Drive to expand and refresh orchestra’s pool of musicians continues in the face of COVID-19 restrictions
Two-stage virtual audition process reflects Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s commitment to creating innovative digital experiences
Panel for second-round live digital audition to include orchestra principals and Founding Conductor and Music Director Kristjan Järvi
Berlin 20 October 2020. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic will launch its Digital Talent Tour 2020 today, as it takes its player recruitment drive online in the face of COVID-19 restrictions. The Digital Talent Tour is open to applicants aged 18 to 28 who are from, or studying in, one of the ten countries around the Baltic Sea – Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden. The orchestra is seeking musicians who share some of the same qualities and spirit that make the Baltic Sea Philharmonic unique in the orchestral world: a fearlessness, a willingness to push boundaries and embrace new levels of freedom and ways of performing, and a passion for storytelling in their music making and in their communication with audiences and their fellow musicians. The Digital Talent Tour will have two audition rounds – a video audition round and a live digital audition in front of Founding Conductor and Music Director Kristjan Järvi and a panel of principal players from the orchestra. Applications open on 15 October and close on 30 November. The live digital auditions will take place in the week of 18 January 2021. Successful applicants will have the chance to join the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s pool of musicians for upcoming international tours and exciting opportunities on stage, in the studio and online. Full details and regulations for the Digital Talent Tour are available on the orchestra’s website, www.baltic-sea-philharmonic.eu/digitaltalenttour.
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic constantly strives to refresh and expand its pool of outstanding musicians, and was set to run its Talent Tour 2020 audition programme alongside its planned ‘Midnight Sun’ tour of Poland, Germany and Russia in June and July 2020. When that tour was postponed to March 2021 because of the pandemic, far from standing still, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic immediately started to develop innovative digital projects and solutions. At the same time the orchestra continued to plan for a safe and successful return to live performance, which it achieved in September with a series of acclaimed ‘Nordic Pulse’ concerts in Italy and Germany. The Digital Talent Tour 2020 follows the success of digital projects such as ‘Music for Peace’, a 15-minute virtual orchestra recording of music from Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7, which involved 108 musicians in 18 countries and premiered online in May, and ‘Musical Chain’, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi’s ongoing series of cutting-edge classical music remix videos, which launched in July.
A new kind of virtual audition from the Baltic Sea Philharmonic
The Digital Talent Tour will combine video and online technology with an in-person audition. After submitting a short video audition to be assessed by the Baltic Sea Philharmonic principals and Kristjan Järvi, successful applicants will be invited to a live video audition consisting of an interview and a performance of an excerpt from the orchestra’s past and future repertoire. Candidates will be expected to perform this excerpt from memory, as playing by heart has become a trademark of Baltic Sea Philharmonic concerts. Memorisation is just one of many ways in which the orchestra is shaking up the classical music world: both live and in the digital realm, the orchestra is constantly exploring new ways of presenting the art form, using lighting and sound design, improvisation, choreography and videography, and collaborating with projection artists, singer-songwriters and rock musicians.
Principal violist Marzena Malinowska from Poland explains the philosophy behind the Digital Talent Tour 2020 auditions: ‘We are trying to get players out of their comfort zone – not in search of failure or perfection, but to see who they really are as people. We let them do what they love, to show and share their passion, and then we ask them to do things they might have thought they couldn’t do, to show that crossing mental boundaries is fun. When the audition itself becomes an experience that teaches you something and lets you discover new things in yourself, then the final official result doesn’t matter so much. Maybe our approach on the Digital Talent Tour 2020 will make a little change in the musicians’ world, a world in which we all deal with self-doubt and self-judgement. Because there is no right and wrong in music – only fun and freedom.’
With the Digital Talent Tour, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic is giving musicians from all across the Baltic Sea region a chance to showcase their musical talent and artistic personality at a time when performance opportunities have been drastically reduced because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In common with the orchestra’s other digital initiatives of recent months, the Digital Talent Tour aims to connect, unite and empower musicians in the face of a challenging landscape for the performing arts.
The audition process not only allows candidates to discover new possibilities in their playing and tap into different aspects of their identity as performers. It also empowers the Baltic Sea Philharmonic principals on the audition panel. These experienced members can continue to develop their leadership and mentoring skills, and, by helping to assess and interview their peers, play a key role in shaping and developing the unique personality of the orchestra as a whole.
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 and technology, and under the electrifying baton of Music Director and Founding Conductor Kristjan Järvi every performance has a special energy that’s 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.
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