- Tour features concerts at Berlin Philharmonie on 26 June, Carinthian Music Academy in Ossiach on 29 June, and Hamburg Elbphilharmonie on 2 July
- New programme includes music by Arvo Pärt, Kristjan Järvi, Max Richter, Rautavaara and Stravinsky
- Orchestra renews collaborations with Norwegian violinist Mari Samuelsen and Estonian singer-songwriter Mick Pedaja
- Baltic Sea Philharmonic to perform entire programme from memory
Berlin, 22 May 2019. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will tour Germany and Austria this summer with ‘Midnight Sun’, an exciting new programme that the orchestra will perform entirely from memory. Joined by violin soloist Mari Samuelsen and special guest artist Mick Pedaja, the orchestra will return to the Berlin Philharmonie on 26 June and Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie on 2 July, and will also perform for the first time in Ossiach, Austria, on 29 June, in the Alban Berg Concert Hall of the Carinthian Music Academy. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic last performed at the Philharmonie in Berlin in 2014, and made a spectacular debut at the Elbphilharmonie in August 2017 with the immersive concert show ‘Waterworks’. Tickets for this summer’s Elbphilharmonie concert sold out in just eleven minutes.
‘Midnight Sun’ – magical Arctic soundscapes
‘Midnight Sun’ is a celebration of nature and Nordic unity. The phenomenon of the sun never setting at night is experienced around the time of the summer solstice in the far north of Norway, Finland, Sweden, Russia and other countries that straddle the Arctic Circle. ‘It’s a phenomenon that only the populations of the north are favoured with,’ says Kristjan Järvi. ‘It unites Nordic communities, and with this musical programme we are bringing that message of Nordic unity also to Germany and Austria.’
‘Midnight Sun’ opens with a special collaboration between the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Mick Pedaja, an award-winning Estonian singer-songwriter whose nature-inspired songs have a mystical quality and a powerful sense of Nordic landscape. Following a memorable debut with the orchestra on its ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour in March 2019, Pedaja returns to sing songs from his 2016 album Hingake/Breathe and his most recent album Avaimus, here given special orchestral arrangements by US composer Charles Coleman. Joined on stage by his singer-songwriter wife Angeelia, Pedaja will return during the concert to sing more of his songs with the orchestra.
After this unique opening, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic performs Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Cantus Arcticus, his concerto for birds and orchestra that features taped birdsong recorded around the Arctic Circle and in the marshlands of Liminka in northern Finland. Norwegian violinist Mari Samuelsen, who made her debut with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic on its 2018 ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour, then performs four works with the orchestra, beginning with Kristjan Järvi’s Aurora, which is inspired by the magical lights of the aurora borealis. Samuelsen describes Aurora as ‘like a journey into space: you have the feeling that you’re floating out between the stars and the planets.’ In Arvo Pärt’s Fratres, a classic example of his ‘tintinnabuli’ style, the violinist plays solo variations over strings and percussion, combining virtuosic thrills with serene lyricism. A meditative quality imbues Pēteris Vasks’s second violin concerto Vientuļais Eņģelis (Lonely Angel), and the orchestra’s final piece with Samuelsen, Max Richter’s Dona Nobis Pacem, builds from quiet contemplation to powerful climax in an emotion-packed few minutes.
‘Midnight Sun’ climaxes with more magical light, this time courtesy of the mythical Firebird of Russian folklore, in the form of Stravinsky’s 1945 version of his great ballet The Firebird.
Playing by heart
In 2017 the Baltic Sea Philharmonic made history by becoming the first orchestra in the world to perform Stravinsky’s The Firebird completely from memory, bringing a thrilling extra dimension to the performance. Performing without sheet music has since become a trademark of the ensemble, and this summer the orchestra will play the entire ‘Midnight Sun’ programme by heart. The concerts in Berlin and Hamburg will furthermore be performed with no interval, allowing the memorised music to flow almost seamlessly for around 100 minutes. ‘Performing from memory is all about chemistry and communication,’ says Järvi. Playing by heart intensifies the connection between the players, bringing them closer together, and is a natural reflection of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s mission to unite people across the whole Nordic region.
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic regularly auditions the best and brightest young musicians from across the Baltic Sea region in order to renew and refresh the pool of outstanding players who perform with the orchestra on tour. In March, during its ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour of the Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Russia, the orchestra launched its Talent Tour 2019 with open auditions in Palanga, Riga, Tallinn, Helsinki and St. Petersburg. The Talent Tour will continue during the ‘Midnight Sun’ tour with an open-audition day in Berlin on 25 June. Applicants will perform solo in front of a panel comprising Kristjan Järvi and principal musicians from the orchestra, and in a special second round the applicants will have the chance to join a full orchestra rehearsal. The deadline for applications is 15 May. Full details are available at https://baltic-sea-philharmonic.eu/talenttour2019/.
New tour in September 2019
This September, Kristjan Järvi and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic will tour Italy and Germany with ‘Divine Geometry’, a fascinating new programme exploring the connections between Baroque music and American minimalism. Simone Dinnerstein will join the orchestra to perform Philip Glass’s Piano Concerto No. 3, and the tour will also include the German premiere of Steve Reich’s Music for Ensemble and Orchestra – a work that the Baltic Sea Philharmonic co-commissioned with the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
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.
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