Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians concluded historic residency of the New York Philharmonic at the Usedom Music Festival

With two chamber music concerts in Wolgast and in the Baltic Sea resort Heringsdorf, musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and the New York Philharmonic ended the exclusive European residency of the US orchestra at the Usedom Music Festival. The world-renowned US orchestra and its music director Jaap van Zweden gave three concerts in Peenemünde on the Baltic Sea island of Usedom from 20–22 May. The opening concert of the residency featured twelve players from the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, who performed ‘Side by Side’ with the New York Philharmonic in Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9. Musicians from both orchestras – five from the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and six from the New York Philharmonic – also came together for two chamber music concerts on 23 and 24 May performing Barber’s Summer Music and Brahms’s String Sextet No. 2.

A unique collaboration in a perfect setting
The programme for these chamber music concerts was devised by the New York Philharmonic and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic in collaboration. The playful, dreamy Summer Music by American composer Samuel Barber, in which the instruments intertwined imaginatively in many voices, was followed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s humorous Horn Quintet in E-flat Major KV 407. In the second part of the atmospheric concerts, the audience heard the second String Sextet by German composer Johannes Brahms, which holds a cryptogram as a reminder of Brahms’s childhood love.

For the musicians of both orchestras, the collaboration was an enriching and gratifying experience. Richard Deane, principal horn player of the New York Philharmonic, said: ‘The whole Usedom Music Festival was great fun. And there were great synergies between the musicians. The musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic wanted to learn, and we also learned a lot and got to know different styles. We became friends and had a great time.’ Alexey Mikhaylenko, clarinettist and senior musician of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, was surprised by the way of playing and the convincing technical quality of the New York Philharmonic: ‘Sitting and playing inside of the NYPhil is comparable to sitting in a space craft – a perfectly organised machine, which goes forward without any delays and with visual lightness of performing.’ For Viktoria Kassel, an oboist with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, unforgettable memories are linked to the collaboration: ‘I learned so much and met so many wonderful new people and musicians, I would never want to miss this experience. I am impressed by how perfectly yet realistically the musicians of the New Yorker Philharmonic make music. It’s not about the individuals, it’s about the whole, about the music and about offering the audience a special kind of concert experience. It reminds me a lot of our own orchestra, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic – maybe that’s why the collaboration worked so well straight away.’

Playing ‘Side by Side’ with the New York Philharmonic marked the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s first performance collaboration with such an illustrious world-class orchestra. The Usedom Music Festival has been the natural host for this coming together, as the Baltic Sea Philharmonic was founded at the festival in 2008 and considers Usedom its birthplace and its home beside the Baltic Sea. Usedom also connects the two orchestras, through the late maestro Kurt Masur. The great German conductor became the first patron of the Usedom Music Festival during his tenure as music director of the New York Philharmonic, and one of his last concerts was with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic in Peenemünde at the 2013 Usedom Music Festival. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and the New York Philharmonic were among a group of six international orchestras that co-commissioned Steve Reich’s 2018 Music for Ensemble and Orchestra; the Baltic Sea Philharmonic gave the German premiere of the piece in September 2019 at the Usedom Music Festival, and the New York Philharmonic gave the New York premiere in December 2019.

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC EMPOWERS ITS MUSICIANS TO EXPLORE NEW CREATIVE PATH WITH ITS ‘MUSICAL CHAIN – PRODUCERS EDITION’

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic today releases a new single in its ‘Musical Chain’ series, Hollow in the tree. Composed by orchestra members Mintautas Kriščiūnas and Zuzanna Wąsiewicz, the track is out now on Estonian independent label nEscapes. An accompanying music video, produced and directed by another member of the orchestra, Ludwig Angerhöfer, is available to watch on the orchestra’s social media channels. An engaging fusion of electronic textures and orchestral soundscapes, the music for Hollow in the tree was recorded by the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi on the island of Usedom in September 2021. Further tracks written and produced by Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians as part of the ‘Producers Edition’, an expansion of the ‘Musical Chain’ series, will be released on nEscapes later in 2022 with accompanying music videos.

Empowering creativity and collaboration

The ‘Musical Chain’ series of collaborative music videos launched in July 2020 as a way of bringing Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians together virtually during the pandemic lockdowns and connecting them with other artists and video producers. In the summer of 2021 the project was extended with the ‘Producers Edition’, which invited members of the orchestra to create their own music and videos, and gave them the opportunity to showcase their talents as composers, producers, scriptwriters, sound engineers and videographers. After submitting ideas for music and video projects, selected musicians collaborated in small teams to compose and produce their tracks and bring their stories alive on video. At a dedicated recording session on Usedom, the composers worked with Kristjan Järvi and professional sound engineers to record their creations. The musicians selected to produce and direct films for the music tracks worked under the guidance of professional videographers. Through the ‘Producers Edition’, members of the orchestra have learned new skills and tools and developed collaborative ways of working, as well as growing their entrepreneurial potential.

Behind the scenes

With Hollow in the tree, Lithuanian violist Mintautas Kriščiūnas and Polish harpist Zuzanna Wąsiewicz have created a compelling union of electronic music, layered acoustic harp and the sound of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic. They describe the piece as reflecting the human condition in an ever-changing modern world in which nature struggles to survive in the face of mechanical and destructive human development. The conflict between these two forces comes through in the climax of the piece, but throughout the work the peace and strength of nature offers a constant flow and drive, as well as a sense of hope.

For Wąsiewicz, Hollow in the tree was a departure from composing purely acoustic music. ‘This project was the first time I had worked with electronics and effects,’ she says. ‘It’s also the first work I’ve ever had released, so I’m very excited.’ Kriščiūnas is no stranger to releasing his own music but jumped at the chance to be part of the ‘Producers Edition’. ‘I’ve learned so much already as a member of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic,’ he says. ‘It’s been a great opportunity to grow as a musician, so I had no hesitation to join this project.’

German tuba player Ludwig Angerhöfer responded to the flow and forward motion of the Hollow in the tree music with a video that captures the power of nature, and especially the energy of water, but also showcases the musicians of the orchestra. He filmed in five countries, including Latvia, where one location was Europe’s widest waterfall, and he also shot under water. He says: ‘As a tuba player, I’m used to being at the back of the orchestra, providing the fundamental bass but not always contributing throughout a piece. The “Producers Edition” was a great opportunity to create something whole myself, to step out to the front and showcase more of my abilities.’

Check out the Hollow in the tree video now on the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s YouTube channel

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Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi complete ‘Nordic Swans’ tour of Belgium, Germany and Poland with Freedom and Solidarity Concert

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi’s ‘Nordic Swans’ tour of Belgium, Germany and Poland ended last night with a heartfelt Freedom and Solidarity Concert in Gdańsk. After making a memorable Belgian debut at Antwerp’s Queen Elisabeth Hall on 23 March, the orchestra returned to a sold-out Berlin Philharmonie on 24 March before giving an inspirational performance at Gdańsk’s European Solidarity Centre in which Russian artists also performed together with the Ukrainian musician Ruslan Trochynskyi. This closing concert was held under the patronage of the German Consulate General in Gdańsk and the City of Gdańsk. With the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic was finally able to return to the stage as a full-sized, 65-strong orchestra, and the ‘Nordic Swans’ tour saw it perform its completely memorised, swan-inspired progamme to a total of around 3,200 concert-goers.

Solidarity with Ukraine
As an ensemble that brings together musicians from ten countries around the Baltic Sea region, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic is a force for unity and collaboration in Europe. With war in Ukraine, the orchestra stands with the Ukrainian people, and this solidarity found powerful expression in Gdańsk, the city that gave birth in 1980 to the Solidarity movement which would play a major role in ending Communist rule in Poland. The concert was broadcast as livestream on the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s YouTube channel, as well as on Channel Aid and ERR Kultuuriportaal. The German Consul General in Gdańsk, Cornelia Pieper, also paid tribute to all those in Ukraine fighting for freedom: ‘Over 40 years ago Polish heroes stood up for their rights resulting in freedom for many countries in Central and Eastern Europe and the fall of the Berlin Wall.’. She appealed to the audience to fight for freedom again and again. Kristjan Järvi, who as a child fled Soviet-ruled Estonia with his family, spoke of the power of dialogue and understanding as a force against aggression and oppression: ‘In music we are all equal. There are no borders, no nationalities. In music we are all brothers and sisters. The orchestra and the place, the European Center of Solidarność are the best examples of this idea of humanity and unity against violence and oppression.’.

Kristjan Järvi and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic brought to Gdańsk their own musical tribute to Ukraine in the shape of a new piece, Child of the Nightingale, co-written by Järvi and Ukrainian musician Ruslan Trochynskyi. The nightingale is the national bird of Ukraine and often appears in Ukrainian folk songs and folk tales. Trochynskyi joined the orchestra on stage in Gdańsk for the world premiere, which also marked the launch of Järvi’s new digital music project #musichainforukraine. This initiative, which builds on the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s recent series of collaborative music videos, will invite musicians around the world to record and post their own versions of the Child of the Nightingale melody on social media, and thus create a virtual musical chain as a powerful expression unity and solidarity.

The livestream of the Gdańsk concert will be available on the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s YouTube channel for one week, and Estonian television channel ETV will broadcast a recording of the concert on Thursday 31 March.

Nordic Swans’ – a spectacle of light and dark, of grace and dance
Inspired by the majestic swan, a bird cherished in many Nordic cultures for its strength, purity and grace, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Nordic Swans’ programme comprised Arvo Pärt’s contemplative Swansong, Sibelius’s haunting The Swan of Tuonela, and Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, strikingly arranged as a Dramatic Symphony by Kristjan Järvi. As one of its encores, the orchestra introduced an uplifting new work, The Dream of Tabu-tabu, composed by Liis Jürgens, an Estonian harpist in the ensemble.

In signature Baltic Sea Philharmonic style, the orchestra performed the entire 100-minute programme completely from memory, with most of the musicians able to move freely and truly embrace the dance essence of Swan Lake. This unique style of stage presentation was complemented by atmospheric lighting design and bespoke concert outfits in black and white, evoking the shapes and movement of swans on dark water. In his review for Der Tagesspiegel of the Berlin concert, Fredrik Hanssen highlighted the energy and verve emanating from conductor and orchestra: ‘Without a podium or baton, Kristjan Järvi acts in the midst of the ensemble as primus inter pares, dancing the score, letting the sounds flow through his body and translating every musical turn into movement… The atmosphere in the sold-out Philharmonie is so swan-tastic, as the streams of energy flow so happily from the stage into the hall and back!’ Rainer Balcerowiak wrote for the magazine for political culture Cicero: The orchestra follows him [=Kristjan Järvi] attentively and has recognizably great fun. And some choreographed movement sequences and the discreet but precise lighting design turn this already breath-taking concert experience, presented without a break, into a multimedia experience… After just two hours, you leave the Berlin Philharmonie with a relaxed smile and a liberated head flooded with light and sound. It is such relatively brief moments of pleasure, in which there is no war, no Corona and no climate crisis in the mind that are so indispensable for mental health.’

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Livestream of the ‘Nordic Swans’ concert in Gdańsk on 26 March

The concert will be held under the patronage of the German Consulate General in Gdańsk and the City of Gdańsk.

Gdańsk is the birthplace of the Solidarity movement, which played a major role in ending Communist rule in Poland. The movement’s founding leader Lech Wałęsa, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 and served as Polish president from 1990 to 1995, strongly condemns the war against Ukraine: ‘This war is a disgrace and a slap in the face for humanity and the modern world. At the same time, it is a challenge for the free democratic world.’ He adds that ‘peace is absolutely necessary for us to survive as a species, for the world to survive. And we must prove that the wiser democratic part of the world is stronger.’

The ‘Nordic Swans’ programme, performed entirely from memory, features swan-inspired music by Arvo Pärt (Swansong), Sibelius (The Swan of Tuonela) and Tchaikovsky (Swan Lake, newly arranged by Kristjan Järvi as a Dramatic Symphony). But another bird will share the spotlight in Gdańsk, as the performance opens with the world premiere of Child of the Nightingale, a new piece written by Kristjan Järvi and Ukrainian musician Ruslan Trochynskyi, from the folk band Svjata Vatra. The nightingale is the national bird of Ukraine and is often invoked in Ukrainian folklore and folksong as a harbinger of spring and a singer of sweet sounds. Trochynskyi will join Kristjan Järvi on stage in Gdańsk to perform their creation with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic.

‘Nordic Swans’ – Freedom and Solidarity Concert
Livestream on the YouTube Channel of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Saturday, 26 March 2022, 8.00pm CET live from Gdańsk (Poland)

Schedule of the livestream and concert:

Joint statement by
Cornelia Pieper, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Gdańsk
Kristjan Järvi, Artistic Director of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Ruslan Trochynskyi, Ukrainian artist

‘Nordic Swans’
Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Kristjan Järvi
Special Guest Ruslan Trochynskyi

Kristjan Järvi / Ruslan Trochynskyi
Child of the Nightingale (world premiere)

Arvo Pärt
Swansong

Jean Sibelius
The Swan of Tuonela

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Swan Lake. Dramatic Symphony arranged by Kristjan Järvi

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The German Consulate General in Gdańsk, the City of Gdańsk and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic champion unity and solidarity with Ukraine

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi close out their ‘Nordic Swans’ tour of Belgium (Antwerp, 23 March), Germany (Berlin, 24 March) and Poland with a special Freedom and Solidarity Concert at the European Solidarity Centre in Gdańsk on 26 March. The concert will be held under the patronage of the German Consulate General in Gdańsk and the City of Gdańsk. The event also sees the launch of a new initiative by Kristjan Järvi, #musichainforukraine.

As the world witnesses lives and freedoms being attacked in Ukraine, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and calls for peace and unity in Europe. As an ensemble that brings together musicians from ten countries around the Baltic Sea region, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic has always had a mission to connect people and communities across Europe. The orchestra recognises that now it is more important than ever to support dialogue and understanding between nations. Gdańsk is the birthplace of the Solidarity movement, which played a major role in ending Communist rule in Poland. The movement’s founding leader Lech Wałęsa, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 and served as Polish president from 1990 to 1995, strongly condemns the war against Ukraine: ‘This war is a disgrace and a slap in the face for humanity and the modern world. At the same time, it is a challenge for the free democratic world.’ He adds that ‘peace is absolutely necessary for us to survive as a species, for the world to survive. And we must prove that the wiser democratic part of the world is stronger.’ The livestream of the performance will be on the YouTube channel of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic on Saturday 26 Mach at 8.00pm CET.

A world premiere and the launch of a digital music solidarity project
The ‘Nordic Swans’ programme, performed entirely from memory, features swan-inspired music by Arvo Pärt (Swansong), Sibelius (The Swan of Tuonela) and Tchaikovsky (Swan Lake, newly arranged by Kristjan Järvi as a Dramatic Symphony). But another bird will share the spotlight in Gdańsk, as the performance opens with the world premiere of Child of the Nightingale, a new piece written by Kristjan Järvi and Ukrainian musician Ruslan Trochynskyi, from the folk band Svjata Vatra. The nightingale is the national bird of Ukraine and is often invoked in Ukrainian folklore and folksong as a harbinger of spring and a singer of sweet sounds. Trochynskyi will join Kristjan Järvi on stage in Gdańsk to perform their creation with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic.

Child of the Nightingale also heralds the launch of #musichainforukraine, a new digital project by Kristjan Järvi that aims to connect people through the power of music. Building on a series of innovative music videos that the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi have been creating collaboratively throughout the pandemic, #musichainforukraine will invite musicians around the world to record and post their own versions of the Child of the Nightingale melody on social media, thereby creating an organic musical chain that stands for peace, freedom and solidarity. Kristjan Järvi says: ‘It is time to create a living and breathing monument that will remind all those who are waging wars against humanity that we will not give up and that we cannot be defeated. I invite everyone to come together and send a message of peace and solidarity in the most universal language of the world – the language of music. Record your own version of Child of the Nightingale and post it online using #musichainforukraine or #musichain. This is how we will create a virtual sound chain, an unbreakable proof of our unity, and the belief that dark times will end when we share the light.’

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Solidarity with Ukraine

We strongly condemn the invasion of Ukraine.

Our thoughts and solidarity are with the peaceful people of Ukraine, which includes many friends and relatives of our musicians.

We stand for hope and unity in Europe and have discontinued all ties with all entities supporting this type of aggression.

This community of musicians from the Baltic Sea region, from Norway to Russia, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic is a movement uniting people since 2008. As a flagship for cooperation we are more than an orchestra, building bridges at the best and worst of times contributing to cultural and social understanding and reconciliation throughout Europe.

Our Music Director Kristjan Järvi, who is an Estonian citizen fled his country as a child due to the soviet occupation. He knows the devastation of this type of aggression first hand. Together our aim is to create a forum to overcome our differences and prosper. We will continue to strive to connect everyone through our shared values, dignity and respect for humanity.

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC TO TOUR BELGIUM, GERMANY AND POLAND IN MARCH 2022 WITH MEMORISED ‘NORDIC SWANS’ CONCERT EXPERIENCE

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will return to the concert stage next month with their first major tour of 2022. Bringing its acclaimed ‘Nordic Swans’ programme to Belgium, Germany and Poland from 23–26 March, the orchestra will perform entirely memorised concerts in Antwerp, Berlin and Gdańsk. With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions the Baltic Sea Philharmonic is able to tour again as a full-size orchestra, with featured soloists drawn from the ensemble of 66 musicians. All three scheduled ‘Nordic Swans’ concerts will depend on the progress of the pandemic.

The tour opener at Antwerp’s Queen Elisabeth Hall on 23 March will be the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s debut concert in Belgium. After performing at the Berlin Philharmonie on 24 March, the orchestra will end the tour in Gdańsk on 26 March with a special ‘Freedom Concert’ at the European Solidarity Centre, to be given in collaboration with the German Consulate General in Gdańsk.

A spectacular concert experience

Internationally acclaimed for its signature memorised performances, the orchestra will play the entire 90-minute ‘Nordic Swans’ programme by heart and without an intermission, with most of the musicians standing up and able to move freely. Specially devised choreography and bespoke half-black and half-white concert outfits will conjure an impression of swans dancing and moving on dark water, and dynamic lighting design will add to the evocative atmosphere. All these elements aim to inspire in audiences a deeper and more immediate understanding of the music. They also reflect the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s innovative and experimental approach and its desire to add an extra dimension to every performance.

Celebrating a cherished symbol of Nordic culture

The orchestra’s tour programme is inspired by one of nature’s noblest creatures – the swan. Often visible on the Baltic coast, especially at sunset, this majestic bird holds a special place in Nordic culture. Kristjan Järvi says: ‘Swans are creatures of great purity and beauty, and all the Nordic countries have them in their culture, which is why we’re focusing the repertoire in this way.’

The programme opens with Arvo Pärt’s hymn-like and contemplative Swansong, and continues with the most well-known of Sibelius’s Four Legends from the Kalevala, The Swan of Tuonela. A special reworking by Kristjan Järvi of Tchaikovsky’s ballet Swan Lake brings the programme to a climax. Explaining his aim was to ‘highlight the brilliance of Tchaikovsky’s epic work’ and also ‘keep the music alive for younger generations’, Järvi arranged the score as a Dramatic Symphony that combines the composer’s famous melodies with more rarely heard sections of the original ballet.

Future tours in 2022 to include Germany and Switzerland
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will next be touring in the second half of 2022, with a return to Peenemünde for the Usedom Music Festival in September, and a tour of Switzerland in December. The orchestra’s concert programmes in the second half of the year will feature a new inspired arrangement by Kristjan Järvi of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet The Nutcracker. This will be the third Tchaikovsky masterpiece that Järvi has transformed into a Dramatic Symphony, after Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty.

For more information about the March 2022 ‘Nordic Swans’ concert schedule, and for ticket links, see here

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC’S FIRST TRANSFORMATIONAL MUSIC VIDEO ‘MIDNIGHT MOOD’ RELEASED TODAY AS SINGLE ON NESCAPES

The music track of Midnight Mood, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s first video in its digital project ‘Musical Chain’, is released today on Estonian label nEscapes. With the release of this first single in 2022, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic hopes that the world will soon see an end to the pandemic, which has deprived so many musicians and audiences of live music. The innovative ‘Musical Chain’ series of music videos features striking transformations of iconic classical pieces, and ‘Midnight Mood’ is inspired by ‘Morning Mood’ from Grieg’s Peer Gynt – a new beginning for 2022. Kristjan Järvi wrote, mixed and produced the track, which features 13 musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic from Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Finland and Germany, who recorded themselves at home during the early summer of 2020 when all of Europe was in lockdown due to the pandemic.

‘Midnight Mood’ is the fourth single from the ‘Musical Chain’ series to be released on nEscapes; the first, ‘Ascending Swans’, a track inspired by the ‘Song of Praise’ from Sibelius’s Swanwhite Suite, came out on 24 September 2021. ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’, an electronics-infused take on the composer’s Symphony No. 5, followed on 5 November, and ‘Nutty Christmas’, a fun seasonal take on Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet The Nutcracker, was released on 3 December. More ‘Musical Chain’ tracks are set for release on nEscapes during 2022.

Sounds of a new beginning

The music for ‘Midnight Mood’ captures the anticipation of a new dawn. Soothing strings and electronics are slowly joined by more instruments, reflecting the growing light of a new Nordic day. The ‘Midnight Mood’ video was released on the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s social media channels in July 2020 and has had more than 20,000 views on YouTube and almost 60,000 views on Facebook. The video intercuts black-and-white footage of 13 Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians, who filmed themselves performing at home, with striking Nordic landscapes.

Boundary-breaking audiovisuals, and musicians as composers

‘Musical Chain’ reflects the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s boundary-breaking spirit, its passion for innovative collaborations, and its dedication to communicating through digital media the energy, style and creative freedom of its live performances. It is also a symbol of unity and solidarity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic: inspired by the human chain formed by people across the three Baltic States in August 1989, it brings together musicians from across Europe with other artistic collaborators and professional video producers.

Recutting musical gems for the 21st century, the four ‘Musical Chain’ videos released in 2020 – ‘Midnight Mood’, ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’, ‘Ascending Swans’ and ‘Nutty Christmas’ – all feature footage of Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians performing at home or in atmospheric landscapes or cityscapes. The release in August 2021 of ‘Midnight Sun’ took ‘Musical Chain’ in a new creative direction, with original music written and produced by Kristjan Järvi and visuals that combine monochrome images of nature and landscapes with eyecatching geometric animations. The music track of ‘Midnight Sun’ was also released as a single, in both a radio edit and a long version, on BMG/Modern Recordings.

‘Musical Chain’ will develop further in 2022 with Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians creating their own original material as composers and producers, and collaborating with fellow musicians and creative professionals. New videos will be available on the orchestra’s social media channels and audio tracks will be released on the nEscapes label.

Watch all the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Musical Chain’ videos on our YouTube page here

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Baltic Sea Philharmonic single ‘Nutty Christmas’ out now on nEscapes

The music track from ‘Nutty Christmas’, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s fourth video in its digital project ‘Musical Chain’, is released today on Estonian label nEscapes. The innovative ‘Musical Chain’ series of music videos features striking transformations of iconic classical pieces, a one of a kind in the orchestral world. With ‘Nutty Christmas’, Kristjan Järvi and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic have reimagined music from Tchaikovsky’s beloved ballet The Nutcracker in their own unique style, making a very special Christmas gift for listeners around the world. Mixed and produced by Kristjan Järvi, the track features 22 musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, who recorded themselves at home during late 2020. ‘Nutty Christmas’ is the third single from the ‘Musical Chain’ series to be released on nEscapes; the first, ‘Ascending Swans’, came out on 24 September, and the second, ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’, was released on 5 November. The ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’ single has so far had more than 11,000 streams on Spotify alone, featuring on 54 playlists, with the most listeners coming from the US, UK and Germany. Upcoming ‘Musical Chain’ tracks will be released on nEscapes during 2022.

A unique musical Christmas cracker

‘Nutty Christmas’ takes the ‘Dance of the Reed Pipes’ and the ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’ from The Nutcracker and fuses their inimitable melodies with contemporary beats to create a crackling, toasty new version of this iconic Tchaikovsky score. The video for ‘Nutty Christmas’ was released on the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s social media channels in December 2020 and has since had almost 28,000 views on YouTube and over 72,000 views on Facebook, making it the most popular video in the ‘Musical Chain’ series. Beyond its success online, ‘Nutty Christmas’ was also broadcast to hundreds of thousands of TV viewers in Germany, Switzerland and Austria in the run-up to Christmas 2020.

The ‘Nutty Christmas’ video features musicians of the orchestra, most of whom filmed themselves outside in wintry landscapes and city streets lit up by Christmas decorations. Reflecting the international make-up of the orchestra, the film takes in performances from Wroclaw, Berlin, Hamburg, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Belgrade, Madrid and the countryside of Finland and Lithuania. A professional production team edited the video, which captures the Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians in a fun and festive mood.

Watch all the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Musical Chain’ videos on our YouTube page here

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC SINGLE ‘BEETHOVEN’S TWILIGHT’ RELEASED on nEscapes

An extended, six-and-a-half minute version of the music track from ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s second video in its digital project ‘Musical Chain’, is released today on Estonian label nEscapes. The innovative ‘Musical Chain’ series of music videos features striking transformations of iconic classical pieces, a one of a kind in the orchestral world. ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’ is inspired by the composer’s Symphony No. 5. Kristjan Järvi mixed and produced the track, which features 21 musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, who recorded themselves at home during the summer of 2020.

‘Beethoven’s Twilight’ is the second single from the ‘Musical Chain’ series to be released on nEscapes; the first, ‘Ascending Swans’, which came out on 24 September, has had nearly 20,000 streams on Spotify alone. More tracks from the series are set for release on the label later this year and in 2022.

Orchestral energy with an electronic edge
The music for ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’ pays homage to the composer’s indomitable spirit, celebrating him as the rock star of his time. The track is at once energetic and mysterious, enlightening but dark, vibrant yet intimate. Its remixing of orchestral sound and electronics channels Beethoven’s spirit as if from another dimension. The ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’ video was released on the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s social media channels in September 2020 and has since had almost 15,000 views on YouTube and 27,000 views on Facebook.

Musical gems recut for the 21st century
The ‘Musical Chain’ series of music videos launched in July 2020 with ‘Midnight Mood’, based on Grieg’s ‘Morning Mood’ from Peer Gynt. After the release of ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’, the third video in the series was ‘Ascending Swans’, which came out in November 2020. The music for this video is based on the ‘Song of Praise’ from Sibelius’s Swanwhite Suite, one of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s favourite encore pieces. The series continued with ‘Nutty Christmas’, a fun seasonal take on Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker which was also broadcast to hundreds of thousands of TV viewers in Germany, Switzerland and Austria in the run-up to Christmas in 2020.

‘Musical Chain’ reflects the orchestra’s boundary-breaking spirit, its passion for innovative collaborations, and its dedication to communicating through digital media the energy, style and freedom of its live performances. It is also a symbol of unity and solidarity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic: inspired by the human chain formed by people across the three Baltic States in August 1989, it brings together musicians from across Europe with other artistic collaborators and professional video producers.

The latest ‘Musical Chain’ video, ‘Midnight Sun’, which was released in August 2021, takes the series in a new creative direction, with original music written and produced by Kristjan Järvi and visuals that combine monochrome images of nature and landscapes with eyecatching geometric animations. The music track of ‘Midnight Sun’ was also released as a single, in both a radio edit and a long version, on BMG/Modern Recordings.

Watch all the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Musical Chain’ videos on our YouTube page here

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