea Philharmonic
  • Orchestra to play music by Sibelius and Kalniņš entirely from memory
  • Norwegian violinist Mari Samuelsen is featured soloist in works by Arvo Pärt and Kristjan Järvi 
  • Orchestra will open 25th Usedom Music Festival in Peenemünde in presence of German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel, and perform in Merano, Munich, Halle (Saale) and Gdansk

Berlin, 12 September 2018: The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will start their ‚Nordic Pulse’ tour on 17 September with a concert at the Merano Music Weeks, the third of a total of four international tours in the orchestra’s anniversary year.The ‘Nordic Pulse’ programme focuses on leading composers from the Baltic Sea region, both past and present. The orchestra will then travel from Merano to Germany, where it will perform for the first time in Munich on 18 September. After a performance in Halle (Saale) on 20 September, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic will open the 25th Usedom Music Festival in Peenemünde in presence of the German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel on 22 September. The tour will conclude with a performance in Gdansk (Poland) on 24 September.

‘Nordic Pulse’: a celebration of freedom and identity
‘Nordic Pulse’ is a double celebration for the Baltic Sea Philharmonic. It marks ten years since the orchestra’s creation and 100 years of independence for the Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, as well as Finland and Poland. Under its Estonian-born conductor Kristjan Järvi, the orchestra brings together music by composers from all five countries, in a programme that celebrates the energy, strength and natural wonders of these proud Baltic Sea nations.

Representing Poland is Wojciech Kilar, whose Orawafor chamber string orchestra is inspired by the highland folklore and landscapes of the Tatra Mountains. Contemporary Lithuanian composer Gediminas Gelgotas captures the power of nature in Mountains. Waters. (Freedom), an uplifting and majestic piece that the Baltic Sea Philharmonic premiered in 2015. Norwegian violinist Mari Samuelsen joins the orchestra to perform two works by Estonian composers: Fratresby Arvo Pärt and Aurora, a violin concerto by Kristjan Järvi which is inspired by the iconic Northern Lights. Finland is represented by its most famous composer, Sibelius, whose concert suite from ‘The Tempest’ is considered by some to be one of his greatest achievements. The programme closes with the propulsive first movement of Latvian composer Imants Kalniņš’s ‘Rock’ Symphony from 1972, its driving rhythms and rock elements combining in a powerful expression of protest against the authorities of the time.

Järvi sees strong parallels between the declaration of independence by the Baltic States and the birth of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic. ‘These nations saw the opportunity to assert themselves a century ago,’ he says. ‘People came together to create a nation, a new identity. We created the Baltic Sea Philharmonic with the same spirit. By bringing together musicians from all around the Baltic Sea, the orchestra has always stood for unity.’

Playing by heart, from the heart
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic made history on its 2017 ‘Baltic Folk’ tour by becoming the first orchestra to perform Stravinsky’s The Firebird– in its 1945 orchestral suite version – completely from memory. For ‘Nordic Pulse’, the musicians will once again set aside their stands and sheet music to give memorised performances of the final two works on the programme, Sibelius’s concert suite from ‘The Tempest’ and the first movement of Kalniņš’s ‘Rock’ Symphony.

Norwegian violinist and long-time Baltic Sea Philharmonic strings instructor Jan Bjøranger will coach the orchestra in advanced memorisation and performance techniques, as he did ahead of the ‘Baltic Folk’ tour in 2017. Kristjan Järvi described the experience of performing The Firebird by memory for the first time ever as ‘incredibly empowering’, adding that ‘it was a great achievement for all of the musicians, to break through their limitations, to cast aside their doubts and fears, and to immerse themselves in a realm of possibilities and freedom.’

Historic return to Usedom  
The Usedom Music Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2018. The festival, which is dedicated to music from around the Baltic Sea, has a special significance for the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, because it was through an initiative of the festival and its director Thomas Hummel that the orchestra was created in 2008. This year, as the Baltic Sea Philharmonic celebrates its tenth anniversary, the orchestra has the honour of opening the 25th edition of the Usedom Music Festival with ‘Nordic Pulse’ in the presence of German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel.

Baltic Sea Philharmonic – a revolution in music and culture
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic, which celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2018, is a new paradigm for music making in the 21st century. Its concerts are a unique spectacle of sound, light, projection art and choreography; its passion for playing orchestral works from memory transforms the musical experience for both players and audiences; and its performances, under the electrifying baton of Music Director Kristjan Järvi, have a special passion and energy that’s infectious. But even more than this, as a community of musicians from ten Nordic countries, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic transcends geographical and historical 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.