Berlin, 6 December:
Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi end successful 2016 with exciting plans for 2017 tours

  • ‘Waterworks’ tour will focus on the life-giving power of water
  • Repertoire celebrates 80th birthday of Philip Glass
  • Collaboration with violinist Mikhail Simonyan
  • Musicians will pioneer new concert show format
  • Plans builds on successful 2016, including two well-received tours and first CD 

Berlin, 6 December 2016. At the end of a triumphant year, Baltic Sea Philharmonic announces its plans for 2017: ‘Waterworks’, a special water-themed programme. The orchestra and Kristjan Järvi will pioneer a special concert show format, combining music, projections, light, sound and choreography, to engage even more audiences in the excitement of classical music.

Water of life

Reflecting the group’s commitment to the environment, music for ‘Waterworks’ will focus on the life-giving power of the element. Repertoire will include Handel’s Water Music, arranged specially for Baltic Sea Philharmonic by Daniel Schnyder, Charles Coleman and Gene Pritsker, and the orchestra will mark the 80th birthday of seminal composer Philip Glass with his water-themed work Aguas da Amazonia, as well as his Second Violin Concerto The American Four Seasons from 2009, performed by Russian violinist Mikhail Simonyan.

Kristjan Järvi explains the theme: ‘Water binds us all together. It is the essence of life – not only within our physical bodies, but in the body of water that dominates this region – the Baltic Sea. It’s the engine of the region, 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. Our programme starts with Handel’s Water Music, because as Handel was born in Germany he was originally part of our Baltic compositional fabric, and it brings us all the way down to the waters of the Amazon, with Philip Glass’s Aguas da Amazonia. The music represents how we are from this region, but we are also connected to the whole world. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the waters of the Baltic or the Amazon: everything is connected, and this is the essence of “Waterworks”.’

Although Handel and Glass are separated by hundreds of years, there is a commonality, according to Kristjan Järvi: ‘Handel and Glass share a sense of minimal, in that they both utilise ostinato in such a wonderful way. If you look at Handel, Bach, Scarlatti or Boccherini, it’s all incredibly pure geometry and that’s how Minimalism is constructed, too.’

Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi, together with Mikhail Simonyan, will tour with ‘Waterworks’ from 5 to 10 May 2017 through Germany and Denmark, including a concert in Århus, the European capital of cultural in 2017.

Looking back at 2016

Plans for 2017 build on the massive success of the newly-formed Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s two tours in 2016. On its inaugural ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ tour in April, it played to around 6,000 audience members, crossing nearly 2,000 km to play in Klaipėda (Lithuania), Liepāja (Latvia), Tallinn (Estonia), Helsinki (Finland), St. Petersburg and Moscow (Russia). The September ‘Baltic Sea Discovery’ tour took its members from Klaipėda, Kaliningrad (Russia), Gdansk (Poland), Sønderborg and Kopenhagen (Denmark) to Peenemünde in Germany over 14 days. They performed to around 7,000 audience members, selling out their concerts in Lithuania and Germany, and presenting 16 encores.

The ‘Baltic Sea Discovery’ tour was also a chance for thousands of young people to discover classical music for the first time, with the orchestra offering five concerts to 3,500 school children aged between 14 and 16, in Sønderborg, Denmark, as part of the Danish Radio’s ‘Into the Music’ scheme. The orchestra also performed at two historic concerts – in Gdansk (Poland) and at the Usedom Music Festival in Peenemünde – marking the 25th anniversary of the German–Polish Treaty of Good Neighbourship.

Both tours also established exciting new musical friendships with international artists including Gidon Kremer and musicians from his Kremerata Baltica, Lidia Baich and Alexander Toradze. The year also saw the release of Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s first CD, of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, for Sony Classical.

Baltic Sea Philharmonic – a new era in performance and presentation

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic is a new force in music and culture. Taking the traditional orchestral model further than it’s gone before, the orchestra is becoming a whole social movement, with a vision for the Nordic region that encompasses the environment, culture and society. It does not just play music: it brings people of all cultures and traditions together; it campaigns for the environment; it searches for future audiences for classical music; it creates compelling concert hall experiences; and it builds a sustainable future for both its members and audiences. And like traditional orchestras, it also plays a wide range of repertoire beautifully, with energy and imagination. Bringing together musicians from the ten countries of the Baltic Sea region – Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden – the orchestra offers hope not only for the future of classical music, but for the future of the planet.