BMEF Newsletter – Issue 09 – August  2016
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Discovery time!

We are just a few weeks away from the start of our next exciting project – Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s ‘Baltic Sea Discovery’ tour in September, under the baton of Founding Conductor and Music Director Kristjan Järvi. The voyage starts on 15 September in Lithuania, and continues to Russia, Poland and Denmark, ending in Germany on 24 September. We’re delighted that Baltic Sea Philharmonic will be joined by celebrated Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer and members of his orchestra, Kremerata Baltica, as well as by rising star violinist Lidia Baich.

We’re also excited about the release of our next public CD – Wagner’s The Ring, an Orchestral Adventure – a recording of 14 of the musical highlights of the composer’s Norse mythology-inspired Ring Cycle, arranged for orchestra. Join us on our exciting discovery of the Baltic Sea region.

Baltic Sea Philharmonic - Baltic Sea Discovery Tour

Breaking new ground

September’s ‘Baltic Sea Discovery’ tour will explore the southern part of the Baltic Sea region, starting in Lithuania (Klaipėda) and continuing to Russia (Kaliningrad), Poland (Gdańsk), Denmark (Sønderborg and Copenhagen) and Germany (Peenemünde). It follows on from the successful ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ tour in April, which focused on the northern part of the area, and offers more people the chance to discover the orchestra’s music and mission. Kristjan Järvi explains: ‘This is a new era for a unified Baltic region, which finds its mission in the discovery and empowerment of the self. A new entrepreneurial start-up mentality has gripped the region in everything from fashion to technology. It’s all part of our culture, which is now searching for its roots.’ This is also why the tour is called ‘Discovery’: ‘We’re discovering so many aspects – of ourselves, the music, the region, the possibilities. That is what the tour is about.’
In preparation for this discovery, the musicians will come together in Kintai, Lithuania, for a concentrated period of work. For the main part of the tour, the players of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and their conductor, Kristjan Järvi, will be joined in the first such collaboration by members of Kremerata Baltica, who will be embedded within the orchestra.
Another aspect of discovery will be the performances of Weinberg’s rarely heard Violin Concerto. This will be presented by Gidon Kremer in Gdańsk (18 September), Copenhagen (20 September) and Peenemünde (24 September), and in Klaipėda (15 September) and Kaliningrad (16 September), by St. Petersburg-born violinist Lidia Baich.
Expressing the organisation’s concern for the environment, other repertoire takes the theme of the swan, with Arvo Pärt’s Swansong and Kristjan Järvi’s own concert arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Kristjan Järvi says: ‘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.’
The orchestra will also bring its voyage of discovery to around 6,000 school children in Sønderborg, Denmark, performing two special concerts on 21 and 22 September, and offering special educational programmes about music and cultural identity. The organisation already performed for nearly 4,000 children as part of Danish Radio’s ‘Into the Music’ project in 2015.
See the complete concert schedule on our website for more information and tickets. And enjoy our latest video.


Meet our special guest

We are delighted to be working with Gidon Kremer, one of the most distinctive musical voices of our time. Born in Riga, he studied with David Oistrakh at the Moscow Conservatory and won prestigious awards, including first prize in both the Paganini and Tchaikovsky competitions. Since then, he has made a name for the depth of his performances and for championing 20th- and 21st-century composers, many of whom have written specially for him.
In 1997 he founded Kremerata Baltica, with a similar mission to that of Baltic Sea Philharmonic: to foster outstanding young musicians from the three Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. He explains the benefits of such ventures: ‘Projects like these have great potential to convert students and youngsters into professionals, in the best sense of the word – I mean far away from any routine. Young people carry the responsibility for our future, and this also relates to music. I am speaking not just about becoming masterful players, but also about developing their own taste and attitude, as well as those of our audiences. Sure, we may not be able to change the world, but we can still have a positive impact on those people who attend our concerts.’
He is a major advocate for the work of Mieczysław Weinberg, and his 2014 recording of the Violin Concerto, with Kremerata Baltica, was nominated for a Grammy in 2015. But he says he only came across the composer’s work relatively recently: ‘I discovered Weinberg as a major composer of our time only a few years ago. It’s hard to believe that someone who wrote 7 operas, 22 symphonies, 17 quartets and plenty of chamber music is an unknown composer for many music lovers, even today. A very close friend and colleague of the great Dmitri Shostakovich, Weinberg influenced Shostakovich no less than Shostakovich influenced him.’
What makes the composer’s work special? ‘Weinberg’s music undoubtedly has a signature. His dramatic life left marks on most of his scores. We can feel an incredible energy, combined with a special gift for melodically filled material. His music is very clearly emotional, and therefore accessible.’
And what is looking forward to most? ‘I hope for discovery – not just on land and in concerts halls, but also in learning and experiencing unknown music together, and growing with it.’
Read the full interview with Gidon Kremer on the storyboard of our website.


Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s CD debut

Our new CD of Wagner’s Ring Cycle – Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s first recording– will be released by Sony Classical on 9 September, as part of the Kristjan Järvi Sound Project series. Wagner’s original work consists of four operas – Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung – a 15-hour marathon tale of gods and goddesses, heroes and mythical creatures, all centred around the magic ring of the title, which gives the wearer power to rule the world. This isn’t the 15-hour full epic operatic journey, though, but 14 specially selected highlights, arranged for orchestra by the Dutch composer Henk de Vlieger.
Kristjan Järvi, who conducts the recording, says: ‘The Wagner Ring Cycle without words is a symphonic voyage, and it’s one of my favourite compositions. Many people don’t know that Wagner spent time in Riga. He based his Ring Cycle on Nordic mythology and his time there. It’s well researched that if it hadn’t been for his fascination with creating a mythology based on Nordic legends from this sea-faring part of Northern Europe, none of it would have come into being.’
Indeed, in devising the plot, Wagner used a variety of German and Scandinavian myths and folk tales, such as the Edda, Völsunga saga, Thidrekssaga and the Nibelungenlied. Kristjan Järvi explains
: ‘This meaningful association with 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.’
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, but now serves as a cultural centre serving reconciliation and world peace, a major theme for Baltic Sea Philharmonic.
Find out more about the CD here or download the album on iTunes, Amazon or JPC.


Discover ‘beyond’

How do you describe Baltic Sea Philharmonic? This was the challenge we set ourselves in designing new artwork and materials for the orchestra. The word we kept coming up with was ‘beyond’. Everything we try to do is outside what has been done before; crosses lines that have been set; and goes further than that which has already been done – both musically and socially. So we decided to put the expression at the heart of our communications, including in this new gif. It’s a demanding aspiration, but we’re looking forward to fulfilling it, and we hope you’ll join us in our journey of what lies ‘beyond’. Follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram and ‘discover beyond’.

Baltic Sea Music Education Foundation e. V., Strasse der Pariser Kommune 38, 10243 Berlin, Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 30 29 770 290, Fax: +49 (0) 30 29 770 292,

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BMEF © 2016. Photos by BMEF/Peter Adamik, Petri Porkola (header), Alberts Linarts (Gidon Kremer). Video by BMEF/Adrien LeGall. Text by BMEF/Ariane Todes. Design by Brousse & Ruddigkeit.