Berlin, 17 March 2016:
Baltic Sea Philharmonic to make inaugural tour in April 2016 with repertoire that celebrates the environment

  • New orchestra an offshoot of Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic
  • Tour covers Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Russia
  • Programme of ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ champions the environment
  • Moscow concert marks Prokofiev’s 125th anniversary

Berlin, 17 March 2016. The newly formed Baltic Sea Philharmonic will make its inaugural tour in April 2016, under the baton of Founding Conductor and Music Director Kristjan Järvi. The orchestra starts its ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ programme in the heart of the Baltic Sea region, in the sea ports of Klaipeda (Lithuania), Liepāja (Latvia) and Tallinn (Estonia), and then goes on to Helsinki (Finland) as well as St. Petersburg and Moscow (Russia).

Celebrating Baltic Sea composers
Repertoire for the tour reflects the organisation’s championing of the environment – the sea, the nature and the landscapes – including Jean Sibelius’s Karelia Suite, Arvo Pärt’s Swansong, Stravinsky’s Firebird, and Gediminas Gelgotas’s Mountains. Waters. (Freedom). World-renowned pianist Alexander Toradze joins the orchestra for the ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ tour as soloist to perform Prokofiev, whose 125th anniversary the musicians will celebrate on 23 April with a concert in Moscow.

Environmental theme
Concern for the environment is a key part of Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s philosophy, and the programme of the ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ tour reflects this. Kristjan Järvi explained: ‘The tour takes us through a journey of Baltic Sea ports, bringing the environment into focus, with pieces that come from the area and are written by composers who have been inspired by nature. It’s music that makes you feel the Northern Lights, the ice, the cold wind, the forests, the incredible feeling when you jump into the lakes. The whole mentality and way of being of the region is formed by nature, which is why you have these great composers.’

Kristjan Järvi commented on the original idea for the tour: ‘In a way, the Baltic Sea has given the Baltic Sea Philharmonic life, and this sea is our backyard. Therefore, we have the responsibility to take care of it and one way for us of doing this is to draw attention to the incredible culture, heritage, languages, traditions, songs and dances, as well as to the vulnerable environment of the Baltic Sea. That is why for this tour we are also partnering with organisations that safeguard the cultural heritage and focus on environmental protection.’. For example, the concert in Helsinki is presented by the John Nurminen Foundation to raise funds for their ‘Clean Baltic Sea’ projects.

Introducing Baltic Sea Philharmonic
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic brings together leading orchestral musicians from the ten countries of the Baltic Sea region – Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden. Under the leadership of Kristjan Järvi, the ensemble performs wide-ranging repertoire from across the region, both classical masterpieces and special commissions from emerging composers, in celebration of the region’s cultural diversity. It upholds the principle that music can unite people of all nationalities and backgrounds and change society for the better, especially in a region that has historically been divided.

Birth of a new orchestra
The orchestra was born out of the Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic (BYP), which was founded in 2008 by the Usedom Music Festival and Nord Stream AG. Since then, BYP has toured the famous concert halls and festivals of Europe, won international acclaim for its performances and its recent CD, ‘Baltic Sea Voyage’, and been awarded the 2015 European Culture Prize. In 2013 the Baltic Sea Music Education Foundation (BMEF) was created to develop a consolidated music educational system for the region and this led, in 2015, to the formation of Baltic Sea Philharmonic, made up of current BYP players and selected alumni from across the region, as a touring orchestra to complement the educational work of BYP.’