After an unprecedented break from live performance because of the COVID-19 crisis, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi have returned to the stage with three hugely successful concerts in Italy and Germany. The orchestra’s ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour, curtailed from a planned total of six concerts because of the pandemic, went ahead with performances at the Merano Music Festival on 10 September and the Usedom Music Festival on 12 September. With social distancing regulations in place, around 500 concert-goers attended the sold-out performance in Merano, and around 400 attended each of two sold-out concerts in Peenemünde, Usedom. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic safely followed all relevant COVID-19 protocols, and toured as a smaller-sized ensemble of 39 musicians.

Return to favourite festivals
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s concert at the Merano Music Festival was its fourth acclaimed performance there in as many years. In Peenemünde, where the Baltic Sea Philharmonic has performed every year since 2008, the orchestra gave two concerts in the same evening. The later event was a special concert of the Usedom Music Festival to mark the 30th anniversary of German reunification, and was attended by the Prime Minister of Mecklenburg Western Pomerania, Manuela Schwesig. This concert, and the performance in Merano, were both recorded for future radio broadcast. Deutschlandfunk Kultur will broadcast the Peenemünde concert on 20 October at 8pm.

‘Nordic Pulse’ – an innovative celebration of the North
The ‘Nordic Pulse’ programme took the audiences on an exciting musical journey through the Baltic Sea region. Composers from countries all around the Baltic Sea were represented, including Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Stenhammar, Nielsen, Gediminas Gelgotas and Kristjan Järvi. The musicians performed the entire 70-minute-plus programme from memory, and as a single unbroken stream of music, with individual pieces intertwined. A tailor-made projection underlined the ‘Nordic Pulse’ theme in the Usedom concerts. Members of the ensemble took the soloist roles in several pieces, including violist Maximilian Procop in ‘Midnight Snow’ from Järvi’s White Dragon and clarinettist Alexey Mikhaylenko and bassoonist Arseniy Shkaptsov in Gelgotas’s To the Skies.

For Järvi, ‘Nordic Pulse’ sends a message of unity at a time when countries should be working together to tackle global problems, from COVID-19 to climate change. Speaking ahead of the concerts in Peenemünde, he said: ‘The programme is reflecting why we are actually doing what we are doing in this orchestra. And that is not only to play music, but that we have chosen to come together from our different countries, overlooking all of our histories and differences, and embrace our unity at a time when the world seems to be lacking in humanity.’

Acclaim from critics and concert-goers
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Nordic Pulse’ performances were warmly received by audiences and critics alike. After attending a full dress rehearsal in the German spa town of Bad Schussenried, where the orchestra gathered to prepare for the tour, the reviewer for the Schwäbische Zeitung wrote: ‘A shimmering, sensuous and extremely sensual hour with this sparkling ensemble was poignant proof of the boundlessness of music.’ The Ostsee-Zeitung critic wrote of the Usedom concerts: ‘The irrepressible joy of playing was transformed into a breathtaking sonic experience.’ Also attending the concerts in Peenemünde was Cornelia Pieper, the German consul general in Gdańsk, Poland. She commented afterwards: ‘It is simply incredible what these young musicians are achieving.’

Online innovation continues with ‘Musical Chain’ videos
With many of their planned concerts unfortunately postponed or cancelled in the last six months, Järvi and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic have been busy producing innovative online music experiences. The next release in the orchestra’s ‘Musical Chain’ series of remix videos is ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’, with music written and produced by Järvi, based on Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. The video will be available on the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s social media channels later this month.

Check out photos from our ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour on Facebook and Instagram

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After many months of not being able to come together and play, musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic are once again rehearsing for a new tour. Around 40 musicians have gathered in Bad Schussenried, a spa town in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, to rehearse the programme for their ‘Nordic Pulse’ concerts with Kristjan Järvi at the Merano Music Festival on 10 September and the Usedom Music Festival on 12 September.

COVID-19 restrictions mean that the orchestra will be touring as a smaller ensemble, and also that some of the planned ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour concerts have had to be postponed to 2021. But the palpable excitement of the musicians in Bad Schussenried at being able to play live together again after so long guarantees that the concerts, which are already sold out, will create the same thrill and joy that the Baltic Sea Philharmonic brings to all its performances.

The ‘Nordic Pulse’ programme will be an innovative celebration of the North, with works by composers from all the Baltic Sea countries, including Beethoven from Germany, Nielsen from Denmark, and Górecki from Poland. In trademark Baltic Sea Philharmonic style, the musicians will perform the entire programme from memory, and, in another characteristic innovation, players from the orchestra will be featured soloists. Shining a spotlight on the ensemble’s soloistic talent reflects Kristjan Järvi’s conviction that the Baltic Sea Philharmonic has truly become an ensemble of soloists. In its necessarily more compact form for the ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour, with nearly all the players standing and free to move and interact without the limitations of stands and sheet music, the orchestra will certainly look and feel like an ensemble of soloists.

In a further showcase of the musicians’ individual talents, principal violist Marzena Malinowska from Poland has been mentoring other players in memorising the music for the ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour. She has previously helped the orchestra to memorise complex scores, and her idea of adding titles for untitled music sections in Kristjan Järvi’s version of Tchaikovsky’s fairytale ballet The Sleeping Beauty helped players memorise this demanding 70-minute dramatic symphony, the orchestra’s new recording of which comes out on Sony Classical next month. For the ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour, Malinowska produced a video guide for the musicians, explaining tried-and-tested memorisation strategies. Acting as a memorisation mentor is just one of the ways that experienced players such as Malinowska, a member of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic since 2012, are helping newer members of the ensemble. As new members learn new skills and have their minds opened to the rewards of performing orchestral works from memory, so the principals develop their leadership and mentoring experience, renewing and evolving the orchestra at the same time.
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Kristjan Järvi’s new album Nordic Escapes is out on 7 August 2020 and features the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Swiss violinist David Nebel on the track Aurora. The new recording is being released on Modern Recordings, the BMG label devoted to neo-classical, jazz and electronic music. Nordic Escapes is Järvi’s first complete album of self-composed music, uniting his talents as composer, conductor and producer.

Journey into the north
Inspired by the sounds, people and landscapes of the north, Järvi takes the listener on a captivating musical journey, merging electronic textures and orchestral soundscapes. It’s a journey that, on a personal level, illuminates the Estonian-born Järvi’s reconnection with his Nordic homeland after many years of living in the US, and on an elemental level explores and celebrates the power and beauty of nature. ‘One of the problems we have today is that people feel disconnected from nature and from each other,’ he says. ‘I think we need to feel ourselves again as part of nature and as part of the big picture. Nordic Escapes connects the listener to music and nature.’

Aurora evokes both the Northern Lights (the aurora borealis) and the short, colourful Nordic summers. Diatonic sequences, dancing rhythms and flowing, repeating patterns combine in an uplifting work that’s full of light, warmth and vitality. The track was recorded in St. Petersburg in March 2019 during the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Russia. Aurora is now a signature piece of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, and the orchestra has performed it on numerous recent tours. Aurora will form part of the upcoming ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour of Italy and Germany in September.

David Nebel is also the soloist on another track from the new album, Nebula, in which Järvi conducts the London Symphony Orchestra. Five of the album’s tracks feature Kristjan Järvi’s Nordic Pulse Ensemble, which includes musicians from the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, including, for example, violinist Mari-Liis Urb and bassoonist Jakob Peäske, both from Estonia. The album closes with a remix of Nebula by Los Angeles-based German producer/composer Robot Koch.

Orchestra and conductor reunited
Järvi’s atmospheric melding of electronics and orchestral music can also be experienced in the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s new music video ‘Midnight Mood’, a reimagining of Grieg’s ‘Morning Mood’ from Peer Gynt. The first in the orchestra’s series of remix videos for its new online project ‘Musical Chain’, ‘Midnight Mood’ is available to watch now on the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s YouTube channel and Facebook page. 

Music videos for the Nordic Escapes album are available on Kristjan Järvi’s YouTube channel from 7 August 2020

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Project opens with ‘Rewritten Series’ featuring transformations of iconic pieces by Grieg, Beethoven and Sibelius

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi are launching a unique online music project called ‘Musical Chain’ on 23 July. A symbol of unity and solidarity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, ‘Musical Chain’ brings together musicians from across Europe in a new kind of virtual orchestra collaboration. The project begins with the ‘Rewritten Series’ – four strikingly original music videos featuring transformations and remixes of iconic classical pieces. The first of these, ‘Midnight Mood’, based on ‘Morning Mood’ from Grieg’s Peer Gynt, is available to watch from 23 July on the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s social media channels. Further videos in the series, including music from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, and Sibelius’s ‘Song of Praise’ from the Swanwhite Suite, will be released over the coming weeks.

Amid an unprecedented situation of lockdowns and concert cancellations, ‘Musical Chain’ is a powerful way of strengthening solidarity and community, both among the musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic itself and among music lovers throughout Europe. The project is inspired by historic human chains, such as the Baltic Way, which was a peaceful political demonstration on 23 August 1989 when around two million people joined hands to form a human chain stretching more than 600km across the three Baltic states of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.

Were it not for the COVID-19 pandemic, the orchestra and Kristjan Järvi would have been on their ‘Midnight Sun’ tour of Poland, Germany and Russia at the beginning of July. With the tour postponed to March 2021, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic has transferred its activity online and, in keeping with its boundary-breaking spirit, is exploring new ways of communicating through digital media the energy, style and freedom of its live performances. Already the orchestra has created one of the most ambitious virtual orchestra videos of its kind, with a 20-minute recording of music from Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7, featuring 108 musicians in 18 countries, which premiered on 8 May. Now, with ‘Musical Chain’, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic is developing its own unique way of coming together to create new music from classic compositions. Kristjan Järvi says: ‘The pandemic has put us into a situation where we have to come out of our normal groove and comfort zone, our usual structures, methods and routines. We have to create a completely new reason for being, and ask ourselves why we do what we do. Physically we can’t produce the same energy in the same room, but we’re creating a new way to convey our energy and spirit to people around the world who are inspired by what we do and the way we make music.’

The ‘Rewritten Series’ will involve at least 60 Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians in total. The first video, ‘Midnight Mood’, features 13 musicians. For each video, the musicians will make recordings at home based on themes and musical ideas from the original piece, and then the audio tracks will be combined and remixed by Kristjan Järvi, in his role as producer of the ‘Musical Chain’ project. The resulting recordings will be released as videos on Youtube and eventually as audio tracks on Spotify.

The pieces in the ‘Rewritten Series’ each have a special resonance for the Baltic Sea Philharmonic. Sibelius’s ‘Song of Praise’ is one of the orchestra’s signature encores, and Beethoven, whose 250th anniversary is being celebrated this year, also features regularly on the orchestra’s programmes. Music from Grieg’s Peer Gynt is part of the programme for the orchestra’s ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour, which is scheduled to go ahead this September with concerts in Germany and Italy, and the ‘Midnight Sun’ tour in March 2021. Following the release of ‘Midnight Mood’, the remaining instalments of the ‘Rewritten Series’ will go live over the coming weeks, taking the orchestra and Kristjan Järvi up to the moment when they plan to be back together on stage again, performing ‘Nordic Pulse’ at the Merano Music Festival on 10 September and the Usedom Music Festival on 12 September.

On the occasion of the German EU Council Presidency, ‘Musical Chain – Unifying Europe Through Music’ is supported by Germany’s Minister of State for Culture and the Media.

Watch the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Midnight Mood’ video from 23 July on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram

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The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi are set to return to the concert stage in September with performances in Italy and Germany. The orchestra’s ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour – an innovative celebration of the North, with music performed completely by heart – was originally scheduled to include concerts at the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, the Bonn Beethovenfest and the Merano Music Festival, in Peenemünde at the Usedom Music Festival, and in Stockholm. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Beethovenfest has been cancelled, and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s concerts in Hamburg and Stockholm have been postponed until March 2021. The ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour performances in Merano on 10 September and Peenemünde on 12 September will, however, go ahead, depending on the progress of the pandemic and also on travel regulations and local authority requirements. ‘Nordic Pulse’ – an exhilarating Baltic adventure

The COVID-19 situation means that the Baltic Sea Philharmonic will be touring as a smaller ensemble of around 40 musicians. The ‘Nordic Pulse’ programme of musical riches will take audiences on a journey of discovery across the Baltic Sea region. Russian composer Tchaikovsky features on the programme, as well as Sibelius from Finland and Grieg from Norway. The orchestra showcases music from young contemporary composers such as Gediminas Gelgotas from Lithuania and Sven Helbig and Robot Koch from Germany, as well as music by Kristjan Järvi representing Estonia. ‘Nordic Pulse’ also includes Beethoven in his 250th anniversary year, with his Symphony No. 5. Although the ensemble will be, out of necessity, more compact than usual, audiences can expect to feel the same thrill and joy that the Baltic Sea Philharmonic brings to all its performances. The ‘Nordic Pulse’ concert that was due to take place at the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg on 5 September has been postponed to 14 March 2021, when it will form part of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Midnight Sun’ tour of Poland and Germany. All tickets that have been purchased for the concert on 5 September remain valid for the new date next March.

Creating unique online orchestral experiences During the unprecedented break from live performance, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic has been busy producing innovative online music experiences. It created one of the most ambitious virtual orchestra videos of its kind, with a 20-minute recording of music from Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7, featuring 108 musicians in 18 countries, which premiered on 8 May. By mid-July the orchestra will launch a unique collaborative online project called ‘Musical Chain’, beginning with a series of remix videos that transform classical music gems for the 21st century. The first of these videos, ‘Midnight Mood’, which is based on ‘Morning Mood’ from Grieg’s Peer Gynt, will be available to watch shortly on the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s social media channels. For the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s full concert schedule, see here. The Shostakovich virtual orchestra video is available to watch on YouTube

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The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi have collaborated with the Open Sea Foundation from Russia on an ambitious project marking 75 years since the end of World War II in Europe. The new project, titled Music for Peace, will premiere online on 8 May, and features a virtual orchestra recording by the Baltic Sea Philharmonic of music from Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7, the ‘Leningrad’. The orchestra had been due to perform the symphony at the Berlin Konzerthaus on 9 May, in one of five simultaneous live Music for Peace events across Europe. But with the concerts cancelled because of COVID-19, 108 musicians from the Baltic Sea Philharmonic each made their own recording at home of a 20-minute excerpt from the symphony’s first movement. All the recordings were then brought together using the latest audio and video technology to create a virtual orchestra performance with Kristjan Järvi conducting.

Music for Peace premieres online on Friday 8 May at 2pm Berlin time / 3pm Moscow time at the Facebook and YouTube social media channels of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic.

Shostakovich completed his epic Seventh Symphony in December 1941, having been evacuated from his beloved home city of Leningrad, which was under siege by Nazi forces. A microfilm of the score was smuggled out of Russia and the symphony quickly became popular in the Soviet Union and the West as a symbol of freedom and defiance in the face of oppression and occupation. The symphony was heroically performed in Leningrad amid the direst of conditions on 9 August 1942. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s new recording brings together musicians from 18 countries, both in the Nordic region and elsewhere across the world, and carries with it a message of peace, strength and solidarity at a time when so many millions of people are under lockdown.

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The Baltic Sea Philharmonic, like so many creative organisations around the world, continues to face an unprecedented situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. Owing to travel restrictions and bans on large public gatherings, the orchestra’s ‘Midnight Sun’ tour in June through Germany and Russia is postponed to March 2021. Unfortunately, this means that the Talent Tour 2020 that was included in the tour, with dates in Berlin on 22 June and in St. Petersburg on 29 June, will also have to be cancelled.

In the meantime, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic is working on alternatives to these dates, with alternative formats also under consideration. As soon as there is more information, an update will be announced on the website and on the orchestra’s social media channels.

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The Baltic Sea Philharmonic continues to face an unprecedented situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. Owing to travel restrictions and bans on large public gatherings, the orchestra has sadly had to postpone its first major tour of 2020, ‘Midnight Sun’. Originally planned to run from 20 June to 1 July, with concerts in Szczecin (Poland) and Berlin, at the Kissinger Sommer Festival in Germany, and in St. Petersburg and Chelyabinsk in Russia, the tour has been rescheduled for March 2021. ‘Midnight Sun’ concerts will now take place in Szczecin on 12 March, at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg on 14 March, and in Berlin on 15 March.

While the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi are still scheduled to undertake their ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour of Germany, Italy and Sweden in September 2020, the orchestra is constantly monitoring the COVID-19 situation and consulting regularly with concert presenters. But the orchestra is not silently waiting for live performances to resume. Beginning this month, it will launch a range of innovative online projects showcasing the creativity, the musical energy, and the solidarity of this unique international ensemble. From Music for Peace, a virtual orchestra of 108 musicians performing Shostakovich’s ‘Leningrad’ Symphony, to Musical Chain, a series of musical-chain performances featuring members of the orchestra and artistic collaborators, Kristjan and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic will use technology to bring the unique atmosphere of their live performances into homes around the world.

‘Midnight Sun’ to shine again in 2021

‘Midnight Sun’ is a spectacular reinvention of the concert experience, inspired by the Nordic summertime phenomenon of the never-setting sun. The programme features an eclectic selection of works by composers including Rautavaara, Pärt, Kristjan Järvi, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky. With no music stands on stage, and the musicians able to stand and move and interact with each other, the orchestra uses memorisation and choreography to achieve a remarkable freedom and energy in performance. When ‘Midnight Sun’ debuted in Berlin in 2019, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic was acclaimed by audiences and critics for the originality of its presentation, with the musicians praised for the commitment and joy of their playing. Although this year’s tour sadly cannot go ahead, ‘Midnight Sun’ will return in March 2021 with three performances in Poland and Germany; further performances in this period may be possible, but are not yet confirmed. Tickets already purchased for the 23 June 2020 ‘Midnight Sun’ performance at the Berlin Philharmonie will be valid for the new Berlin date (on 15 March 2021), or they can be returned for refunds.

New online projects offer light in dark times

Until the orchestra can once again perform on stage, it will take its musical mission of international collaboration online, with a series of innovative digital projects. The first of these is Music for Peace, an ambitious 15-minute ‘virtual orchestra’ performance of an excerpt from the first movement of Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony, the ‘Leningrad’. Produced in collaboration with the Open Sea Foundation to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, Music for Peace will premiere online on 8 May. In place of a live performance of the ‘Leningrad’ Symphony that was set to take place at the Berlin Konzerthaus on 9 May, the new digital production brings together sound and video recordings made by 108 musicians in their homes.

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi, in collaboration with Sunbeam Productions, are also working on another new digital project called Musical Chain, to be launched in early summer. This dedicated online campaign is inspired by historic human chains, such as the Baltic Way, which was a peaceful political demonstration on 23 August 1989 when around two million people joined hands to form a human chain across the three Baltic states. Musical Chain will feature musicians from the Baltic Sea Philharmonic joining with creative collaborators for a series of musical-chain videos, in which, for example, a piece of music is transformed by one performer after another, or new pieces are composed by different musicians on the same theme.

‘Midnight Sun’ – March 2021
Friday, 12 March 2021, 8pm, Szczecin (Philharmonie), Poland
Sunday, 14 March 2021, 8pm, Hamburg (Elbphilharmonie), Germany
Monday, 15 March 2020, 8.30pm, Berlin (Philharmonie), Germany

Baltic Sea Philharmonic &
Kristjan Järvi

Programme to include music by Rautavaara, Pärt, Kristjan Järvi, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky

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Sony Classical to release new CD featuring violinist David Nebel and Kristjan Järvi together with Baltic Sea Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestra

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s second recording for Sony Classical is set for release on 1 May 2020. The new CD pairs violin concertos by Igor Stravinsky and Philip Glass. Swiss violinist David Nebel is the soloist in both works, with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s Founding Conductor and Music Director Kristjan Järvi conducting the orchestra in the Stravinsky concerto and the London Symphony Orchestra in the Glass concerto. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic recorded the Stravinsky concerto in the Great Amber Concert Hall in Liepaja, Latvia The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s debut release for Sony Classical was 2016’s The Ring: An Orchestral Adventure, an arrangement for orchestra of Wagner’s Ring Cycle.

Violinist David Nebel has been a close collaborator with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic for a number of years. Having partnered the orchestra and Kristjan Järvi for the Stravinsky concerto recording, Nebel joined the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s giving the world premiere of Lithuanian composer Gediminas Gelgotas’s Violin Concerto on 7 July 2018 at the Kissinger Sommer festival in Bad Kissingen, Germany. The violinist returned as soloist for the orchestra’s March 2019 ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Russia, performing Kristjan Järvi’s Aurora, Pēteris Vasks’s Lonely Angel, and the Gelgotas concerto.

Nebel shares a passion for contemporary music with Kristjan Järvi and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic. The Gelgotas concerto was the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s third world premiere of the composer’s music, after Never Ignore the Cosmic Ocean in 2012 and Mountains. Waters. (Freedom) in 2015. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic has also given world premieres of works by composers Daniel Schnyder and Severi Pyysalo, and Järvi regularly conducts the orchestra in music by major contemporary composers such as Steve Reich, Arvo Pärt, Krzysztof Penderecki and Erkki-Sven Tüür. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic has a particular affinity, too, for the music of Stravinsky, Glass and Reich: in 2017 the orchestra gave the first ever completely memorised performance of Stravinsky’s The Firebird (in its 1945 orchestral version) and also performed a new orchestration of Glass’s Aguas da Amazonia; and in 2019 The orchestra gave the German premiere of Steve Reich’s first composition for orchestra after 30 years – a commission of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic together with such renowned orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, London Symphony Orchestra and Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Born in 1996, Nebel shares the free-spirited dynamism and youthful energy of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians. He has described the collaboration as ‘inspiring and a lot of fun at the same time’, adding: ‘The players are great musicians, and they understand how I feel about the music. There is always a good atmosphere when we’ve worked together. The musicians always give their best and I can feel how much they enjoy the experience.’ Järvi describes the violinist as ‘probably the sincerest musician I know’, and is already planning more Baltic Sea Philharmonic collaborations with him for the near future.

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The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s international reputation as a boundary-busting, free-spirited ensemble has got the best and brightest musicians wanting to be a part of this Nordic success story. This year the orchestra is seeking out the Nordic region’s top musical talent, and with its Talent Tour 2020 will hold auditions in Berlin (22 June) and St. Petersburg (29 June) during the orchestra’s ‘Midnight Sun’ tour of Germany and Russia. Applications for the Talent Tour are now open, and musicians have until 15 April 2020 to apply.

This year’s Talent Tour follows a major recruitment drive in 2019, when the orchestra auditioned some some 100 musicians aged 18 to 28. Successful applicants joined the Baltic Sea Philharmonic membership pool of outstanding players, and have had the opportunity to tour under the visionary leadership of conductor Kristjan Järvi, performing inspirational music from memory in some of the most renowned concert halls in Europe.

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic is a uniquely innovative ensemble, renowned for playing from memory and for pioneering immersive concert experiences, and musicians applying to join the orchestra can expect an equally innovative auditioning experience. Applicants will have the opportunity to shine in a solo first round, and, at the Talent Day in Berlin, will also be able to join a full orchestra rehearsal. The joint rehearsal will be open to the public, so all interested musicians are invited to listen, even if they are not auditioning themselves. For young conservatoire players eager to learn more about the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, such a rehearsal is like a window on the orchestra’s world, and is an amazing chance to see how this ensemble works with Kristjan.

The Talent Tour is just as empowering for the orchestra’s musicians as it is for the players auditioning, in that the Baltic Sea Philharmonic principals are the ones choosing their future colleagues. The orchestra’s principal musicians will lead the nine-strong audition panel for the first-round auditions, and along with Kristjan will help make the final selection decisions. Therefore the players themselves have a major role in the orchestra’s evolution. And in doing so they further develop their leadership skills.

Principal violist Marzena Malinowska, from Poland, explained the positive philosophy at the heart of the Talent Tour auditions: ‘We are trying to get players out of their comfort zone not in search of failure or perfection, but to see who they really are as people. We let them do what they love, to show and share their passion, and then we ask them to do things they might have thought they couldn’t do, to show that crossing mental boundaries is fun. When the audition itself becomes an experience that teaches you something and lets you discover new things in yourself, then the final official result doesn’t matter so much.’

String, wind, brass and percussion players who want to apply for the Talent Days in Berlin on 22 June or St. Petersburg on 29 June must be between the ages of 18 and 28; hold a passport from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia or Sweden; and be enrolled in a music academy anywhere in the world. Alternatively, applicants can be international students enrolled in a music academy in one of the ten countries of the Baltic Sea region. Erasmus students enrolled in a music academy in one of the ten above-mentioned countries are also welcome. The application deadline is 15 April 2020.

For full details of the Talent Tour audition process, rules and regulations, and how to apply, see

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