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, 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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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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The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi return to the Berlin Philharmonie on 23 June 2020 with ‘Midnight Sun’, a spectacular reinvention of the concert experience inspired by the phenomenon of the never-setting sun. With the orchestra performing the entire concert from memory, joined by acclaimed Norwegian violinist Mari Samuelsen as soloist, and with an eclectic programme of works by Rautavaara, Pärt, Max Richter, Kristjan Järvi, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky, ‘Midnight Sun’ will be an unmissable summer event. Tickets for the concert, a cooperation with the Berlin international music festival Young Euro Classic, are available now.

The music of ‘Midnight Sun’ captures the magical atmosphere of a Nordic midsummer, and is inspired by the phenomenon of 24-hour daylight in the summer months above the Arctic Circle. ‘It’s a phenomenon that unites Nordic communities,’ says Järvi, ‘and with this musical programme we are proclaiming a message of Nordic unity.’ The Baltic Sea Philharmonic will transport listeners to the Arctic itself with Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Cantus Arcticus, before violinist Mari Samuelsen stars in Arvo Pärt’s Fratres, Max Richter’s Dona Nobis Pacem, and Kristjan Järvi’s Aurora, which is inspired by the magical lights of the aurora borealis. The Norwegian virtuoso previously performed with the orchestra on its acclaimed ‘Midnight Sun’ tour of Germany and Austria in 2019, when the Tagespiegel Berlin praised her ‘crystalline sound’ and playing that was ‘at the same time fragile and powerful’.

The Berlin Philharmonie concert will also feature selections from one of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s signature pieces, Stravinsky’s The Firebird, in its 1945 orchestral version. New to the ‘Midnight Sun’ programme this year is music from Tchaikovsky’s sublime ballet The Sleeping Beauty, imaginatively adapted as a dramatic symphony by Kristjan Järvi. This piece, like every other work on the programme, will be performed entirely from memory, with most of the orchestra standing up, free to move and interact with each other – an exciting and inspirational way of playing which truly sets the Baltic Sea Philharmonic apart from other ensembles.

The Berlin Philharmonie concert experience on 23 June 2020 is part of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s first major European tour of 2020. Further ‘Midnight Sun’ performances take place at the Kissinger Sommer festival in Bad Kissingen on 26 June, and at the Stars of the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg on 28 June.

For more details of ‘Midnight Sun’ at the Berlin Philharmonie, and for the full Baltic Sea Philharmonic concert calendar, see

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In a spectacular start to the new year, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi wrote pop history at the Elbphilharmonie on 4 January in a special collaboration with indie band Bastille. The orchestra and the British group teamed up to headline Channel Aid’s latest ‘Live in Concert’ event, which was livestreamed on YouTube. Channel Aid, the world’s first YouTube charity channel, is an initiative of the Hamburg-based FABS Foundation, which provides access to sports and dance activities for children and the disabled. The Saturday night concert was a sell-out, with 2,100 music fans packing the Elbphilharmonie. More than 10,000 viewers followed the livestream, with every view resulting in a donation to FABS Foundation social projects. Single videos from the show will be released on the Channel Aid YouTube channel at a later date.

The concert with Bastille represented a new artistic adventure for the boundary-breaking Baltic Sea Philharmonic, as it was the orchestra’s first collaboration with a major pop band. Sharing the stage with the Grammy-nominated, platinum-selling British group, the orchestra and Kristjan Järvi performed specially orchestrated Bastille songs in signature Baltic Sea Philharmonic style, with a gospel choir adding an extra dimension to the sound. Ahead of the concert, the orchestra’s 52 musicians had rehearsed for two days in Hamburg together with the band. In an interview with German newswire dpa (Deutsche Presse-Agentur) on the day of the show, Bastille frontman Dan Smith said his most important new year’s resolution was ‘not to screw up this gig’, adding that it was a great privilege to be playing in the Elphilharmonie with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic.

The performance garnered wildly enthusiastic reactions on social media from concert goers and those watching the YouTube livestream. Comments on Facebook included: ‘This was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Being in this hall with so many incredibly talented musicians was like a wave of joy washing over me.’ One Facebook user wrote: ‘Absolutely loved this. Such a pleasure to see the orchestra enjoying performing, and the conductor was fabulous.’ The reorchestrations proved a hit with Bastille fans, one of whom posted on Facebook: ‘We need an album of the orchestrated songs please!’

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will next be back at the Elbphilharmonie on 5 September 2020 as part of their ‘Nordic Pulse’ concert tour of Germany and Italy in the autumn. Tickets for the concert, which features Kristjan’s innovative recasting of Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Sleeping Beauty as a dramatic symphony, will go on sale from 1 April.

See our Facebook page and Instagram feed for photos from the Channel Aid ‘Bastille Reorchestrated’ concert

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