The Baltic Sea Philharmonic will give its first ever concerts in the Middle East this November, presenting its revolutionary ‘Waterworks’ programme – a new dimension to experience music – in collaboration Sunbeam Productions on a tour of the United Arab Emirates. Kristjan Järvi will conduct the orchestra in performances at Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace on 11 November and the Dubai Opera on 14 November. The tour marks the climax of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s landmark tenth-anniversary year, and will be the orchestra’s first tour outside Europe.
‘Waterworks’ – inspired by the wonder of water
Water, in the form of the Baltic Sea, is at the heart of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s identity, connecting the ten Nordic countries from where the orchestra draws its musicians and inspiration. The ensemble has always been connected to nature and the environment, and ‘Waterworks’ celebrates water in all its forms. Kristjan Järvi, the orchestra’s Founding Conductor and Music Director, says: ‘Water is the essence of life and the binding force for all humanity. The Baltic Sea is the engine of our region, but it also connects us to all the other waters of the world.’ The ‘Waterworks’ programme features music directly inspired by water: a unique version of Handel’s spectacular Water Music and a new orchestration of Philip Glass’s Aguas da Amazonia. The programme also includes another work by Glass that takes its inspiration from nature – his Violin Concerto No. 2 ‘The American Four Seasons’.
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s supercharged version of Water Music sets a selection of Handel’s own music alongside two contemporary pieces: Flux by David Rozenblatt and Drenched by Charles Coleman. Rozenblatt is a percussionist, composer and member of the New York-based Absolute Ensemble, and will join the Baltic Sea Philharmonic as a performer on the ‘Waterworks’ tour. He says of his new piece: ‘Flux explores the paradoxically oppositional significance of water. What is at once majestic and enchanting, the source of life itself, can also devastate and overwhelm, becoming a threat to that very existence. My goal in this piece was to embody the motion of water, contemplating its beauty
and grandeur as well as its capacity to create or destroy.’
Reimagining the concert experience
‘Waterworks’ is a radical reinvention of the live orchestral concert. Debuted by the Baltic Sea Philharmonic in 2017 to great acclaim from critics and audiences alike, ‘Waterworks’ fuses music with state-of-the-art lighting, sound design and projection art. Kristjan Järvi and his production company Sunbeam Productions have brought together a world-class creative team in lighting designer Bertil Mark, sound designer Chris Ekers and projection artist Philipp Geist. Together they will collaborate with the orchestra in real time to reimagine the concert experience, immersing audiences in a thrilling world of sound, light and imagery. ‘I want to create an atmosphere from the moment a concert goer enters the space,’ says Järvi. ‘The audience should feel like they are suddenly entering a new dimension, a world where anything is possible.’
Friends old and new
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s tour of the United Arab Emirates will reunite the orchestra with Russian-born violinist Mikhail Simonyan and three members of the Absolute Ensemble – trumpeter Charlie Porter, bass player Mat Fieldes, and percussionist David Rozenblatt. All four musicians collaborated with the orchestra on its 2017 ‘Waterworks’ tour of Germany and Denmark. Simonyan returns as soloist in Philip Glass’s Second Violin Concerto, and the Absolute Ensemble players will be embedded in the orchestra for the whole of each performance. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic is also excited to be working for the first time with Emirati singer Jasim Mohamed Abdullah, who will join the orchestra for its concert at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi on 11 November.
The ‘Waterworks’ concert tour to the United Arab Emirates is supported by the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Culture & Knowledge Development and OMV Aktiengesellschaft as tour sponsor.
For more information about the music and musicians of ‘Waterworks’, see the complete Waterworks programme.