Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi complete first half of ‘Waterworks’ tour

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians and Kristjan Järvi have returned home after an exhilarating first half of their ‘Waterworks’ tour of Germany and Denmark. Over 12 days the orchestra travelled 1,500 km and played to more than 8,000 people. The opening concert in Hattingen, Germany, was a sell-out, with standing ovations setting the tone for the subsequent concerts in Copenhagen and Aarhus, which met with an equally positive response. The players now have a three-month break before the ‘Waterworks’ tour continues in Germany in August.

The music of ‘Waterworks’ focuses on the life-giving power of water, reflecting the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s commitment to the environment, and especially to the Baltic Sea itself. ‘This body of water is the engine of the region,’ says Kristjan Järvi, ‘the thing that gives us all our necessities of life. It’s why people settled around here, and it also connects with all the other water across the world.’

The programme includes one of the most famous of all water-themed pieces, Handel’s Water Music, in a special arrangement featuring variations by Charles Coleman and Daniel Schnyder. The orchestra is also celebrating the 80th birthday of American composer Philip Glass by performing Aguas da Amazonia, in an orchestration by Charles Coleman, and Glass’s Violin Concerto No. 2, with Russian-born violinist Mikhail Simonyan as soloist.

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s passion for innovation shone through in the concerts, most noticeably with the introduction of cutting-edge lighting, video art and sound design, which transformed the musical presentation into an immersive concert experience. The musicians also sported a striking new look on stage, thanks to a collaboration with Estonian fashion house Baltika Group. Designers from Monton, one of Baltika’s five international brands, created 13 different outfits for the men and 9 different outfits for the women, all of which were styled to reflect the water theme of the programme.

In another innovation, three members of the New York-based Absolute Ensemble – trumpeter Charlie Porter, bassist Mat Fieldes and percussionist David Rozenblatt – have been embedded in the orchestra. All three featured on Kristjan Järvi’s new recording of Aguas da Amazonia.

Such an innovative approach to performance and repertoire has excited the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s young musicians. Lithuanian violinist Augusta Jusionyté, one of the orchestra’s principals, said: ‘I love having the opportunity to play minimalist music, and what Kristjan is doing – inviting musicians from the Absolute Ensemble, and giving an electronic sound to the orchestra – is what makes this music relevant today. This is what we’re hungry for as musicians, and what makes us very excited.’

Listen to the radio broadcast of the concert in Copenhagen here and watch a video review of the concert in Hattingen here. You can download the ‘Waterworks’ tour programme and book tickets for the remaining tour concerts here.

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Baltic Sea Philharmonic launches clothing partnership with Estonian fashion brandhouse Baltika Group

The players of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will be sporting an ultra-stylish look on stage thanks to a new collaboration with Estonian fashion group Baltika. A team of designers at Monton, one of Baltika’s five international brands, has created a range of concert clothing especially for the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s first tour of 2017, ‘Waterworks’. The new outfits, which will be unveiled at the orchestra’s concert in Hattingen, Germany, on 5 May, have been specially designed to reflect the water theme of the programme, with shades of blue, white and grey replacing the dominant black of traditional concert wear.

The break with clothing conventions is part of the bold new presentation concept that the Baltic Sea Philharmonic is pioneering on the ‘Waterworks’ tour – a unique concert experience that fuses music, fashion, light, visual art and sound design. Kristjan Järvi says: ‘The sense of unity that we want to achieve between the music, the projections, the lighting and the sound design also incorporates the clothing of the orchestra. Everything is part of an organic whole, a unified artistic concept, and that includes how the orchestra looks on stage, the way its clothes represent the different colours of water, and the way the light reflects off the various materials.’

The ‘Waterworks’ tour marks the start of a long-term collaboration planned by the Baltika Group and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic. While Baltika has a design heritage stretching back almost 90 years, Monton is a product of the 21st century. Established in 2002 – making it only a few years older than the Baltic Sea Philharmonic – Monton has become the most successful Estonian fashion brand in the world.

Monton’s outfits for the Baltic Sea Philharmonic draw on the brand’s spring/summer 2017 collection ‘Duality’, which takes inspiration from two very different islands: Cuba and Iceland. It’s the second of these islands, with its geysers, waterfalls, glaciers and surrounding seas, that inspired the design for the orchestra’s clothing. Maire Milder, Baltika Group’s Branding and Retail Concept Director, says: ‘The styling for “Waterworks” uses a black‒grey‒white‒navy colour palette, with sky blue for the accent. It’s a rather minimalistic styling where details act as focal points: pleats imitate water flow and movement, and sheer tulle and straight-cut edges represent the qualities of ice.’

Monton’s designers were also careful to consider the musicians’ need for comfortable concert clothing, a fact keenly appreciated by Kristjan Järvi. He says: ‘Monton’s clothing is the kind that allows a musician to move around naturally. And while comfort is paramount, it’s rare for orchestral musicians to have comfortable performance clothes that are so stylish. So we are breaking new ground, both in terms of fashion and in how the stage design and lighting is enhanced by the look of an orchestra.’

Take a look behind the scenes of the fitting of the outfits on our Facebook page and find out more about Baltika Group here.

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Baltic Sea Philharmonic embarks on ‘Waterworks’ tour of Germany and Denmark

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic sets off this week on its first tour of 2017. After opening with a performance in Hattingen, Germany, the ‘Waterworks’ tour takes the orchestra to Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark, from 7 to 10 May, before resuming in August in Germany with performances in Berlin, Peenemünde, Lutherstadt Wittenberg and Hamburg.

The repertoire for the tour celebrates the life-giving power of water and also the 80th birthday of composer Philip Glass. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi perform a special arrangement of Handel’s Water Music and a new orchestration of Glass’s Aguas da Amazonia, and Russian-born violinist Mikhail Simonyan joins the orchestra for Glass’s Violin Concerto No. 2 ‘The American Four Seasons’.

The programme reflects the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s commitment to the environment and its passion for connecting people through music, says Kristjan Järvi: ‘Water is the essence of life, not only within our physical bodies but also in the body of water that dominates this region – the Baltic Sea. It’s the engine of the region, it’s why people settled around here, and it connects with all the other water across the world. The music of “Waterworks” represents how we are from this region, but are also connected to the whole world. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the waters of the Baltic or the Amazon: everything is connected.’

There is special excitement surrounding the ‘Waterworks’ tour because it marks the start of a radical new approach to presenting orchestral music. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic is collaborating with lighting designer Bertil Mark, sound designer Chris Ekers and projection artist Philipp Geist to reimagine the concert experience, immersing audiences in a thrilling world of music, light, images and sound. ‘Concert goers should feel like they are entering a new dimension, a world where anything is possible,’ says Kristjan Järvi.

Find out more and book tickets here and download our new ‘Waterworks’ tour programme.

‘Waterworks’ Tour
Friday, 5 May 2017, 7.00 pm, Hattingen (LWL-Industriemuseum Henrichshütte), Germany
Sunday, 7 May 2017, 3.00 pm, Copenhagen (DR Concert Hall), Denmark
Monday, 8 May 2016, 9.00 am, 11.00 am, 1.00 pm, Copenhagen (DR Concert Hall), Denmark (school concerts)
Tuesday, 9 May 2017, 7.00 pm, Aarhus (Musikhuset), Denmark
Wednesday, 10 May 2017, 9.00 am, 11.00 am, 1.00 pm, Aarhus (Musikhuset), Denmark (school concerts)
Friday, 25 August 2017, 8.00 pm, Berlin (Konzerthaus, Young Euro Classic), Germany
Saturday, 26 August 2017, 8.00 pm, Peenemünde (Usedom Music Festival), Germany
Sunday, 27 August 2017, 7.00 pm, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Germany (open air)
Tuesday, 29 August 2017, 8.00 pm, Hamburg (Elbphilharmonie), Germany

Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Kristjan Järvi
Mikhail Simonyan

Georg Friedrich Handel/Daniel Schnyder/Charles Coleman: Water Music
Philip Glass: Violin Concerto No. 2 ‘The American Four Seasons’
Philip Glass (orchestrated by Charles Coleman): Aguas da Amazonia

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Live on Mezzo TV – ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ Concert from Moscow


Relive one of the highlights of our April 2016 tour later this month, as Mezzo broadcasts the Moscow concert of our ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ visit around the Baltic Sea states

The concert took place on 23 April 2016 in the Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall, as a celebration of the 125th anniversary of the birth of Sergei Prokofiev. It featured renowned Prokofiev exponent Alexander Toradze performing the composer’s Third Piano Concerto, and the First Symphony, under the baton of Kristjan Järvi. The rest of the programme reflected the orchestra’s championing of the environment: Arvo Pärt’s Swansong, Gediminas Gelgotas’s Mountains. Waters. (Freedom), and Igor Stravinsky’s The Firebird.

This is the third time Mezzo has broadcast our concerts – it previously transmitted BYP’s ‘Live from the Berlin Philharmonie’ from a January 2014 concert, and its Paris debut, from March 2015. The French television station launched in 1992, and now transmits across 44 countries to 18 million subscribers.

Tune in to Mezzo here on 21 January 2017, 8.30 pm CET to watch the concert. Further broadcasting dates here.

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Baltic Sea Philharmonic ends 2016 with special Swan Lake show in Vienna

Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi performed a private concert yesterday, 8 December, in Vienna’s Konzerthaus, focused on the theme of the swan, and offering a sound experience, a light show and projections to create an immersive atmosphere of a Nordic landscape.

Repertoire included Arvo Pärt’s Swansong and Kristjan Järvi’s arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s ballet, Swan Lake, both of which were part of the orchestra’s ‘Baltic Sea Discovery’ tour this September.

The orchestra’s performance was accompanied by a projections and light show, put together by projection artist Philipp Geist, whose musical collaborations include an installation in Bayreuth to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Richard Wagner; sound engineer Chris Ekers, who produced the opening and closing ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games; and light designer Bertil Mark, who works with many top German bands.

The concert show is a taste of the orchestra’s plans for 2017, and their ‘Waterworks’ tour, which will create exciting concert experiences to bring in new audiences to classical music.

Last night’s show was the annual Christmas concert for 1,200 employees of energy company OMV Aktiengesellschaft.

See highlights of the concert show on our Facebook page.

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Baltic Sea Philharmonic reveals innovative plans for 2017

Baltic Sea Music Education Foundation has revealed the theme of next year’s ground-breaking Baltic Sea Philharmonic tour – ‘Waterworks’– and in 2017 it will continue its mission to bring classical music to wider audiences with an inventive concert format combining music, projections, light, sound and choreography.

‘Waterworks’ demonstrates the orchestra’s long-time commitment to the environment, celebrating the life-giving power of water with repertoire including Handel’s Water Music, arranged specially for Baltic Sea Philharmonic. The orchestra will mark the 80th birthday of seminal composer Philip Glass with his water-themed work Aguas da Amazonia, as well as his Second Violin Concerto The American Four Seasons, from 2009, performed by Russian violinist Mikhail Simonyan.

Kristjan Järvi explained the thinking: ‘Water binds us all together. It is the essence of life – not only within our physical bodies, but in the body of water that dominates this region – the Baltic Sea. It’s the engine of the region, the thing that gives us all our necessities of life. It’s why people settled around here, and it also connects with all the other water across the world. Everything is connected, and this is the essence of “Waterworks”.’ And despite the centuries that separate the two composers, they have much in common, he said: ‘Handel and Glass are both Minimal, in the sense that they both utilise ostinato in such a wonderful way. If you look at Handel, Bach, Scarlatti or Boccherini, it’s all incredibly pure geometry and that’s how Minimalism is constructed, too.’

Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi together with Mikhail Simonyan will tour with ‘Waterworks’ in May 2017 through Germany and Denmark.

Looking back at 2016

’Waterworks’ builds on a successful 2016 for the foundation. In April, it launched its new orchestra, Baltic Sea Philharmonic, which went on two major tours of the entire region – ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ and ‘Baltic Sea Discovery’. The young musicians performed ambitious programmes with three international soloists and released their first ever CD, highlights of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, on Sony Classical. They also took part in two historic concerts celebrating the 25th anniversary of the German–Polish Treaty of Good Neighbourship.

The group enjoyed sold-out audiences and excellent press from across the world. Rebecca Lentjes wrote of its performance of Weinberg’s Violin Concerto with Gidon Kremer in online classical music magazine VAN Magazin: ‘The synthesis in their approaches led to performances that were captivating, accurate, and communicative in a much more effective way. All the musicians’ abstract intensity found its outlet here, coalescing into a unified wavelike entity.’

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Second Baltic Sea Philharmonic tour concludes with sold-out concert celebrating discovery and freedom

The 75 musicians of Baltic Sea Philharmonic are on their way home for some well-deserved rest after their final sold-out concert in Peenemünde on the island of Usedom in Germany, which ended in the orchestra’s now-traditional folk music encores and rapturous audience participation. Their second, ‘Baltic Sea Discovery’, tour lasted 14 days and the players covered nearly 2,000 km, starting in Klaipėda in Lithuania, and stopping in five seaports along the way.

Under the baton of Kristjan Järvi, they played to around 3,500 audience members and performed 16 encores. They made new friends and discovered new music, performing the Weinberg Violin Concerto with Lidia Baich in Klaipėda and Kaliningrad, and with Gidon Kremer in Gdańsk, Copenhagen and Peenemünde. They also formed a new musical collaboration with five members of Gidon Kremer’s Kremerata Baltica, who led the string sections of the orchestra from the Gdańsk concert on.

Before the start of the tour, the musicians had an intense rehearsal period in Kintai, Lithuania, which also gave them the chance to reconnect with nature. Kristjan Järvi said: ‘Half the orchestra thought I was out of my mind taking them from civilisation into the Baltic jungle. There were dirt roads and thatched roofs, and we practised in a church. But I told them, “If you realise that this is actually what inspired the music you’re playing, and actually created everything you know about our cultures, then you start to realise that the hierarchy of things is nature, then culture and society, and there are limitless possibilities.” We come from the soil and the sea and the air around us. Once we’re in tune with that, everything starts to fix itself.’

There was also a historic edge to the tour, with the concerts in Gdańsk and Peenemünde dedicated to freedom in Europe and to celebrating the 25th anniversary of the German-Polish Treaty of Good Neighbourship. The Gdańsk concert took place in the European Solidarity Centre, which houses a museum dedicated to the history of the solidarity movement, which many of the players visited before the concert. The evening was also attended by Lech Wałęsa, who co-founded and headed the Polish Solidarity movement, and he gave a speech to open the evening. The concert in Peenemünde at the Usedom Music Festival was given under the patronage of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and marked a return to the venue where the concept of the orchestra originated, in 2008.

The sense of discovery of the tour was evident not only in new collaborations and exploration of repertoire, but also through the five concerts that the orchestra performed for 4,000 Danish youngsters in Sønderborg, where it took part in Danish Radio’s ‘Into the Music’ project. Orchestra members also experienced this sense of discovery.

Cor anglais player Ivana Jenesova said, during the tour: ‘I think we’re discovering each other and also ourselves, because we have lots of opportunities to play better than we played the day before. I can hear it. When we play together, it’s a bit different every time. I can hear how it’s changing me.’

At the closing concert, Kristjan explained: ‘We have a very particular mission, and that is to empower the musicians to do things that they’d normally be scared to do. The way we perform is to play around spontaneously. They don’t know what I’m going to do and I don’t know what they’re going to do, but do you know how much fun that is? That’s what life is about – not knowing what’s going to happen. This machine behind me is an unbelievable self-empowerment vehicle.’

Look at pictures from the tour here.

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Baltic Sea Philharmonic takes to the road for ‘Baltic Sea Discovery’ tour

Baltic Sea Philharmonic begins its second tour this week, travelling from Lithuania to Germany, with six stops over ten days. They will perform a programme of ‘Baltic Sea Discovery’ under the baton of Founding Conductor and Music Director Kristjan Järvi and alongside world-renowned violinist Gidon Kremer and his orchestra, Kremerata Baltica, and rising star violinist Lidia Baich.

The repertoire offers a perfect balance, Kristjan Järvi explains: ‘We’re bringing together different elements of new, popular, and completely undiscovered music, which is why we’re calling it the “Baltic Sea Discovery” tour.’

Music for the ‘Baltic Sea Discovery’ tour celebrates the swan, with Arvo Pärt’s Swansong and Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, arranged by Kristjan Järvi as a Suite for orchestra. Gidon Kremer performs Weinberg’s rarely played Violin Concerto in Gdańsk (18 September), Copenhagen (20 September) and Peenemünde (24 September); the soloist in Klaipėda (15 September) and Kaliningrad (16 September) will be the St. Petersburg-born violinist Lidia Baich.

There will also be a sense of discovery in the unique collaboration with Gidon Kremer and members of his own ground-breaking Kremerata Baltica, who will be embedded within the orchestra. Gidon Kremer says: ‘I hope for discovery – not just on land and in concerts halls, but also in learning and experiencing unknown music together, and growing with it.’

The orchestra will also take the theme of discovery to working with schoolchildren during its visit to Denmark. The players will take part in Danish Radio’s ‘Into the Music’ project in Sønderborg, playing to around 6,000 pupils, aged 16 and above, from the Jutland region, who will all have the opportunity to experience symphonic music live, for many of them, for the first time.

Find out more and book tickets here and download our new tour programme ‘Baltic Sea Discovery’.

‘Baltic Sea Discovery’ Tour
+Thursday, 15 September 2016, 6.30 pm, Klaipėda Concert Hall, Lithuania
+Friday, 16 September 2016, 7.00 pm, Cathedral of Kaliningrad, Russia
*Sunday, 18 September 2016, 7.00 pm, European Solidarity Centre, Gdańsk, Poland
*Tuesday, 20 September 2016, 5.00 pm, Copenhagen (DR Concert Hall), Denmark
Wednesday, 21 September, 2016, 11.00 am, 1.00 pm, Alsion, Sønderborg, Denmark (school concerts)
Thursday, 22 September, 2016, 9.00 am, 11.00 am, 1.00 pm, Alsion, Sønderborg, Denmark (school concerts)
*Saturday, 24 September 2016, 8.00 pm, Peenemünde/Usedom (Kraftwerksmuseum), Germany

Baltic Sea Philharmonic
with Kremerata Baltica
Kristjan Järvi, conductor
*Gidon Kremer, violin
+Lidia Baich, violin

Arvo Pärt: Swansong (Littlemore Tractus) for orchestra
Mieczysław Weinberg: Violin Concerto in G minor, Op. 67
P.I. Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake Concert Suite (Arr. K. Järvi)

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Baltic Sea Philharmonic releases debut CD

Baltic Sea Philharmonic has released its first CD, an orchestral version of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, conducted by Founding Conductor and Music Director Kristjan Järvi, on the Sony Classical Label, as part of the Kristjan Järvi Sound Project series.

The work is one of the great love stories of all time, says Kristjan Järvi: ‘The story of the “Ring” is one of a true and universal order, as created through a connection to the earth and the sky that we are all inherently part of. A story of the triumph of love that cannot be undermined by anyone or anything, no matter how hard the interference is; nature and universal harmony will prevail.’

There is also a significant link with the music for members of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic: Wagner spent time in Riga and felt a connection with the Nordic lands and people. Kristjan Järvi explains: ‘This meaningful association to the Baltic Sea and the lands that it connects leads me to contextualise the “Ring” within the spirit of what may have influenced Wagner to create the whole metaphoric idea of the Ring Cycle itself. To me this is and has always has been a specific and differentiating hallmark of all the Nordic people: an earthy way of being that is rooted in living in accordance to the laws of nature and shamanistic beliefs that shape a spirit of emotional innocence, purity, and honesty, which manifest in both darkness and light.’

In this release, the orchestra performs 14 selected highlights from the 4-opera, 16-hour drama, including ‘Das Rheingold’, ‘Die Walküren’, ‘Waldweben’, ‘Siegfried’s Rheinfahrt’ and ‘Siegfried’s Tod’, arranged for orchestra by Henk de Vlieger.

The recording was made at Peenemünde Historical Technical Museum, on the Island of Usedom, which was a military production and test site during the war – the first space rocket was fired from there in 1942 – but now serves as a meeting place and cultural centre serving reconciliation and world peace, a major theme for Baltic Sea Philharmonic.

The recording is available to buy or download on iTunes.

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Gidon Kremer looking forward to adventure of discovery with Baltic Sea Philharmonic

Baltic Sea Philharmonic will be joined on its September tour by celebrated international violinist Gidon Kremer, under the baton of Founding Conductor and Music Director Kristjan Järvi. The ‘Baltic Sea Discovery’ tour follows its inaugural voyage in April, and in a ground-breaking collaboration, members of Gidon Kremer’s Kremerata Baltica will sit among the players of Baltic Sea Philharmonic, and the violinist will perform Weinberg’s Violin Concerto.

Gidon Kremer said of the partnership: ‘Young people are usually very enthusiastic to learn, to discover and appreciate adventures. For me this project has great potential and therefore I am happy to join it along with some leading musicians from Kremerata. I look forward to a discovery – not just on land and in concerts halls, but also learning and experiencing unknown music together and growing with it.’

Kremer performs Weinberg’s rarely played Violin Concerto in Gdańsk (18 September), Copenhagen (20 September) and Peenemünde (24 September). For concerts in Klaipėda (15 September) and Kaliningrad (16 September), the orchestra will be joined by rising violin star Lidia Baich. The orchestra also performs Arvo Pärt’s Swansong and Kristjan Järvi’s own concert arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Explaining the theme, Järvi said: ‘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.’

Fulfilling its commitment to the community, the orchestra will perform two concerts for children, in Sønderberg, Denmark, alongside workshops about how an orchestra works, and the cultural identities of the Baltic Sea region. The group will also celebrate the unity of the region in concerts marking the 25th anniversary of the German–Polish Treaty of Good Neighbourship, both at the opening of the Usedom Music Festival, in Peenemünde’s historic Power Station, where the V2 rocket was developed, and in Gdańsk’s new European Solidarity Centre.

For more information about the schedule, and to buy tickets go here.

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