Berlin, 21 January 2020:
Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi set for exciting collaborations and innovative concert programmes in 2020

  • Midnight Sun’ tour of Germany and Russia in June and July features performances in Berlin Philharmonie, at Kissinger Sommer and at St. Petersburg’s Stars of the White Nights Festival

  • Nordic Pulse’ tour to Germany and Italy in September includes concerts at Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Beethovenfest Bonn, Merano Music Festival and Usedom Music Festival

  • Baltic Sea Philharmonic to perform every concert completely from memory

  • Orchestra to collaborate with violinist Mari Samuelsen for ‘Midnight Sun’

Berlin, 21 January 2020. After a spectacular start to the new decade, when the Baltic Sea Philharmonic made pop history in a charity concert at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie with British band Bastille on 4 January, the orchestra and Kristjan Järvi are gearing up for more exciting adventures in 2020. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic will this year continue its remarkable progress on the international music scene, creating unique, transformative concert experiences for audiences across Europe and beyond. Two major tours – ‘Midnight Sun’ in June and July, and ‘Nordic Pulse’ in September – will bring the orchestra’s stunning performances to some of the most renowned concert halls and festivals in Europe, including the Berlin Philharmonie (23 June), the Stars of the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg (28 June), the Elbphilharmonie (5 September) and the Beethovenfest Bonn (5 and 6 September).

Midnight Sun’ and ‘Nordic Pulse’ – the new impulse of the north

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Midnight Sun’ and ‘Nordic Pulse’ tours in 2020 follow in the spirit of its 2019 tours, in which the orchestra premiered striking new arrangements of classical masterpieces alongside stunning contemporary works; created immersive concert experiences together with sound and lighting designers; and transformed the communication between musicians, conductor and audience by stripping the stage of music stands and performing entire concerts from memory. Kristjan Järvi explains: ‘All our tours are conceptually based around creating a concert experience, and are not only focused around the repertoire or soloist being a draw but also on a set list of pieces that together represent an idea. “Nordic Pulse” and “Midnight Sun” are about the new impulse of the north that we want to convey.’ This impulse is transmitted by the orchestra ripping up classical concert conventions and challenging others to break free of traditions and precedents.

Midnight Sun’ is inspired by the phenomenon of the sun never setting at night. ‘It’s a phenomenon that unites Nordic communities,’ says Järvi, ‘and with this musical programme we are proclaiming a message of Nordic unity.’ The ‘Midnight Sun’ tour of Germany and Russia in June and July 2020 will reunite the Baltic Sea Philharmonic with Norwegian violinist Mari Samuelsen, who enjoyed a successful collaboration with the orchestra and Järvi in 2019. With a musical programme featuring works by Rautavaara, Pärt, Max Richter, Kristjan Järvi, Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky, the orchestra heads for two international festivals and a highly renowned concert hall: the Berlin Philharmonie (23 June), the Kissinger Sommer (26 June) ‒ including school concerts in Bad Kissingen (26 June) ‒ and the Stars of the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg (28 June).

In September the Baltic Sea Philharmonic will tour Germany and Italy with ‘Nordic Pulse’, a programme inspired by nature and Nordic landscapes. A highlight of the tour will be two concerts at the Beethovenfest Bonn (5 and 6 September), as the orchestra joins in the celebrations of Beethoven’s 250th birthday. The orchestra will return to its birthplace at the Usedom Music Festival in Germany, performing in the historically significant Peenemünde power station (12 September), and will celebrate the fast-beating pulse of the north in Italy at the Merano Music Festival (10 September).

The ‘Nordic Pulse’ concerts will feature soloists of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and will include works by Beethoven, Grieg and Kristjan Järvi, as well as one of the orchestra’s signature pieces – Järvi’s innovative recasting of Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Sleeping Beauty as a dramatic symphony.

Järvi sums up the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s 2020 as ‘more fresh thinking, more imaginative collaborations, more new interpretations of great classics by Tchaikovsky, Grieg, Beethoven and others, and more exciting contemporary music, as the orchestra brings its unique energy and message to new audiences’.

Playing by heart – evolving the orchestra as an art form

Since becoming the first orchestra to perform Stravinsky’s The Firebird from memory, in August 2017 on the Baltic Sea island of Gotland, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic has rapidly become known for its memorised performances. In 2020 the orchestra will perform every concert from memory, with the majority of programmes also presented without breaks, thus creating a continuous flow of music. With no music stands on stage, and with the most of the orchestra standing up, the musicians are free to move and communicate more directly with each other, the conductor and the audience. As Järvi explains: ‘Playing by heart is not done to impress, or show that we have the capacity to memorise complex scores, but to evolve the orchestra as an art form into a living, breathing organism where the main sensation is not reading music but expressing ourselves intuitively and building collective trust in our innate intelligence. This frees us from concentrating on prerequisites and allows us to focus on the delivery of the message, and on reaching to the emotional core of each other and our 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; 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.