• Kristjan Järvi conducted orchestra in ‘Midnight Sun’ concert featuring music by Grieg and Stravinsky
• 100-minute programme performed entirely by heart for 1,656 concert goers in sold-out hall
• Debut collaboration with Budapest-born pianist József Balog
Berlin, 21 November 2019. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic gave its first ever performance in Hungary on 19 November, performing to a sell-out audience of 1,656 concert goers in the Béla Bartók Concert Hall at Müpa Budapest. Under the baton of Founding Conductor and Music Director Kristjan Järvi, the musicians played the entire 100-minute ‘Midnight Sun’ programme of music by Grieg and Stravinsky from memory. Budapest-born pianist József Balog joined the orchestra as soloist in Grieg’s Piano Concerto. The concert also included another of Grieg’s most celebrated works – the Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 – and Stravinsky’s 1945 orchestral version of The Firebird, a piece which the Baltic Sea Philharmonic became the first orchestra in the world to perform completely from memory, in August 2017 on the Baltic Sea island of Gotland.
A new kind of concert
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic wowed the Budapest audience with its dynamic music making and innovative presentation. With no music stands on stage, and with most of the players standing up and free to move, the orchestra had a striking look as well as a thrilling sound. The musicians not only performed the complete programme from memory, but also played it as a single continuous ‘track’, interweaving movements of the Peer Gynt suite with movements of the Piano Concerto.
The orchestra gave the enthusiastic audience in the Béla Bartók Concert Hall two special encores – the Finale from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, and an Estonian folk song, Arg Kosilane, which the musicians sung and played in a rousing, joyous spirit.
A first collaboration with József Balog
The ‘Midnight Sun’ concert was Hungarian pianist József Balog’s debut with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic. A highly experienced performer, having given more than 1,000 concerts in the last 20 years as a soloist and chamber musician, he has previously collaborated with such orchestras as the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra, the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, the Ukrainian National Philharmonic and the Jerusalem Chamber Orchestra. Performing with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic in his home city, he was a superb partner in the Grieg concerto and embraced Kristjan Järvi’s imaginative approach of surrounding the concerto’s first movement with movements from the Peer Gynt suite.
Looking ahead to 2020
The performance in Budapest was the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s final concert of 2019. The orchestra and Kristjan Järvi begin 2020 with an exciting new collaboration with British indie band Bastille for ‘Channel Aid – Live in Concert’ at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie on 4 January. Major European tours later in the year see the orchestra perform in Poland, Germany, Belgium, Italy and Russia.
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 technology; 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.