The German Consulate General in Gdańsk, the City of Gdańsk and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic champion unity and solidarity with Ukraine

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi close out their ‘Nordic Swans’ tour of Belgium (Antwerp, 23 March), Germany (Berlin, 24 March) and Poland with a special Freedom and Solidarity Concert at the European Solidarity Centre in Gdańsk on 26 March. The concert will be held under the patronage of the German Consulate General in Gdańsk and the City of Gdańsk. The event also sees the launch of a new initiative by Kristjan Järvi, #musichainforukraine.

As the world witnesses lives and freedoms being attacked in Ukraine, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and calls for peace and unity in Europe. As an ensemble that brings together musicians from ten countries around the Baltic Sea region, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic has always had a mission to connect people and communities across Europe. The orchestra recognises that now it is more important than ever to support dialogue and understanding between nations. Gdańsk is the birthplace of the Solidarity movement, which played a major role in ending Communist rule in Poland. The movement’s founding leader Lech Wałęsa, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 and served as Polish president from 1990 to 1995, strongly condemns the war against Ukraine: ‘This war is a disgrace and a slap in the face for humanity and the modern world. At the same time, it is a challenge for the free democratic world.’ He adds that ‘peace is absolutely necessary for us to survive as a species, for the world to survive. And we must prove that the wiser democratic part of the world is stronger.’ The livestream of the performance will be on the YouTube channel of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic on Saturday 26 Mach at 8.00pm CET.

A world premiere and the launch of a digital music solidarity project
The ‘Nordic Swans’ programme, performed entirely from memory, features swan-inspired music by Arvo Pärt (Swansong), Sibelius (The Swan of Tuonela) and Tchaikovsky (Swan Lake, newly arranged by Kristjan Järvi as a Dramatic Symphony). But another bird will share the spotlight in Gdańsk, as the performance opens with the world premiere of Child of the Nightingale, a new piece written by Kristjan Järvi and Ukrainian musician Ruslan Trochynskyi, from the folk band Svjata Vatra. The nightingale is the national bird of Ukraine and is often invoked in Ukrainian folklore and folksong as a harbinger of spring and a singer of sweet sounds. Trochynskyi will join Kristjan Järvi on stage in Gdańsk to perform their creation with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic.

Child of the Nightingale also heralds the launch of #musichainforukraine, a new digital project by Kristjan Järvi that aims to connect people through the power of music. Building on a series of innovative music videos that the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi have been creating collaboratively throughout the pandemic, #musichainforukraine will invite musicians around the world to record and post their own versions of the Child of the Nightingale melody on social media, thereby creating an organic musical chain that stands for peace, freedom and solidarity. Kristjan Järvi says: ‘It is time to create a living and breathing monument that will remind all those who are waging wars against humanity that we will not give up and that we cannot be defeated. I invite everyone to come together and send a message of peace and solidarity in the most universal language of the world – the language of music. Record your own version of Child of the Nightingale and post it online using #musichainforukraine or #musichain. This is how we will create a virtual sound chain, an unbreakable proof of our unity, and the belief that dark times will end when we share the light.’