- ‘Waterworks’ tour from 24 to 29 August of Germany with concerts at Young Euro Classic, the Usedom Music Festival, Reformation Festival Wittenberg and at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie
- Repertoire focuses on life-giving power of water and celebrates Philip Glass’s 80th birthday
- Cutting-edge concert show fuses music, light, visual art and sound design
- Orchestra to collaborate with Absolute Ensemble and violinist Mikhail Simonyan
- ‘Baltic Folk’ tour in Sweden, Germany and Italy from 19 to 23 August
Berlin, 21 June 2017. The first part of Baltic Sea Philharmonic ‘Waterworks’ tour from Germany to Denmark in May turned out to be an extraordinary success. The tour will now continue in August, with performances in Berlin (25 August, Young Euro Classics), Peenemünde (26 August, Usedom Music Festival), Lutherstadt-Wittenberg (27 August, Reformation Festival) and Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie (29 August).
The ‘Waterworks’ programme includes one of the most famous of all water-themed pieces – Handel’s Water Music, in a special arrangement featuring variations by Charles Coleman and Gene Pritsker. The orchestra is also celebrating the 80th birthday of American composer Philip Glass by performing Aguas da Amazonia, in a new orchestration by Charles Coleman, and Glass’s Violin Concerto No. 2 ‘The American Four Seasons’, with Russian-born violinist Mikhail Simonyan as soloist.
The music of ‘Waterworks’ focuses on the life-giving power of water, reflecting the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s concern for the environment, and in particular the Baltic Sea itself. ‘This body of water is the engine of the region,’ says Kristjan Järvi, ‘the thing that gives us all our necessities of life. It’s why people settled around here, and it also connects with all the other water across the world.’ This sense of connection has always been central to the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s identity, he says. ‘Just as water is the binding force of humanity, our orchestra is a binding force for the whole Nordic region, from Norway all the way to Russia.’
Passion for innovation
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s passion for innovation will be clear for all to see on the second part of ‘Waterworks’ tour. Most noticeable is the orchestra’s radical new style of presentation, introducing cutting-edge lighting design, projection art and sound design. A seven-strong team from Sunbeam Productions was brought on board to transform the musical performance into a fully immersive concert experience. The musicians also have a striking new look on stage, thanks to a clothing collaboration with Estonian fashion house Baltika Group. Designers from Monton, one of Baltika’s five international brands, created 13 different outfits for the men, and nine different outfits for the women, all of which were styled to reflect the water theme of the concert programme. In another innovation for the ‘Waterworks’ tour, three members of the New York-based Absolute Ensemble have been embedded in the orchestra. Trumpeter Charlie Porter, bassist Mat Fieldes and percussionist David Rozenblatt also featured on Kristjan Järvi’s new recording of the Glass’s Aguas da Amazonia with the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra.
The tour reunites Kristjan Järvi with Mikhail Simonyan, the two having worked together with numerous orchestras, and notably with the London Symphony Orchestra for the violinist’s 2011 Deutsche Grammophon recording of the Khachaturian and Barber concertos. ‘Kristjan Järvi is like no other conductor,’ says Simonyan, who previously performed with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic under Järvi in 2011, in Peenemünde on the German island of Usedom. ‘There is a freedom about Kristjan’s way of making music that I love. The whole process of rehearsing and performing is so alive with him.’ The violinist finds creative freedom too in Philip Glass’s Second Violin Concerto, which he considers among the most beautiful pieces of music ever written, and one of the composer’s greatest works. ‘Because the musical elements repeat over and over,’ he says, ‘the soloist has the opportunity to phrase and shape the music in a very individual and personal way.’
‘Baltic Folk’ tour in Sweden, Germany and Italy
The repertoire for the second tour in 2017 ‘Baltic Folk’ has a strong Russian focus, and sets the poetic nostalgia of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 alongside the fairy-tale magic of Stravinsky’s The Firebird. But the programme begins with the contemplative, hymn-like Swansong by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic begins its ‘Baltic Folk’ tour on 19 August 2017 in Visby, on the Island of Gotland in Sweden. It then performs at the Rheingau Music Festival in Germany on 20 August, before concluding the tour on 23 August with a performance at the Merano Music Festival in Italy. Joining the Baltic Sea Philharmonic to perform the Rachmaninoff concerto will be the 15-year-old Russian pianist Alexander Malofeev, one of the most exciting talents of his generation. Kristjan Järvi says of his new collaborator: ‘Alexander is already a rising star in Russia and has been acclaimed by some of the country’s greatest musicians. I am pleased that we can introduce him to a wider international audience.’
Baltic Sea Philharmonic – a revolution in music and culture
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic is a new paradigm for music making in the 21st century. Its concerts are a unique spectacle of sound, light, projection art and choreography, and its performances, under the electrifying baton of Music Director Kristjan Järvi, have a special passion and energy that’s infectious. But more than this, as a community of musicians from ten 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.