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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Sold-out inaugural Baltic Sea Philharmonic tour hailed as ‘life-enhancing experience’

The new Baltic Sea Philharmonic played to packed concert halls and was asked back for 24 encores on its ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ tour, which ended on Saturday night in Moscow, under the baton of Kristjan Järvi. Michael Mustillo of The Baltic Times wrote: ‘It was an impeccable performance that was both electrifying and enthralling, and one which saw Järvi bringing down the house… He and his devoted musicians without doubt gave a life-enhancing musical experience.’

The orchestra performed in six cities, crossing nearly 2,000 km during the tour, starting in Klaipeda, Lithuania; travelling to Liepāja (Latvia), Tallinn (Estonia), Helsinki (Finland); then to St. Petersburg, to play at the Mariinsky Concert Hall, on the invitation of Valery Gergiev. The group finished in Moscow on 23 April, Prokofiev’s birthday, which it celebrated with a special performance of the Third Piano Concerto by Alexander Toradze, a celebrated champion of the composer.

A key focus of the tour was the environment, which is at the heart of the orchestra’s motivation. Repertoire celebrated nature and wildlife, and the tour proceeded under the joint patronage of the Ministers of the Environment for Finland, Estonia and Russia, two of whom attended the Helsinki concert, which raised money for the John Nurminen Foundation’s ‘Clean Baltic Sea’ projects.

The orchestra also introduced a special new light show to complement the performance, and all the concerts ended up with carefully chosen encores, reflecting local folk culture, with audiences clapping and dancing along.

The success heralds a new era for the Baltic Sea Music Education Foundation and for its ambitions for the environment, culture and society of the region. Kristjan Järvi explained this to the audience at the Helsinki concert: ‘Our purpose is to make a point of connection, a point of contact, not only with the audience, but between all of these people, from Norway to Russia – ten countries in this incredible region. An orchestra has a big purpose. It manifests itself on stage, and you see all these different people from different countries playing together. We create an example of unity. This is the microcosm of the harmony that can exist in a united Northern Europe of ten countries. We’re strong, if we want to be.’

See photos, clips and behind the scenes on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Watch Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s closing concert live from Moscow tonight

The closing concert of Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ inaugural tour will be broadcast live from Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Concert Hall on Saturday, 23 April, at 7 pm Moscow time (6 pm Berlin; 5pm London), on http://meloman.ru/online/?.

The evening marks the 125th anniversary of the birth of Sergei Prokofiev, and in tribute, the orchestra will perform the composer’s Symphony No. 1 in D major ‘Classical’, and accompany celebrated Prokofiev champion Alexander Toradze in the Piano Concerto No.3 in C major. Toradze described the concerto: ‘It is like champagne. It has a variety of geographical and ethnic identities – Russian, Jewish and Japanese. It is extremely cosmopolitan, a kaleidoscope of themes from many different parts and even many different times in his life.’

Other repertoire celebrates the environment, which has been a key theme for the ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ tour, held under the patronage of the Ministers of the Environment for Finland, Estonia and Russia, and raising money for the John Nurminen Foundation’s Clean Baltic Sea project. The orchestra plays Arvo Pärt’s Swansong, Gediminas Gelgotas’s Mountains. Waters. (Freedom) and Igor Stravinsky’s The Firebird.

Live stream from Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, Moscow
Saturday, 23 April, 7 pm Moscow time (6 pm Berlin; 5pm London)
http://meloman.ru/online/?


Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Kristjan Järvi, conductor
Alexander Toradze, piano

Sergei Prokofiev: Symphony No. 1 in D major Classical, Op. 25
Sergei Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major, Op. 26
***
Arvo Pärt: Swansong (Littlemore Tractus) for orchestra
Gediminas Gelgotas: Mountains. Waters. (Freedom)
Igor Stravinsky: The Firebird (1945)

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Baltic Sea Philharmonic makes its debut at the start of its inaugural tour

The new Baltic Sea Philharmonic makes its first public appearance tonight in Klaipeda, Lithuania, at the start of its ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ journey, under the baton of Founding Conductor and Music Director Kristjan Järvi. The concert follows an intense week of rehearsals at the Baltic Sea Music Education Foundation’s annual LAB in Liepāja, Latvia, with Järvi and a panel of international coaches.

Kristjan Järvi explained the choice of venues for the tour: ‘The first concert is in Klaipeda because it’s right in the heart of the region. I am very glad that we are starting our life as the Baltic Sea Philharmonic here, and in the countries that matter the most to me.’

From its first stop in Lithuania, the orchestra travels to Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Russia, the tour culminating in Moscow on 23 April, with a celebration of the 125th anniversary of Prokofiev. The orchestra will accompany Alexander Toradze in the composer’s Third Piano Concerto.

The ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ programme celebrates the environment, a key theme for the orchestra, with repertoire including Jean Sibelius’s Karelia Suite, Arvo Pärt’s Swansong, Stravinsky’s Firebird, and Gediminas Gelgotas’s Mountains. Waters. (Freedom). Its concert in Helsinki will raise money for the John Nurminen Foundation’s ‘Clean Baltic Sea’ projects.

Baltic Sea Philharmonic has been born out of the success of Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic, which continues as a training orchestra, while Baltic Sea Philharmonic becomes the public touring face of the Baltic Sea Music Education Foundation’s work.

For more information on the ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ programme see https://baltic-sea-philharmonic.eu/storyboard/baltic-sea-landscapes/

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Musicians gather in Latvia for the start of LAB sessions

Musicians from across the Baltic Sea region have come together in Liepāja, Latvia, for one of the most intense musical experiences of their lives – this year’s Academy LAB sessions. From 9 to 14 April they will live, breathe, eat and sleep music, as they rehearse under the baton of Kristjan Järvi for the ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ tour, which kicks off with on Friday, 15 April 2016, 6.00 pm, in Klaipeda, Lithuania.

Alongside the intensive orchestral schedule, players will participate in innovative workshops designed to inspire them in their future careers, as well as having some time to socialise with other passionate young musicians from across the region. They will also work with up-and-coming composers and conductors as part of our Composition and Conducting Workshops, which run in parallel to the LAB.

Coaches for this year’s LAB include Ole Edvard Antonsen (brass); Jan Bjøranger (violin); Paul Cortese (viola); Charles DeRamus (double bass); Andrey Godik (woodwinds); Justas Kulikauskas (cello); Sebastiaan Molenaar (percussion) and Daniel Schnyder (composition). Daniel Schnyder describes what makes LABs so special: ‘There are many composition workshops, violin workshops and youth orchestras around the world. But there doesn’t exist another that is the whole package, where students can access the entire musical process of creating music, improvising, playing new music and traditional music, and knowing how to play in an orchestra. We always try to present something new and exciting to the young people, to give them ideas. We fuse all these aspects of music making together here, which is unique.’

Together with Founding Conductor and Music Director Kristjan Järvi, the musicians will work on repertoire that celebrates the environment, a key priority for the Baltic Sea Philharmonic – its Helsinki concert will be presented by the John Nurminen Foundation to raise funds for its ‘Clean Baltic Sea’ projects. The programme offers a journey across seas and landscapes, through nature and wildlife, with works such as Jean Sibelius’s Karelia Suite, Arvo Pärt’s Swansong, Stravinsky’s Firebird, and Gediminas Gelgotas’s Mountains. Waters. (Freedom). The orchestra also performs works by Brahms and Prokofiev, whose 125th anniversary it will celebrate on 23 April with a concert in Moscow.

Download our new  Tour Programme ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’.

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Baltic Sea Philharmonic tours ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ programme in April

For its first tour, the orchestra takes its specially-themed ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ programme to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Russia from 15 to 23 April 2016. It starts in the sea ports of Klaipeda (Lithuania), Liepāja (Latvia) and Tallinn (Estonia), and then goes on to Helsinki (Finland) as well as St. Petersburg and Moscow (Russia). The programme includes repertoire that portrays the sea, nature and landscapes of the Baltic Sea region, including Jean Sibelius’s Karelia Suite, Arvo Pärt’s Swansong, Stravinsky’s Firebird, and Gediminas Gelgotas’s Mountains. Waters. (Freedom). World-renowned Russian pianist Alexander Toradze joins the orchestra for the tour as soloist to perform Prokofiev, whose 125th anniversary the musicians will celebrate on 23 April with a concert in Moscow.

The environment, and specifically the natural landscape of the Baltic Sea region, lies at the heart of orchestra’s mission, and of this programme, as Kristjan Järvi explained: ‘The tour takes us through a journey of Baltic Sea ports, bringing the environment into focus, with pieces that come from the area and are written by composers who have been inspired by nature. It’s music that makes you feel the Northern Lights, the ice, the cold wind, the forests, the incredible feeling when you jump into the lakes. The whole mentality and way of being of the region is formed by nature, which is why you have these great composers.’

Tickets for all concerts are now on sale. For more details, see the concert schedule.

‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ Tour 2016
Friday, 15 April 2016, 6.00 pm, Klaipeda (Concert Hall), Lithuania
Saturday, 16 April 2016, 7.00 pm, Liepāja (Great Amber Concert Hall), Latvia
Monday, 18 April 2016, 7.00 pm, Tallinn (Estonia Concert Hall), Estonia
Tuesday, 19 April 2016, 7.00 pm, Helsinki (Music Centre), Finland
Thursday, 21 April 2016, 6.30 pm, St. Petersburg (Mariinsky Concert Hall), Russia
Saturday, 23 April 2016, 7.00 pm, Moscow (Tchaikovsky Concert Hall), Russia

Programme
Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Kristjan Järvi, conductor
Alexander Toradze, piano

Jean Sibelius: Karelia Suite, Op. 11 (Klaipeda, Liepāja, Tallinn, Helsinki only)
Sergei Prokofiev: Symphony No. 1 in D major Classical, Op. 25 (Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Moscow only)
Sergei Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major, Op. 26 (except for Tallinn)
Arvo Pärt: Swansong (Littlemore Tractus) for orchestra
Gediminas Gelgotas: Mountains. Waters. (Freedom)
Igor Stravinsky: The Firebird (1945)

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Opportunity knocks: Applications open for Conductor and Composer Workshops in April 2016

BYP Academy Conductor and Composer Workshops run alongside the main orchestral programme during the BYP Academy, which takes place in Liepaja, Latvia, in April 2016, allowing students to interact with the orchestra, under the supervision of Founding Conductor and Music Director Kristjan Järvi, and a faculty of high-level coaches. All travel and accommodation costs are met by Baltic Sea Music Education Foundation and meals are provided.

Three applicants will be selected for the five-day Conducting Workshop, where they will work directly with Kristjan Järvi, rehearsing the full BYP orchestra under his supervision and taking part in recording new pieces from the Composition Workshop. They will each conduct the Baltic Sea Philharmonic in a movement of Sibelius’s Karelia Suite in concert, in Liepaja, on 16 April 2016.

The four-day Composition Workshop will be led by composer and saxophonist Daniel Schnyder, with students benefiting from his hands-on approach to composition and his knowledge of a variety of styles, traditions and orchestral colours. They will work side-by-side with members of BYP to learn practical strategies for composing for the instruments of the orchestra, and compose part of a new work, which will be performed by the orchestra.

In an interview, Daniel Schnyder explains what makes the BYP Academy Composition Workshop so special: ‘There are many composition workshops, violin workshops and youth orchestras around the world. But there doesn’t exist another that is the whole package, where students can access the entire musical process of creating music, improvising, playing new music and traditional music, and knowing how to play in an orchestra. We always try to present something new and exciting to the young people, to give them ideas. We fuse all these aspects of music making together here, which is unique.’

For more details and to sign up, go here for the Conductor Workshop or Composer Workshops.

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New orchestra Baltic Sea Philharmonic to make debut in April 2016

The two orchestras will share the same goals towards culture, society and the environment, and while BYP remains a high-level orchestra that trains musical and social skills in talented young performers and composers, Baltic Sea Philharmonic will become the primary public-facing part of the Baltic Sea Music Education Foundation, coming together several times a year to tour specific projects across Europe, and eventually the world.

Kristjan Järvi said: ‘We have now come to the point where we have developed into a larger institution than we ever imagined, so we’re launching a new orchestra in addition to our youth orchestra – the Baltic Sea Philharmonic. It remains a young orchestra, building up on the success of the Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic and carrying its spirit and ideals on to a new level.’

Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s April ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ tour starts in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, with further performances in Finland and Russia and is dedicated to the environment of the Baltic Sea region. Repertoire includes Sibelius, Brahms, Pärt, Gelgotas and Stravinsky, and the orchestra will perform Prokofiev in Moscow on 23rd April, the composer’s 125th anniversary. In September 2016 the ensemble tours the Baltic Sea Discovery programme across Central Europe, joined by Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica.

Find out more about the concert dates and programmes here.

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Players flock to BYP auditions

Following BYP’s innovative formula of having auditions that include masterclass elements, the players had the opportunity to work with jury members on orchestral excerpts that the orchestra will be working on next season, including Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Gelgotas. BYP coaches gave them constructive feedback on their performances, offering them valuable insights into orchestral playing, as well as being able to see how they adapt to new information and to being part of a group. Percussion coach Damien Bassman explained this process: ‘They don’t have to do it my way, but they have to be open-minded and open to the conversation. LAB workshops are about working with them, so I’m asking myself whether this is someone whose playing I can improve in a week.’

Coaches this year were Jan Bjøranger (professor and head of the string department at the University of Stavanger, Norway) and Justas Kulikauskas (solo cellist of the New Ideas Chamber Orchestra NICO, Lithuania) for strings; Martin Kuuskmann (Estonian solo bassoonist of worldwide renown) and Andrej Zust (hornist at the Berlin Philharmonic) for woodwind and brass; and Damien Bassman (principal percussionist of Absolute Ensemble and teacher at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City and at New York University) for percussion.

Musicians will be informed of the results by 18 December 2015, with the orchestra next coming together in April 2016.

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