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Baltic Sea Philharmonic

marks major anniversaries in 2018 with action-packed year of international touring


Baltic Sea Philharmonic © Peter Adamik


  • Orchestra and Kristjan Järvi to celebrate tenth anniversary
  • ‘Nordic Pulse’ European tours in 2018 mark 100th anniversary of independence for Finland, Baltic States and Poland
  • Pioneering ‘Waterworks’ programme to return in 2018 with concert in Germany and tour of United Arab Emirates

Berlin, 30 January 2018. Following two landmark tours in 2017, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will undertake a series of major international tours in 2018. Highlights include a tour of the United Arab Emirates, and a European tour celebrating both the 100th anniversary of independence for Finland, the Baltic States and Poland, and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s own tenth anniversary. 

Shaping the future: 2017 and the start of a new performance dimension
The orchestra’s two tours in 2017, ‘Waterworks’ and ‘Baltic Folk’, were both groundbreaking in their presentation. With ‘Waterworks’, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic debuted a bold new fusion of music, light, visual art, sound design and fashion in collaboration with Sunbeam Productions. Along with spectacular projections and dynamic lighting design, the innovative presentation extended to the musicians wearing bespoke outfits from Estonian fashion house Baltika Group. The musical programme, which featured original arrangements of Handel’s Water Music and a new orchestration of Philip Glass’s Aguas da Amazonia, thrilled audiences in Germany and Denmark in May and August; concerts in Hattingen, Berlin, Peenemünde and Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie were sold out, and 6,000 Danish children came to special ‘Waterworks’ school concerts in Copenhagen and Aarhus. 

The orchestra’s ‘Baltic Folk’ tour of Sweden, Italy and Germany in August made history with the world’s first ever memorised performance of Stravinsky’s The Firebird. The musicians played the 1945 orchestral version of the iconic ballet score entirely by heart, drawing praise from both critics and audiences alike. The tour included a sold-out concert at the Merano Music Festival in Merano, Italy, and a performance at the Rheingau Music Festival in Wiesbaden, Germany, a live-stream of which was viewed by 15,000 people.

‘Nordic Pulse’ – a double celebration of landmark anniversaries in 2018
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s first major project of 2018 is ‘Nordic Pulse’. Inspired by the 100th anniversary of independence for the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, ‘Nordic Pulse’ also celebrates 100 years of independence for Finland and Poland and, furthermore, ten years since the birth of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic itself. The ensemble, under its Estonian conductor Kristjan Järvi, will perform music by Lithuanian composer Gediminas Gelgotas, Latvian composer Imants Kalniᶇš and Estonian composer Eduard Tubin, as well as pieces by Sibelius and Järvi himself. Swiss violinist David Nebel will give the world premiere of Gelgotas’s new Violin Concerto in a concert in Germany in July. The European tour of ‘Nordic Pulse’ in September will revisit Stravinsky’s The Firebird, with the orchestra again performing the piece entirely from memory.

Järvi sees strong parallels between the declaration of independence by the Baltic States and the creation in 2008 of what would become the Baltic Sea Philharmonic. ‘These nations saw the opportunity to assert themselves a century ago,’ he says. ‘They stood, and still stand today, for identity. And I think that from a strong identity, you can create unity, a truly coexistent brotherhood. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic, by bringing together musicians from all around the Baltic Sea, has always stood for unity. As musicians, we share common roots, common paths and common histories, but we are still ourselves. So it is for the nations of this incredible Nordic region that we represent.’

‘Waterworks’ to return in 2018
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi will take their pioneering ‘Waterworks’ concert experience on the road again in 2018. After a concert in Germany in July, the orchestra will end the year with its first ever tour of the United Arab Emirates in November, giving performances of ‘Waterworks’ in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Joining the orchestra and Kristjan Järvi again for this ‘Waterworks’ tour will be Russian-born violinist Mikhail Simonyan, as featured soloist in Philip Glass’s Violin Concerto No. 2 ‘The American Four Seasons’, and members of the New York-based Absolute Ensemble.

Baltic Sea Philharmonic – a revolution in music and culture
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic is a new paradigm for music making in the 21st century. Its concerts are a unique spectacle of sound, light, projection art and choreography; its passion for playing orchestral works from memory transforms the musical experience for both players and audiences; and its performances, under the electrifying baton of Music Director Kristjan Järvi, have a special passion and energy that’s infectious. But even more than this, as a community of musicians from ten Nordic countries, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic transcends geographical and historical boundaries and has become a movement for bringing people together. Embodying all that is innovative and progressive about the Nordic region, this visionary ensemble is taking the traditional orchestral model further than ever before. ‘It is a living breathing creature, with boundless energy and enthusiasm for the new – an adventure in itself,’ says Kristjan Järvi. 


Press contact
Alexander Datz, Press Officer, Baltic Sea Music Education Foundation e.V.
Mobile: +49 176 741 61 157,

Notes to editors:

‘Nordic Pulse’ and ‘Waterworks’ – July 2018
Saturday, 7 July 2018, Kissinger Sommer, Max-Littmann-Saal, Bad Kissingen (Germany), 8.00 pm

Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Kristjan Järvi
David Nebel

Programme Nordic Pulse
Kristjan Järvi: Aurora 
Gediminas Gelgotas: Violin Concerto (2018)
Peter I. Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake Concert Suite (arranged by Kristjan Järvi)

Monday, 9 July 2018, Kissinger Sommer, Max-Littmann-Saal, Bad Kissingen (Germany), 11.00 am (school concert)
Monday, 9 July 2018, Kissinger Sommer, Max-Littmann-Saal, Bad Kissingen (Germany), 8.00 pm

Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Kristjan Järvi

Programme Waterworks
Gene Pritsker/George Frideric Handel/Charles Coleman: Water Music
Philip Glass: Aguas da Amazonia (orchestrated by Charles Coleman)

‘Nordic Pulse’ – September 2018
Monday, 17 September 2018, Merano Music Festival, Kursaal, Merano (Italy), 8.30 pm
Tuesday, 18 September 2018, Residenz, Herkulessaal, Munich (Germany), 8.00 pm
Saturday, 22 September 2018, Usedom Music Festival, Kraftwerk Museum Peenemünde, Island of Usedom (Germany), 8.00 pm
Monday, 23 September 2018, location tbc, Gdansk (Poland), 8.00 pm
Wednesday, 26 September 2018, Klaipeda (Lithuania), tbc
Thursday, 27 September 2018, Liepaja (Latvia), tbc
Saturday, 29 September 2018, Pärnu (Estonia), tbc

Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Kristjan Järvi
Soloist tbc

Programme Nordic Pulse
Gediminas Gelgotas: Mountains. Waters. (Freedom)
Eduard Tubin: Suite on Estonian Dance Pieces for violin and orchestra
Kristjan Järvi: Aurora for violin and orchestra
Jean Sibelius: The Tempest concert suite
Imants Kalniņš: Rock Symphony, 1st movement
Igor Stravinsky: The Firebird (1945)

‘Waterworks’ – November 2018
Sunday, 11 November 2018, location tbc, Abu Dhabi (UAE), 7.00 pm
Wednesday, 14 November 2018, location tbc, Dubai (UAE), 8.00 pm

Baltic Sea Philharmonic   
Kristjan Järvi
Mikhail Simonyan

Programme Waterworks   
Gene Pritsker/George Frideric Handel/Charles Coleman: Water Music
Philip Glass: Violin Concerto No. 2 ‘The American Four Seasons’
Philip Glass: Aguas da Amazonia (orchestrated by Charles Coleman)

About the Baltic Sea Philharmonic
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic is a unique Nordic orchestra that brings together musicians from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden. In 2018 the Baltic Sea Philharmonic celebrates its tenth anniversary. The orchestra started life in 2008 as the Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic, a joint initiative of the Usedom Music Festival and Nord Stream AG. It quickly established an international reputation, not just for its acclaimed performances under the baton of Kristjan Järvi, but also with its powerful message of unity and cooperation in a region that has historically been divided. In 2015 the orchestra was awarded the prestigious European Culture Prize for its achievements in developing creativity and innovation, and influencing the cultural scene across the Baltic Sea region. Newly renamed the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, in 2016 the orchestra collaborated with Gidon Kremer and the Kremerata Baltica, and celebrated the release by Sony Classical of its recording of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, arranged by Henk de Vlieger. In 2017 the Baltic Sea Philharmonic made history by becoming the first orchestra to perform Stravinsky’s The Firebird from memory. The orchestra continues its commitment to innovation and to the environment in 2018 with an immersive, water-themed concert show that features cutting-edge visual art, lighting and sound design.