Underpinning the ambitions of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic is the knowledge that today’s young generation will be the musicians and educators to inspire the next generation. Nowhere is this more evident than with the school concerts the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi perform regularly.
It all started with a cooperation with Danish Radio’s ground-breaking ‘Into the Music’ project, which in 2015 began presenting symphonic concerts for thousands of schoolchildren from rural Denmark, many of whom are growing up far from concert halls. Between 2015 and 2017 the Baltic Sea Philharmonic played to over 16,000 schoolchildren in a series of 10 concerts in Sønderborg, Copenhagen and Aarhus. Leif Lønsmann, from Danish Radio, said of that collaboration: ‘The concerts were a huge hit with the pupils, who were deeply impressed by the enthusiasm of the musicians and Kristjan’s charisma. The fact that many of the musicians were only slightly older than their audience made it easier for the schoolchildren to connect with the music.’
Danish Radio presenter Mathias Hammer hosted these school concerts, and said afterwards: ‘The Baltic Sea Philharmonic is playing on a level beyond that of any other young musicians’ orchestra I know. It’s so professional, but it’s also so full of energy and good ideas. And Kristjan Järvi is brilliant at bringing the atmosphere on stage out into the hall. I’ve never seen a conductor communicating so much with a young audience, allowing them to make noise, and to be a part of the concert.’
In 2018 the Baltic Sea Philharmonic took the idea of the school concerts to Germany. Before performing at the Kissinger Sommer in Bad Kissingen, the orchestra and Kristjan Järvi performed an hour-long school concert for more than 600 children aged 6 to 18, featuring selections from the groundbreaking ‘Waterworks’ programme. Two musicians from the orchestra moderated the concert. A music teacher at the Friedrich-List-Gymnasium in Gemünden am Main, praised the orchestra’s commitment and passion: ‘My students and I loved the concert. The Handel was awesome and very clean. And Aguas da Amazonia really was impressive. Everyone could immediately feel the enthusiasm of the musicians and their love for music.’
Ahead of the ‘Nordic Swans’ tour in 2022, the orchestra rehearsed for four days at the Chorforum in Essen, Germany before its tour of Belgium, Germany and Poland began. On one day during the rehearsals, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic invited over 120 pupils from three local schools to attend a school concert whereby two musicians introduced the orchestra and the programme to the students. A teacher from IS Ruhr, one of the schools attending, said afterwards: ‘The concert was great. We were impressed by how well all the musicians worked together. One of our students had her birthday and the orchestra played “Happy Birthday” for her. That was amazing! Our birthday girl was so happy, it made her speechless.’
School concerts hosted and moderated by the musicians of the orchestra will remain a regular feature also for upcoming tours. Because this is something the Baltic Sea Philharmonic always love doing; it gives orchestra members the opportunity to be presenters, and is always a thrill for the children attending, some of whom have never been to an orchestra concert.