BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC TO MAKE HUNGARIAN DEBUT ON 19 NOVEMBER 2019 AT MÜPA BUDAPEST

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic will make its Hungarian debut next month with a ‘Midnight Sun’ concert in Budapest, conducted by Kristjan Järvi. The programme will inventively intertwine movements from Grieg’s Piano Concerto with his Suite No. 1 from Peer Gynt, before climaxing with Stravinsky’s 1945 orchestral version of The Firebird. As is the trademark of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, the entire programme will be played by heart, with the musicians free to stand, move and interact dynamically with each other and with the conductor.

Joining the orchestra for the Grieg concerto will be József Balog, one of the most talented pianists of his generation. Born in Budapest in 1979, he grew up surrounded by the amazing heritage of the renowned Hungarian piano tradition established by Liszt, Dohnányi and Bartók. Since graduating from the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, where he studied with Jenő Jandó, he has performed as soloist and chamber musician in more than 25 countries around the world, and has collaborated with orchestras including the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra, the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, the Ukrainian National Philharmonic and the Jerusalem Chamber Orchestra. He will make his debut with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi in the 19 November concert.

‘Midnight Sun’
Tuesday, 19 November, 7.30pm, Budapest (Müpa Budapest), Hungary
Baltic Sea Philharmonic & Kristjan Järvi
Special guest József Balog

Edvarg Grieg
Peer Gynt Suite No. 1
Edvarg Grieg
Piano Concerto
Igor Stravinsky
The Firebird (1945)

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC AND KRISTJAN JÄRVI TO PARTNER POP BAND BASTILLE AT ELBPHILHARMONIE HAMBURG ON 4 JANUARY 2020

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will kick off 2020 with a one-off charity concert show at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg on 4 January. The orchestra will join British indie pop band Bastille on stage for the latest event in Channel Aid’s ‘Live in Concert’ series. Channel Aid, the world’s first YouTube charity channel, is an initiative of the Hamburg-based FABS Foundation, which provides access to sports and dance activities for children and the disabled. The Elbphilharmonie concert will be livestreamed on Channel Aid, which collects donations to FABS Foundation social projects with every view of the channel.

The Channel Aid concert is another new artistic adventure for the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, as it will be the orchestra’s first collaboration with a pop band. Building on their experience of working with Estonian singer-songwriter Mick Pedaja on tour with their ‘Nordic Pulse’ and ‘Midnight Sun’ programmes in 2019, Kristjan and the orchestra will perform specially orchestrated Bastille songs in signature Baltic Sea Philharmonic style to create a unique orchestral soundtrack. The musicians will play the whole show by heart, and as a single uninterrupted stream of music. With Kristjan’s production company Sunbeam Productions co-producing the concert, the Elbphilharmonie audience is guaranteed both a sonic and visual spectacular.

Tickets for the concert go on sale on 18 October on Eventim/Channel Aid. Previous Baltic Sea Philharmonic concerts at the Elbphilharmonie, and previous ‘Channel Aid – Live in Concert’ events at the same venue, have all sold out within hours, so it’s worth booking fast to avoid missing out.

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will next be back at the Elbphilharmonie on 5 September 2020, as part of their concert tour of Germany, Belgium and Italy in the autumn. Another major European tour in June with the signature programme ‘Midnight Sun’ includes concerts in Poland, Germany and Russia.

‘Channel Aid – Live in Concert’
Performed by Bastille & Kristjan Järvi & Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Saturday, 4 January 2020, 8.00 pm, Hamburg (Elbphilharmonie), Germany
Livestream: Channel Aid YouTube channel
Tickets: https://www.eventim.de/artist/channel-aid/

 

 

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC WOWS AUDIENCES AT SOLD-OUT MERANO AND USEDOM MUSIC FESTIVAL CONCERTS WITH ‘DIVINE GEOMETRY’

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi returned to the Merano Music Festival in Italy on 20 September and the Usedom Music Festival in Germany on 21 September with ‘Divine Geometry’, a new memorised programme of Baroque and minimalist music. Together with American pianist Simone Dinnerstein, the orchestra gave the Italian premiere of Philip Glass’s Piano Concerto No. 3 (2017) in the closing concert of the Merano Music Festival. And on the opening night of the Usedom Music Festival in Peenemünde, the orchestra gave the German premiere of Steve Reich’s Music for Ensemble and Orchestra, a 2018 work which the Baltic Sea Philharmonic co-commissioned with five of the world’s leading symphony orchestras. Both ‘Divine Geometry’ concerts were sell-outs, and attracted a total audience of 2,200. The Usedom Music Festival performance was recorded for broadcast on Deutschlandfunk Kultur on 27 September. The concert in Merano was recorded by RAI Südtirol for broadcast on 10 November.

Patterns of perfection
‘Divine Geometry’ juxtaposed two giants of the Baroque – Bach and Handel – with two titans of American minimalism (Glass and Reich), exploring the fascinating similarities and relationships between each composer’s rhythmic patterns and musical structures. Alongside the two contemporary works, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic performed an orchestral transcription of Bach’s Chaconne by Arman Tigranyan and Kristjan’s imaginative reworking of Handel concerti grossi, Too Hot to Handel. The entire programme was played as an unbroken line of music, interweaving complete works and individual movements from the Glass concerto and Too Hot to Handel with improvised connecting transitions. Moreover, this was all done entirely from memory, as has become the orchestra’s trademark.

Acclaimed returns to Merano and Usedom
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s sold-out performance in Merano was the orchestra’s third appearance in as many years at this prestigious music festival. The concert at the Usedom Music Festival, where the orchestra has performed every year since its founding in 2008, was another triumphant sell-out, and garnered the following praise from Ostsee-Zeitung critic Ekkehard Ochs: ‘Järvi’s concept captivates with its uncompromising approach and music-making that literally delights all the senses. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic can do just anything, and so can Järvi. He is right: his orchestra is more than just an orchestra!’

Simone Dinnerstein: an inspirational partner
Making her debut with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, Simone Dinnerstein brought a wealth of experience of performing the Glass Concerto, a piece which was written especially for her. A frequent collaborator with Kristjan, Simone said in an interview with NDR Kultur (Northern German Broadcasting) that the ‘Divine Geometry’ project was the high point of their work together. ‘The musicians of this orchestra are extremely interactive with each other and are great listeners,’ she added. ‘They are so inspiring.’ The Baltic Sea Philharmonic players, for their part, found Simone a charming and inspirational partner in Glass’s beguiling music.

Dedicated preparation
In the run-up to the ‘Divine Geometry’ concerts, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic came together in the German spa town of Bad Schussenried for six days of intensive preparation, culminating in a full public dress rehearsal. Although many of the players had previously performed from memory with the orchestra, some of the ensemble’s new members were experiencing playing by heart for the first time, and the ‘Divine Geometry’ programme pushed the orchestra to a whole new level. Kristjan acknowledged: ‘This programme makes our first performance of The Firebird from memory [in 2017] and even this year’s memorised performance of The Sleeping Beauty seem like a walk in the park.’

See our Facebook page and Instagram feed for ‘Divine Geometry’ concert videos, performance shots and behind-the-scenes photos

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Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi to tour Italy and Germany in September 2019 with new ‘Divine Geometry’ programme

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will tour Italy and Germany this September with ‘Divine Geometry’, an adventurous new programme that imaginatively recasts Baroque masterworks alongside music by giants of American minimalism. Joined by US pianist Simone Dinnerstein, the orchestra will return to Merano in Italy on 20 September to give the closing concert of the Merano Music Festival. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic will then travel to Peenemünde, on the island of Usedom, to give the opening concert of the Usedom Music Festival on 21 September.

‘Divine Geometry’ explores the fascinating connections between Baroque music and minimalism, and exemplifies the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s unique way of giving audiences a fresh perspective and a new kind of concert experience. The programme connects the past to the present by merging Baroque sensuality and minimalist modernism. It begins with one of the supreme monuments of the Baroque era, Bach’s Chaconne from the Partita No. 2 in D minor for solo violin, BWV 1004, in a contemporary orchestration by Arman Tigranyan. Music by another Baroque great, Handel, has been given a sparkling reinterpretation by conductor and composer Kristjan Järvi in Too Hot to Handel. Between the Bach and the Handel/Järvi, American pianist Simone Dinnerstein makes her debut with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic in the Piano Concerto No. 3 by master minimalist Philip Glass. Composed in 2017 for Dinnerstein, who is renowned for her interpretations of Bach’s keyboard works, Glass’s concerto is scored for piano and strings, a combination that has been rarely used since Bach’s time.

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s programme at the Usedom Music Festival adds another minimalist icon into the mix – Steve Reich. His Music for Ensemble and Orchestra (2018) was co-commissioned by the Baltic Sea Philharmonic together with the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Reich’s first orchestral work in more than 30 years, Music for Ensemble and Orchestra will receive its German premiere at the Usedom Music Festival.

‘Divine Geometry’ Tour 2019

Friday, 20 September 2019, Merano, 8.30 pm
Merano Music Festival, Kursaal, Merano (Italy)
Saturday, 21 September 2019, Peenemünde, 8 pm
Usedom Music Festival, Kraftwerk Museum Peenemünde, Island Usedom (Germany)

Programme
Baltic Sea Philharmonic & Kristjan Järvi
Special guest Simone Dinnerstein

Johann Sebastian Bach
Chaconne
arranged by Arman Tigranyan

Steve Reich
Music for Ensemble and Orchestra (2018)
German premiere

Philip Glass
Piano Concerto No. 3

Georg Friedrich Händel
Too hot to Handel
Concerti Grossi Suite
arranged by Kristjan Järvi

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Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi seduce audiences in sweltering Germany and Austria with cool Nordic sounds

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi brought the fresh sounds of contemporary Nordic music to a roasting hot Germany and Austria on their ‘Midnight Sun’ tour from 26 June to 2 July. Joined by Norwegian violinist Mari Samuelsen and special guests Mick and Angeelia Pedaja – singer-songwriters from Estonia – the orchestra began its tour at Berlin’s Philharmonie on 26 June, the city’s hottest day of the year so far. The ensemble then showcased its cool Nordic soundscapes in an equally balmy Ossiach, in southern Austria, on 29 June, with a concert at the Carinthian Music Academy. The closing concert in Hamburg on 2 July, at a sold-out Elbphilharmonie, was doubly cool, with the heatwave in northern Europe having receded in the face of the orchestra’s breezy Baltic sounds.

A special programme, uniquely presented
‘Midnight Sun’ captured the magical atmosphere of a Nordic midsummer, and was inspired by the phenomenon of 24-hour daylight in the summer months above the Arctic Circle. Six pieces, including Rautavaara’s Cantus Arcticus, Stravinsky’s The Firebird, and works by Pēteris Vasks, Arvo Pärt, Kristjan Järvi and Max Richter, made for a richly varied programme. The way the Baltic Sea Philharmonic presented this music was truly original: the pieces were interspersed with songs by Mick Pedaja, who was partnered by the full orchestra, ambient electronics, and his wife Angeelia on vocals; and the musicians performed the whole two-hour programme from memory, with no breaks.

Light and joy in Berlin
The Berlin premiere of ‘Midnight Sun’ mesmerised the Philharmonie audience from the very beginning, as violinists from the orchestra emerged from around the auditorium, sustaining a single unison tone on their instruments as they slowly converged on the stage. As Matthias Noether for the Berlin Morgenpost wrote, ‘It is rare in such a symphony concert that nobody can tell what is happening in those first moments, and that’s refreshing.’ The sustained tone morphed into the limpid string textures of Vasks’s Lonely Angel, with soloist Mari Samuelsen sending her line soaring above the orchestra. The Norwegian violinist also starred in performances of Richter’s Dona Nobis Pacem, Pärt’s Fratres and Kristjan’s Aurora.

Colourful dynamic lighting enhanced the musical atmosphere, and in Aurora the illuminations echoed the dancing lights of the piece’s inspiration, the aurora borealis. In the words of the Berlin Morgenpost, Kristjan as conductor ‘moved almost like a pop star at the centre of these coloured lights’, while Elias Pietsch in the Tagespiegel Berlin likened the maestro to ‘a goblin, jumping across the stage and whipping up more and more energy from his protégés. Cue a wildly successful interpretation of Stravinsky’s The Firebird, with the orchestra kindling a veritable musical storm.’ The same reviewer praised the musicians’ joy of playing, saying that ‘This probably also has a lot to do with playing by heart: due to the absence of music stands there is movement on stage, the musicians interact with each other, they look at each other a lot – the interplay is so alive.’

Acclaimed finale in Hamburg
The orchestra’s closing performance of Stravinsky’s The Firebird drew cheers and standing ovations in Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie. Joachim Mischke from the Hamburger Abendblatt was particularly impressed by the young musicians’ interpretation: ‘Keeping Stravinsky’s high-octane score from crashing under its own weight is no easy feat for an orchestra, let alone one with all the notes in front of the players’ noses. But by heart, like the rest of the almost two-hour, uninterrupted programme? As a kind of story ballet, in which groups of instruments or individuals wander across the stage, in which they dance in rhythm and the concertmaster takes off her pumps in the midst of all this excess energy? This is clearly a different league.’

Behind the scenes, and next steps
Ahead of the ‘Midnight Sun’ tour the 63 musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic met for six intensive rehearsal days in Vlotho. After a public dress rehearsal in the small East Westphalian town, the orchestra launched into a week of touring that involved travelling 2,780km and performing to a total audience of more than 4,000 people. The Berlin leg of the tour included a special Talent Day during which the orchestra’s principal musicians led auditions of around 30 young players, all of whom were seeking opportunities to join the Baltic Sea Philharmonic on future tours.

The orchestra’s next tour, ‘Divine Geometry’, is only a couple of months away. Once again, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will be presenting an exciting new programme, this time juxtaposing Baroque masters with giants of American minimalism. US pianist Simone Dinnerstein will join the orchestra to perform a concerto by Philip Glass, and the German premiere of a major new work by Steve Reich is one of the highlights of a tour that will feature performances at the Merano Music Festival on 20 September and the Usedom Music Festival on 21 September.

See our Facebook page and Instagram feed for concert videos, performance shots and behind-the-scenes photos from the ‘Midnight Sun’ tour

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC TO AUDITION YOUNG MUSICIANS IN BERLIN ON 25 JUNE

On the eve of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Midnight Sun’ tour-opening concert at Berlin’s Philharmonie on 26 June, the orchestra’s principal musicians and conductor Kristjan Järvi will hold open auditions for prospective members of the ensemble. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic regularly auditions talented musicians from across the Baltic Sea region in order to refresh the pool of outstanding players who perform with the orchestra on tour. The special Talent Day in Berlin on 25 June is a continuation of the Baltic Sea Music Education Foundation’s Talent Tour 2019, which has already featured open auditions in Palanga, Riga, Tallinn, Helsinki and St. Petersburg during the orchestra’s ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour of the Baltic States, Finland and Russia in March.

Around 50 applicants are set to take part in the Berlin auditions. Each applicant will have the opportunity to shine in a solo first round, with the best players then going through to a special second round, when they will get to join the full orchestra in a public dress rehearsal at the Berlin Philharmonie, which all interested young musicians are welcome to attend. Successful candidates will join the orchestra’s player pool, with the chance to be invited on tours with the orchestra, beginning with the ‘Divine Geometry’ tour of Germany and Italy in September 2019.

Empowering the players of today and tomorrow
The Baltic Sea Music Education Foundation is committed to empowering young musicians and developing their leadership and entrepreneurial skills. The Talent Tour audition process strongly reflects this, in that it is led by a nine-strong panel of the orchestra’s principals. Principal violist Marzena Malinowska, from Poland, explains the panel’s approach: ‘We try to take musicians out of their comfort zones – not in search of failure or perfection, but to see who they really are as people. We let them show and share their passion, and we ask them to do certain things, such as playing by heart, in order to show that crossing mental boundaries is fun.’

Applicants have so far found the Talent Tour auditions a refreshing and inspiring experience. Margaret Galinke, an 18-year-old flute player who auditioned in St. Petersburg, said: ‘I had never played an orchestral piece like Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty by heart in an audition before, so that was a very unusual and exciting opportunity. Also, this was the first audition where I felt truly comfortable, because the panel was so warm and encouraging. It felt from the beginning like we were friends. The atmosphere was wonderful.’

For more information about the Talent Tour 2019, see here

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC EMBARKS ON ‘MIDNIGHT SUN’ TOUR OF GERMANY AND AUSTRIA

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic is all set to tour Germany and Austria from 26 June to 2 July with ‘Midnight Sun’, an exciting new programme that the orchestra will perform entirely from memory. The musicians are now gathered in the German town of Vlotho, North-Rhine Westphalia, where today they begin five days of intensive rehearsals under the direction of conductor Kristjan Järvi and a team of specialist coaches. Joined by violin soloist Mari Samuelsen and guest artist Mick Pedaja, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic will give a public dress rehearsal in Vlotho on 23 June at 7.30 pm. The musicians will then travel 360 km to Berlin for the opening tour concert at the Berlin Philharmonie on 26 June. Their next destination is Ossiach in southern Austria, where they will perform at the Carinthian Music Academy on 29 June. The tour concludes in Hamburg on 2 July, with a sold-out concert at the Elbphilharmonie.

‘Midnight Sun’ – magical Arctic soundscapes
‘Midnight Sun’ is a celebration of nature and Nordic unity, inspired by the phenomenon of the sun never setting at night. The musical programme begins with a special collaboration between the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Mick Pedaja, an Estonian singer-songwriter whose songs have a mystical quality and a powerful sense of Nordic landscape. After this unique opening, the orchestra performs Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Cantus Arcticus, his concerto for birds and orchestra that features taped birdsong recorded in northern Finland. Norwegian violinist Mari Samuelsen then performs four works with the orchestra: Kristjan’s Aurora, which is inspired by the magical lights of the aurora borealis; Arvo Pärt’s Fratres; Pēteris Vasks’s meditative second violin concerto Vientuļais Eņģelis (Lonely Angel); and Max Richter’s Dona Nobis Pacem. ‘Midnight Sun’ climaxes with more magical light, this time courtesy of the mythical Firebird of Russian folklore, in the shape 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 The Firebird from memory. Performing without sheet music has since become a trademark of the ensemble, and the orchestra will be playing 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.

Download the full ‘Midnight Sun’ concert programme here


‘Midnight Sun’ Tour
Wednesday, 26 June 2019, 8.00 pm, Berlin (Philharmonie), Germany
Saturday, 29 June 2019, 8.00 pm, Ossiach (Carinthian Music Academy), Austria
Tuesday, 2 July 2019, 8.00 pm, Hamburg (Elbphilharmonie), Germany

Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Kristjan Järvi
Mari Samuelsen
Mick Pedaja

Mick Pedaja
Follow
Forest Hymn Pt. 2
Seis
Valgeks / To the Light
Life Full of Different Views by Mick & Angeelia aka MIANG

Einojuhani Rautavaara
Cantus Arcticus Op. 61

Kristjan Järvi
Aurora for violin and orchestra

Arvo Pärt
Fratres for violin, percussion and string orchestra

Pēteris Vasks
Vientuļais Eņģelis (Lonely Angel), Meditation for violin and string orchestra

Max Richter
Dona Nobis Pacem 2

Igor Stravinsky
The Firebird (1945)

 

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC TO TOUR GERMANY AND AUSTRIA IN JUNE AND JULY 2019 WITH NEW ‘MIDNIGHT SUN’ PROGRAMME

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, at 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 ‘Waterworks’, its immersive concert show in collaboration with Sunbeam Productions. 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 Estonian singer-songwriter whose nature-inspired songs have a mystical quality and a powerful sense of Nordic landscape. Following his debut with the orchestra on its ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour in March 2019, Mick returns to sing songs from his albums Hingake/Breathe and Avaimus, specially arranged for orchestra by US composer Charles Coleman.

After this unique opening, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic performs Rautavaara’s Cantus Arcticus, his concerto for birds and orchestra that features taped birdsong recorded around the Arctic Circle and in the marshlands of 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’s Aurora, which is inspired by the magical lights of the aurora borealis. In Arvo Pärt’s Fratres, 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 Mari, 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 The Firebird from memory. 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. 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.

Recruiting new talent
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic regularly auditions the best and brightest young musicians from across the Baltic Sea region in order to renew and refresh its pool of outstanding players. In March, during the orchestra’s ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour of the Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Russia, the Baltic Sea Music Education Foundation 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 audition day in Berlin on 25 June. Applicants will perform solo in front of a panel comprising Kristjan 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 here.

 

‘Midnight Sun’ Tour
 Wednesday, 26 June 2019, 8.00 pm, Berlin (Philharmonie), Germany
Saturday, 29 June 2019, 8.00 pm, Ossiach (Carinthian Music Academy), Austria
Tuesday, 2 July 2019, 8.00 pm, Hamburg (Elbphilharmonie), Germany

Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Kristjan Järvi
Mari Samuelsen
Mick Pedaja

Einojuhani Rautavaara
Cantus Arcticus Op. 61

Kristjan Järvi
Aurora for violin and orchestra

Arvo Pärt
Fratres for violin, percussion and string orchestra

Pēteris Vasks
Vientuļais Eņģelis (Lonely Angel), Meditation for violin and string orchestra

Max Richter
Dona Nobis Pacem

Igor Stravinsky
The Firebird (1945)

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC FINDS BRIGHTEST MUSICAL TALENT FROM ACROSS NORDIC REGION IN UNIQUE AUDITION PROCESS

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic combined its ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Russia in March with a successful recruiting drive, auditioning some of the region’s best young musical talent on its Talent Tour 2019. The orchestra regularly auditions musicians from throughout the Baltic Sea region in order to renew and refresh the pool of outstanding players who perform with the orchestra on tour. From 8 to 19 March, a total of 70 players from across all the orchestral instrumental groups came to audition at Talent Days in Palanga, Riga, Tallinn, Helsinki and St. Petersburg. A further Talent Day will be held in Berlin on 27 June 2019. Successful candidates will join the orchestra’s player pool and will have the chance to be invited on tours with the orchestra, as early as summer 2019 for its ‘Midnight Sun’ and ‘Divine Geometry’ tours.

A new kind of audition
Under its visionary conductor Kristjan Järvi, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic has established a reputation as a boundary-breaking ensemble, so it should come as no surprise that the orchestra’s auditioning process is special too. Talent Tour applicants had the opportunity to shine in a solo first round, but also in a new second round in which they joined a full orchestra rehearsal. And because the Talent Tour is being held as open auditions, all interested musicians were able to listen to the first-round auditions and full orchestra rehearsals, even if they themselves were not auditioning.

A significant part of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s mission is to empower musicians and develop their entrepreneurial and leadership skills. The Talent Tour audition process strongly reflected this, in that it was led by a nine-strong panel of the orchestra’s principals. Principal violist Marzena Malinowska, from Poland, explained the panel’s approach: ‘We were trying to take musicians out of their comfort zones – not in search of failure or perfection, but to see who they really are as people. We let them show and share their passion, and we asked them to do things, such as playing by heart, that they might have thought that they were incapable of doing – in order to show that crossing mental boundaries is fun.’

For 18-year-old flute player Margarete Galinka, who auditioned at the Talent Day in St. Petersburg, the experience was both refreshing and inspirational. ‘I had never played an orchestral piece like Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty by heart in an audition before, so that was a very unusual and exciting opportunity,’ she said. ‘Also, this was the first audition where I felt truly comfortable, because the panel was so warm and encouraging. It felt from the beginning like we were friends. The atmosphere was wonderful.’

 Talent Tour to continue in Berlin in June
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic will hold a further Talent Day in Berlin on 27 June 2019, during its ‘Midnight Sun’ tour to Berlin and Hamburg in June and July. The application deadline for this audition is 15 May. The Berlin Talent Day will be held as a first-round audition only, but all applicants are invited to visit the orchestra’s dress rehearsal at the Berlin Philharmonie on 26 June.

More details about the Talent Tour 2019 can be found here

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC AND KRISTJAN JÄRVI COMPLETE ACCLAIMED ‘NORDIC PULSE’ TOUR OF BALTIC STATES, FINLAND AND RUSSIA

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi completed their first major tour of 2019 on 21 March with a special concert at the historic Catherine Palace in St. Petersburg. The ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour, which began in Palanga, Lithuania, on 11 March, featured six performances in eleven days. Joined by Swiss violinist David Nebel and Estonian singer-songwriter Mick Pedaja, the orchestra travelled more than 1,000 km from Palanga to St. Petersburg, via Riga, Tallinn and Helsinki. Around 4,500 concert goers experienced the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s unique spirit and energy, and witnessed the orchestra perform, completely from memory, a new 70-minute concert suite drawn from Tchaikovsky’s ballet masterpiece The Sleeping Beauty.

‘Nordic Pulse’ – an exhilarating Baltic adventure
The tour opened on Lithuania’s Restoration of Independence Day with the orchestra’s debut at the Palanga Concert Hall. From Palanga, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic travelled to Riga to perform in the Great Guild Hall. The tour continued in Tallinn, the city of Kristjan Järvi’s birth, with a sold-out concert at the Estonia Concert Hall, before moving on to Helsinki and a debut performance at Finlandia Hall. ‘Nordic Pulse’ concluded with two concerts in St. Petersburg – the first at the ultra-modern Mariinsky II, and the second at the grand, Rococo-style Catherine Palace. Alongside the ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic held a parallel Talent Tour, auditioning top music students in Palanga, Riga, Tallinn, Helsinki and St. Petersburg, with the aim of recruiting the best talent from across the region to join the orchestra on future tours.

Playing by heart – a Tchaikovsky world premiere
A major highlight of the ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour was the unveiling of a new concert suite, arranged by Kristjan Järvi, of music from Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty. The 70-minute work was performed entirely from memory. ‘The suite is a condensed version of the whole ballet,’ explains Järvi, ‘and comprises 3,056 bars of music. It takes what we’ve been doing over the last two years in the realm of memorisation to a new level.’ As on previous tours, the memorised performances proved a revelation for audiences, with one concert goer, Massimo Nunzi, enthusing: ‘This is a completely new way to approach classical music. This is the future.’

Inspired by nature – and focused on the environment
‘Nordic Pulse’ took inspiration from nature and at the same time underlined the orchestra’s commitment to the environment. The musical programme was infused with themes of renewal and fresh life, evident in Kristjan Järvi’s Aurora for violin and string orchestra – a work inspired by both the warmth of spring and the lights of the aurora borealis – and in the awakening of Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty. Sensitivity to the Nordic landscape shone through in both Pēteris Vasks’s second violin concerto Vientuļais Eņģelis (Lonely Angel) and the 2018 Violin Concerto by Gediminas Gelgotas, both performed together with violinist David Nebel. Special guest Mick Pedaja added a mystical dimension with songs inspired by his natural surroundings, especially the forests of Estonia.

Two of the ‘Nordic Pulse’ concerts were directly focused on the environmental cause. The performance in Helsinki was a benefit concert for the John Nurminen Foundation, which directs projects dedicated to protecting the waters of the Baltic Sea. And the final concert of the tour, at the Catherine Palace in St. Petersburg, was a special performance for delegates to the 20th annual Baltic Sea Day, an international forum that focuses on ways to protect the Baltic Sea environment.

Acclaim from critics and audiences
The irrepressible energy of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic impressed the reviewer from the Helsingin Sanomat, who wrote of the Helsinki concert: ‘In an entertaining first half, Järvi’s Aurora captured the joyous dance of the sun, and seemed to call all the nations of the Baltic Sea together in a merry midsummer celebration. Playing by heart undoubtedly welds the ensemble together both physically and mentally, and strengthens communication. The atmosphere was colourful, with Järvi inspiring his players like a circus ringmaster.’

Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks was in the audience at Riga’s Great Guild Hall to hear his violin concerto Lonely Angel. He commented: ‘Who cannot like Kristjan Järvi? He has such a youthful spirit, and carries all the young musicians with him. He’s also looking for new methods of presenting orchestral music, and new ways to attract young people to experience symphony orchestras. It’s a miracle.’

‘Midnight Sun’ tour to come
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Midnight Sun’ tour of Germany in June and July 2019 is the next step on the orchestra’s journey to realise hitherto unseen and unheard concert experiences. The tour is inspired by the phenomenon of the sun never setting at night, and will feature Norwegian violinist Mari Samuelsen and Mick Pedaja in a programme that will be performed completely from memory. The debut of ‘Midnight Sun’ will be on 26 June at the Berlin Philharmonie. A second performance will follow at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie on 2 July.

See our Facebook page and Instagram feed for concert videos, performance shots and behind-the-scenes photos from the ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour

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