500 music students apply for next year’s Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic

500 musicians aged between 18–28, who were either born in or are studying in one of the ten countries around the Baltic Sea (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia or Sweden), submitted applications and will audition in one of four cities: Copenhagen (30 November); Riga (1 December); St Petersburg (2 December) and Berlin (3 and 4 December).

With around 100 places in the orchestra in 2016, competition to join is fierce, although it varies according to instrument. According to statistics, while 105 violinists have signed up to audition for 30 places, 64 flautists, 32 trombone players and 46 clarinettists have applied for the more limited wind and brass sections. 19 per cent of applications come from musicians who have already been in the orchestra, and 81 per cent are from new players, ensuring that more players from across the region will be able to have the special BYP experience, while the orchestra maintains its identity and continuity at the same time.

Auditions follow BYP’s innovative formula of being both mini masterclass and audition, offering everyone who attends the chance to benefit in some way, even if they aren’t selected, and making sure that the most talented and responsive players are chosen for the orchestra. Coaches offer feedback to players on their performance and work constructively with them in the masterclasses, which are open to the public. Coaches for the auditions this year are Jan Bjøranger and Justas Kulikauskas for strings, Martin Kuuskmann and Andrej Zust for woodwind and brass, and Damien Bassman for percussion.

For more details about our auditions, see www.auditions-bmef.eu.

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Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic picks up European Culture Prize 2015

The award is made in recognition of people and organisations that promote dialogue between European states and regions, with previous winners including Kurt Masur, Daniel Barenboim and the Berlin Philharmonic. When awarding the prestigious prize, the jury cited BYP’s ‘passionate and thrilling performances as an example to others to inspire worldwide audiences and foster cultural understanding in Europe and beyond.’

As part of the ceremony, the orchestra performed orchestral works by Beethoven and Charpentier and accompanied artists including Jonas Kaufmann, Angela Gheorghiu, Daniel Hope and Simone Kermes, under the baton of Kristjan Järvi, who received the award from the former German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, who was deeply involved in the unification of the two Germanies 25 years ago and the European integration.

Hans-Dietrich Genscher said: “Today, we are essentially witnessing a young orchestra with the message to be an ambassador of a new age! This has a lot to do with its conductor, Kristjan Järvi – one of the most powerful around the world“

Re-experience the gala event and the performance of the Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic which was live broadcast on German TV here.

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BYP to collect European Culture Prize 2015 at star-studded Dresden event

The orchestra will take to the stage of Dresden’s Frauenkirche under the baton of Kristjan Järvi and as well as performing orchestral works by Beethoven and Charpentier, will accompany celebrity singers Angela Gheorghiu and Jonas Kaufmann and other music stars. The players will end the evening with a performance of what has come to be known as the European anthem, Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’.

The orchestra was awarded the prize by the European Foundation for Culture ‘Pro Europe’ in recognition of its ‘passionate and thrilling performances as an example to others to inspire worldwide audiences and foster cultural understanding in Europe and beyond’. The award will be presented by former German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, and Daniel Barenboim will speak at the event, which will be broadcast live by Central German Broadcasting MDR.

The young players of the ten states surrounding the Baltic Sea have just returned from a successful nine-day ten-city tour of Europe.

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Classica to broadcast Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic’s Berlin Philharmonie debut, in High Definition

For this special concert in January 2014, Kristjan Järvi selected a programme of music by favourite classical Baltic Sea composers, including Bach, Wagner, Grieg, Rachmaninoff and Alvén. The orchestra was joined by internet piano sensation Valentina Lisitsa and Gramophone and Midem award-winning violinist Julia Fischer, performing Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, and Bach’s Violin Concerto in A minor, respectively.

Der Tagesspiegel wrote of the concert: ‘The music boils and steams like lava, repeatedly heralding the big eruption, until everything ends in a huge burst of sound. The public loved it.’

Clips of the concert can be viewed on BYP’s YouTube channel.

Broadcast of ‘Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic: Live from the Berlin Philharmonie’ on Classica
Thursday, 1 October, 1 pm and 8 pm
Friday, 2 October, 3 am
Sunday, 19 November, 10 am

On Sky
Thursday, 1 October, 8.15 pm

Valentina Lisitsa appears courtesy of Decca Classics. Julia Fischer appears courtesy of Unitel Classica.

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Grand Finale of Baltic Sea Voyage Tour in Gdansk

In the space of just ten days, Kristjan Järvi and the orchestra travelled through five countries (Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark and Poland), took part in two world premieres (Severi Pyysalo’s ‘Green’ Piano Concerto and Mountains. Waters. (Freedom), by Gediminas Gelgotas), performed with amateurs (Heiden) and to school children (Copenhagen), worked with three soloists (Hyeyoon Park, Heigo Rosin and Pauli Kari), gave a concert to refugees in a Welcome Concert (Hanover) and celebrated the 25th anniversary of German reunification (Gdansk).

The players now take a break until they next come together briefly on 2 October in Dresden to pick up the European Cultural Prize 2015 at a star-studded musical gala. Auditions for next year’s educational programmes and tours take place in November and December and the deadline to apply for auditions is 15 October.

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Refugees welcomed at BYP Hanover concert

Earlier in the month, he set up a Welcome Concert with MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra. His own family left Estonia in 1980, when it was part of the former Soviet Union, as refugees, and was able to settle in the US with support from a benefactor. He explained why it is important for the Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic to show its support in the current emergency: ‘This crisis is man-made and only we humans can solve it. We wanted to welcome and comfort the many around us who have been forced to leave their homelands. Music shows us the power of diverse people working together to create a strong society. This is what BYP stands for, and we wanted to reassure the refugees that they can be part of our society and that there is safety and hope for them in Europe.’

The programme for the concert at the NDR Sendesaal in Hanover included works by composers from the Baltic Sea region Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Arvo Pärt, Wojciech Kilar and Imants Kalniņš, and Hyeyoon Park performed Camille Saint-Saëns’s Third Violin Concerto. The event will be broadcast on NDR Radio later this year and was the fifth concert of BYP’s 9-city tour of Germany, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland and Poland.

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On your marks, get set, go! BYP autumn tour begins today

The musicians are currently in Heiden, Germany, where they are getting ready to perform Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol Op. 3 under the baton of Founding Conductor Kristjan Järvi. They will also accompany Heigo Rosin in Erkki Sven Tüür’s Ardor for marimba and orchestra and violinist Hyeyoon Park in Saint-Saëns’s Violin Concerto No. 3.

While the orchestra is in Heiden, as part of their commitment to the community, five of its players have been coaching 40 members of the German local brass and marching bands Musikkappelle Heiden and Spielmannszug Heiden, in Berlioz’s Marche hongroise and Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries. Twenty of these amateurs will have the chance of their life to perform with BYP and Kristjan Järvi before the orchestra’s main evening concert today in Heiden.

From Heiden, the 75 musicians of the Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic will travel across Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark and Poland, with highlights including a return to the place where the orchestra was formed in 2008 – Usedom Music Festival, where it will perform at the opening concert (19 September). It makes its debut at Zurich Tonhalle on 12 September and returns to Milan and Verona (14 and 15 September).

The concert on 17 September in Hanover will be broadcast by NDR radio, and during their stay in Copenhagen (18 September) the musicians will take part in Danish Radio’s ‘Into the Music’ project to enable 75,000 students from rural Danish regions to experience live symphonic music, performing to 3,700 school children. The tour wraps up with the orchestra participating in a special concert in Gdansk to celebrate the 25th anniversary of German reunification (20 September).

Check out the entire concert schedule for dates and tickets here.

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BYP Paris debut broadcasts to 18 million on MEZZO in September

The Paris concert, which took place at the city’s beautiful Théâtre des Champs-Elysées on 31 March 2015, presented the programme from the orchestra’s recent CD release, ‘Baltic Sea Voyage’, conducted by Kristjan Järvi. Get a first glimpse of this concert highlight and watch the exclusive MEZZO trailer.

The performance received rave reviews at the time, with Bachtrack’s Leopold Tobisch writing: ‘This concert was exemplary of an ideal concert programme, both playful and serious at the same time… Full of strength and orchestral balance, there was no hint of this being a “youth” orchestra lacking the maturity of a professional orchestra… With impressive technique, the violin, clarinet, and flute solos were all perfectly executed, with clear motivation throughout the orchestra… Anyone who judges this orchestra by their age is a fool: the only thing youthful about this orchestra is their spirit and energy.’

MEZZO is a French television station, launched in 1992 to broadcast classical, jazz and world music, which now transmits across 44 countries to 18 million subscribers. In May 2015, it broadcast BYP’s January 2014 concert ‘Live from the Berlin Philharmonie’, featuring global classical music stars pianist Valentina Lisitsa and violinist Julia Fischer. It will present that performance again in September, alongside the Paris concert, as part of a special focus on Kristjan Järvi, offering performances and interviews with him on ‘MEZZO Voce’.

Enjoy a preview already today and watch the trailer of the Paris concert. Clips from the Paris concert will be made available shortly after the broadcast on BYP’s dedicated YouTube channel.

Broadcast of ‘Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic: Live from the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées’ on Mezzo TV

Monday, 21 September 2015, 8.30 pm
Friday, 25 September 2015, 9.30 am
Sunday, 27 September 2015, 2.52 pm
Saturday, 3 October 2015, 1.30 pm

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3,700 Danish school children drive to Copenhagen to hear BYP

The 3,700 children, aged 12–16 and all from Ringkøbing-Skjern in western Denmark, will take the 5-hour ride to Copenhagen in 50 coaches, where BYP will perform two afternoon concerts for them, on 19 September. The orchestra will present repertoire by composers from around the Baltic Sea, specially chosen to appeal to children, including Arvo Pärt’s Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten, Carl Nielsen’s A Fantasy Journey to the Faroe Islands and Imants Kalniņš ‘Rock’ Symphony, all of which the orchestra will performing throughout its autumn tour.

Alongside the concerts, the children will also learn about the pieces, the cultures of the Baltic Sea states, and the way the orchestra works, including hearing interviews with BYP musicians. They will also spend time in Copenhagen, visiting important cultural sites, and a group will take part in a workshop hosted by Danish Radio News.

‘Into the Music’ began in 2013 and by the time it comes to an end in 2017, 75,000 Danish school children between the ages of 7 and 16 will have attended a classical music concert. Recent research demonstrated the impact of the project: when asked ‘Have the concerts made you want to play an instrument?’, up to 85% of the pupils answered ‘yes’. When asked ‘Do you want to attend a concert again?’ up to 95% answeredyes’.

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New Piano Concerto Champions Environmental Protection

Järvi explained its importance of this work: ‘For me, Severi Pyysalo’s ‘Green’ Concerto is a powerful evocation of nature across its whole spectrum, from the humility and purity of new life, to its sheer, raw power. I hope that with this new piece, we can go some way to reconnecting with nature, our true selves and our place on this planet.’ He explains the importance of commissioning new works from the region: ‘In giving a platform to these composers, our love and respect for the Baltic Sea region continues, through our mission to support new music emerging from the scene.’

Pyysalo is known as a vibraphonist and jazz musician, as well as a classical composer, and his ‘Green’ Concerto fuses the two influences. He wrote of the ideas behind his first piano concerto in a blog: ‘I visualise music (especially classical music) as images or as stage music for an imaginary play. Stravinsky has always been a great source of inspiration to me, and he has been during the composition of this piece. On the other hand, I have not wanted to deny my musical background in jazz this time either, something that, whether I want it to or not, undoubtedly still shines through.’

The theme of the environment is also key for Pyysalo, as he explains: ‘Although I usually don’t seek to define anything with my music, the title of the piece, ‘Green’, refers to environmental protection and to values that I myself hold.’ But he admits that the piece is not going to be easy for the soloist: ‘I will not let the piano soloist Pauli Kari – whose superb skills I have already come to know – off easily in this piece.’

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