2019 IN REVIEW – BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC LOOKS BACK ON YEAR OF EXCITING INNOVATIONS AND COLLABORATIONS

With 2020 around the corner, and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s first concert of the new year coming up fast on 4 January, there’s just time to reflect on what’s been another landmark twelve months for the orchestra. Building on the success of our 2018 tenth-anniversary year, 2019 was another year of innovation for the Baltic Sea Philharmonic. For the first time, the orchestra performed an entire programme not just from memory but with no breaks, creating a continuous flow of music with the addition of improvised transitional sections. New collaborations with guest soloists included the orchestra’s first-ever partnership with a singer-songwriter. And the Baltic Sea Philharmonic gave its debut performance in Budapest, one of the great European musical centres.

Three major tours in 2019 took the musicians to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Russia, Germany, Austria, Italy and Hungary, with the orchestra performing twelve concerts for a total audience of 13,000. The ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour of the Baltic States, Finland and Russia in March featured the orchestra’s first collaboration with Estonian singer-songwriter Mick Pedaja, whose flowing, electronic-tinged songs evoked the mysticism and beauty of Nordic landscapes. Swiss violinist David Nebel also joined the orchestra as soloist in works by Kristjan Järvi, Pēteris Vasks and Gediminas Gelgotas. A highlight of the programme was Kristjan’s new concert suite of music from Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty. This 70-minute symphonic drama was performed completely from memory.

Our ‘Midnight Sun’ tour in June and July featured concerts in Germany and Austria, with Mari Samuelsen as soloist and Mick and Angeelia Pedaja as special guests. Musical highlights included Rautavaara’s magical Cantus Arcticus and Stravinsky’s The Firebird, with the orchestra playing the whole two-hour programme from memory, as a single unbroken ‘track’.

During the ‘Nordic Pulse’ and ‘Midnight Sun’ tours, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic held a concurrent ‘Talent Tour’ to recruit new members and refresh the pool of outstanding musicians who perform in the orchestra on tour. We welcomed a total of around 100 players from across all the orchestral instrumental sections to auditions in Palanga, Riga, Tallinn, Helsinki, St. Petersburg and Berlin.

In September the ‘Divine Geometry’ tour imaginatively intertwined arrangements of Baroque masterpieces with major new works by American minimalists Philip Glass and Steve Reich. At the Merano Music Festival and Usedom Music Festival, Simone Dinnerstein was the soloist in Glass’s Piano Concerto No. 3, and in the Usedom concert the orchestra gave the German premiere of Reich’s Music for Ensemble and Orchestra. Both concerts were sold out and were recorded for broadcast.

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic closed 2019 with a ‘Midnight Sun’ concert in Budapest on 19 November. Making its Hungarian debut, the orchestra was joined by Budapest-born pianist József Balog for a programme including Grieg’s Piano Concerto and Peer Gynt Suite No. 1. Away from the concert hall, there was one more special event in November – the world premiere screening in Tallinn of Nordic Pulse, a new documentary starring the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi. This fascinating portrait of the orchestra received an enthusiastic reception at the Black Nights Film Festival on 28 November, and is set for international release in 2020.

See our Facebook page and Instagram feed for photos from our 2019 tours, and watch the trailer for Nordic Pulse here

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MAJOR INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL IN TALLINN HOSTS WORLD PREMIERE OF BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC DOCUMENTARY NORDIC PULSE

Nordic Pulse, an inspirational film portrait of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi, received its world premiere last night at the 23rd Black Nights Film Festival in Kristjan’s home city of Tallinn, Estonia. The premiere was attended by Kristjan and a number of the orchestra’s musicians, as well as senior directors of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and the production company Sunbeam Productions.

The screening was followed by a special Q&A session featuring Kristjan and two of the musicians who starred in the film – trumpet player Märt Metsla from Estonia, and violinist Ilze Gagaine from Latvia. One of the biggest film festivals in northern Europe, the Black Nights Film Festival screens around 250 features and welcomes 80,000 film goers every year. Nordic Pulse was a guest film at this year’s festival and is set for international release in summer 2020.

Directed by acclaimed filmmaker David Donnelly (Maestro, Forte), Nordic Pulse follows the orchestra and Kristjan on two landmark European tours in 2017 – ‘Waterworks’ and ‘Baltic Folk’. The film explores how the Baltic Sea Philharmonic challenges expectations of what an orchestra can be, and it’s also the story of a visionary artist, leader and entrepreneur who wants to transform the concert experience for audiences and change their way of thinking about the world.

The audience reaction – ‘inspiring’ and ‘insightful’
‘Inspirational’ was the word used by many cinema goers as they gave their reaction to the film after the premiere screening. ‘The viewer feels the emotions, the excitement, the expectations and the relief and success of the orchestra,’ said one. ‘The film provides a great insight into the world and work of an orchestra,’ said another. One audience member commented that ‘The film brings across the vibes of this orchestral experience in the best possible way,’ adding that ‘Kristjan is amazing in his approach to what he does, and the film manages to give a real understanding of what is happening in his mind.’

With ‘Waterworks’, Kristjan wanted to transport audiences to a new dimension, and Nordic Pulse captures the unique atmosphere as an expert creative team from Sunbeam Productions transforms the musical performance into an immersive concert experience with lighting, sound design and projection art. On the ‘Baltic Folk’ tour the orchestra made history by performing Stravinsky’s The Firebird from memory for the first time. Nordic Pulse shows the musicians’ journeys from wondering whether playing such a complex score by heart is even possible, to feeling like it’s the most natural and inspiring experience they’ve ever had in an orchestra. The film also reveals how performing from memory has become a signature of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, with the musicians now regularly performing entire 120-minute programmes by heart, improvising, dancing, and singing.

Watch the trailer of Nordic Pulse here and see photos of the Tallinn premiere here

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC MAKES HUNGARIAN DEBUT WITH MEMORISED PERFORMANCE AT MÜPA BUDAPEST

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic brought its twelfth year of international touring to a close with a warmly received debut in Budapest on 19 November. Under the baton of Founding Conductor and Music Director Kristjan Järvi, the orchestra performed the 100-minute ‘Midnight Sun’ programme of music by Grieg and Stravinsky entirely from memory. Budapest-born pianist József Balog joined the orchestra as soloist in Grieg’s Piano Concerto, and the programme also included another celebrated work by Grieg – the Peer Gynt Suite No. 1. The performance climaxed with 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.

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic was proud to be performing for the first time in Hungary, a country with such a rich musical history and so many great composers, from Liszt, Bartók and Kodály to Ligeti, Kurtág and others. The musicians were also excited to be bringing a new kind of concert experience to the Budapest audience: not only did they perform the complete programme from memory, but they 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 1,656 concert goers in the sold-out Béla Bartók Concert Hall at Müpa Budapest two special encores – the Finale from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, and an Estonian folk song, Arg Kosilane, which the musicians sung.

Next up for Kristjan and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic is an exciting new collaboration with British indie band Bastille for ‘Channel Aid – Live in Concert’ at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie on 4 January 2020. Major European tours later next year will see the orchestra perform in Poland, Germany, Belgium, Italy and Russia.

See our Facebook page and Instagram feed for photos of ‘Midnight Sun’ in Budapest

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC DOCUMENTARY NORDIC PULSE TO PREMIERE AT TALLINN BLACK NIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL ON 28 NOVEMBER

An inspirational documentary about the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will receive its world premiere at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia on 28 November. Nordic Pulse, which was directed by acclaimed filmmaker David Donnelly (Maestro, Forte), follows the orchestra on two landmark European tours that it made in 2017 – ‘Waterworks’ and ‘Baltic Folk’. It’s a portrait of an exceptional group of musicians from ten different nations who come together for a journey of self-discovery. The film explores how the Baltic Sea Philharmonic challenges expectations of what an orchestra can be, and it’s also the story of a visionary leader, Kristjan Järvi, who wants to transform the concert experience for audiences and change their way of thinking about the world.

Within the first few days of filming, Donnelly knew he was witnessing something special. “I have been documenting the classical sphere for nearly a decade,” he says, “but within minutes of the first rehearsal, I realised this was a completely unique organisation with ambitious goals that went far beyond just making music. What they are doing can’t be defined by a traditional description of an orchestra or genre.”

Nordic Pulse follows Järvi and the orchestra to nine cities in four countries, with exclusive concert footage from venues including the spectacular Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, and the poignant Historical Technical Museum in Peenemünde, the site of the Nazis’ V2 rocket facility in the Second World War, now transformed into a place of culture, peace and hope.

With ‘Waterworks’, Järvi wanted to transport audiences to a new dimension, and Nordic Pulse captures the unique atmosphere as an expert team from Sunbeam Productions transforms the musical performance into a fully immersive concert experience, complete with vibrant projections and real-time lighting and sound design. On the ‘Baltic Folk’ tour the orchestra made history by performing Stravinsky’s The Firebird from memory for the first time. Nordic Pulse shows the musicians’s journeys from wondering whether playing such a complex score by heart is even possible to feeling like it’s the most natural and inspiring experience they’ve ever had in an orchestra. Players began asking Järvi if the orchestra could do whole concerts from memory, and since 2017 this has indeed become a trademark of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, with the musicians now regularly performing entire 120-minute programmes by heart, improvising, dancing, and even singing.

Watch the trailer of Nordic Pulse here

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MERANO CONCERT ‘DIVINE GEOMETRY’ TO BE BROADCAST ON RAI ON 10 November 2019

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Divine Geometry’ concert at the Merano Music Festival on 20 September, which featured the Italian premiere of Philip Glass’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with US-American pianist Simone Dinnerstein, will be broadcast in full on RAI radio, on 10 November at 8.00 pm CET.

Programme ‘Divine Geometry’
Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Kristjan Järvi
Simone Dinnerstein

Johann Sebastian Bach: Chaconne, arranged by Arman Tigranyan
Philip Glass: Piano Concerto No. 3 (Italian premiere)
George Frideric Handel: Too Hot to Handel Concerti Grossi Suite, arranged by Kristjan Järvi

 

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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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