BMEF Newsletter – Issue 07 – April 2016
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Welcome to our Tour Newsletter

Our brand new orchestra has landed, heralding a new era for Baltic Sea Music Education Foundation. Baltic Sea Philharmonic made its first public appearance in Klaipeda, Lithuania, on Friday, to a sold-out hall, giving four encores. Saturday’s concert in Liepāja offered an exciting light show, taking our mission to bring people together through music to the next level.
In preparation for the ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ tour, the musicians spent an intense week at the Baltic Sea Music Academy’s annual LAB in Liepāja, Latvia, working with Founding Conductor and Music Director Kristjan Järvi and a team of international coaches on repertoire that celebrates the environment – the main theme of the tour.
The players perform tonight in Tallinn, Estonia, and from there they go to Helsinki and St. Petersburg, ending the tour in Moscow on 23 April. This marks the 125th anniversary of the birth of Prokofiev and they celebrate with a special performance of the composer’s Third Piano Concerto, performed by Alexander Toradze.
But if you’re not lucky enough to be able to join us on tour, we will release a ‘Baltic Sea Landscapes’ CD, so you won’t have to miss out.

Debut sells out

Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s first ever public appearance on Friday went off with a bang, with the Klaipeda Concert Hall completely sold out, and the orchestra asked back for four encores, ending with the audience dancing and clapping along.
Klaipeda was chosen specially for the start of the tour, explains Kristjan Järvi: ‘It’s right in the middle 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.’
The repertoire for the tour is themed around the environment, with music that describes and celebrates nature and wildlife, by composers from the region. This includes Jean Sibelius’s Karelia Suite, Arvo Pärt’s Swansong, Stravinsky’s Firebird, and Gediminas Gelgotas’s Mountains. Waters. (Freedom). 
The environment is a key part of the orchestra’s philosophy, as Kristjan explained in his speech at the Klaipeda concert: ‘This orchestra is about the people that live around the Baltic Sea. We have incredible nature, wildlife, forests and amazingly pure air. When I am here, I can tell that I am here. And there are no borders. We have one society. We have a unified language, which is music. These are people who come together because they love each other, because they are in this region and they care for this region – together. That is why we are doing this.’
The Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s second concert, on Saturday, in Liepāja, Latvia, included a stunning light show. This was the first time we have tried such a thing, and judging by the massive audience response, it will certainly not be the last.
Following a day off, the tour continues tonight, with the orchestra performing in Tallinn, Estonia, and then in Helsinki on Tuesday, where it will raise money for the John Nurminen Foundation’s ‘Clean Baltic Sea’ projects. On Thursday the orchestra travels to St. Petersburg to perform in the Mariinsky Concert Hall at the invitation of Valery Gergiev, and it rounds off the tour on Saturday in Moscow, marking the 125th anniversary of Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev. Georgian pianist Alexander Toradze, one of the leading proponents of the composer’s work, will perform the Third Piano Concerto.
Kristjan explains the importance of this event: ‘It’s interesting to go to a place like Russia with an Estonian conductor and a Georgian pianist to celebrate a Russian composer. It proves there are no borders. That’s where the unity comes from to transcend politics and misunderstandings. The truth is that we are the same. We all have the same issues.’
Follow the tour on Facebook, on Instagram and Twitter or on our website.


Coming together

In preparation for the tour, the 80 members of the orchestra came together last week for the latest in our annual LABs, from 9 to 14 April, in Liepāja, Latvia. It gave them the chance not only to work on repertoire for the tour and to get to know each other, but also to be inspired by the wide-ranging and innovative sessions, including sectional coaching and workshops on rhythm. They also worked alongside participants of the Conducting and Composition workshops, offering them the chance to learn from each other and develop new skills, under the guidance of Kristjan Järvi and a panel of international coaches.
These instrumental specialists are a key part of what makes the orchestra so special, according to cello coach Justas Kulikauskas: ‘Without the LAB, Baltic Sea Philharmonic would be an ordinary orchestra that just plays with a conductor who tells them everything. But when you involve specialists for the different instruments, they can give their sections specific things to bring to the orchestra, which helps develop better sound and rhythm.’
Justas has been involved in LABs since 2014 and is himself a member of NICO, the New Ideas Chamber Orchestra of composer Gediminas Gelgotas. How does this year compare to others? Justas says: ‘It was a great LAB – extremely intense. We got excellent results because half of the orchestra was new. At first it seemed hard, because everything had to be prepared and no one knew what they were doing, but in the end it was really good and all the coaches are proud of what we did.’
There were challenges for the coaches, he explains: ‘It’s interesting to see how much progress we can make in one week – how much difference we can create in the feeling. Kristjan works on the main sound of the orchestra, but we help him by coaching during the rehearsals. In sectionals we push the players to their limits, because we’re usually saying things they haven’t heard before, asking them to play in a different way.’
The breakthrough, when it came, was obvious to everyone, though: ‘There was one special rehearsal moment in Stravinsky’s Firebird, which was the first time that everyone really stuck together and it sounded fantastic. The coaches looked at each other and nodded. It was very exciting.’
Find out more about our Academy LABs and see some photos here and here.


Save to disc

Baltic Sea Philharmonic has started work on an exciting new collaboration with rising star violinist David Nebel, from LGT Young Soloists. Under Kristjan’s baton, 19-year-old David and the orchestra have recorded Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto, one of the towering solo works of the 20th century, as well as Nebula, a piece specially written for solo violin by Kristjan.
Both pieces were recorded in Liepāja, Latvia, during the orchestra’s academy LAB period. How is it different recording a piece from performing it live? David explains: ‘When you record, you are taking care of every note, and putting every ounce of energy into making each one as amazing as possible. It is a lot of work and I enjoyed every second. The biggest difference between recording and live performance is that the bond between soloist, conductor and orchestra is much more intense when you record. You have the chance to get to know each other really well, musically, and to develop a common idea about music, to the highest degree. This is something you can’t create in just one general rehearsal before a concert.’
David was thrilled to work with Kristjan, and to play his new piece. He’s always been a big fan, he says: ‘When I found out that I was to record my debut CD with Kristjan Järvi, it was a huge, exhilarating surprise for me. I have long been an enthusiast for his work. He always thinks out of the box and sees no borders. I admire his attitude to taking risks. I was inspired on so many different levels and learnt so much by having the chance to experience his unique and extraordinary approach first-hand.’
David was also inspired by working with the young players of Baltic Sea Philharmonic: ‘It is not just playing with an orchestra – it is more like a movement, which brings the music to a completely new level. The fact that we come from the same generation was a huge part of the success we had in working together. Our joint goal of bringing a youthful, fresh atmosphere to classical music was certainly accomplished!’
Get to know more about David here:


Baltic Sea Philharmonic - The Photo Shoot

Behind the scenes

On Thursday, the musicians of the orchestra and Kristjan took time out from their busy schedule to do a photo shoot, creating some beautiful new images to go with the orchestra’s new branding. They braved the bracing spring weather by going to Liepāja beach in full concert wear, as well as being photographed around Liepāja’s photogenic Great Amber Hall.
Watch a video of the photo shoot on our YouTube channel.


Support our musicians

It costs 100,000 Euros a year to hold our annual Academy LAB. Currently, we get 10% of this from public funding and we need your help to make up the rest.
For our young players, Baltic Sea Music Academy offers an unparalleled training, with Kristjan and his world-renowned faculty. For its audiences, Baltic Sea Philharmonic generates a thrilling musical experience, engaging them with the passion and emotion of great classical music, often for the first time. For the Baltic Sea region and the world, the orchestra demonstrates the value of community and of different cultures working together.
For 500 Euros you can sponsor one young player to participate in our intensive Academy LAB session. Can you help us? To get in touch to donate or find out more, please contact via us.
Sparkasse Mittelmosel, Account holder: Baltic Sea Music Education Foundation e. V.
BIC: MALADE51BKS, IBAN: DE59 5875 1230 0032 4259 69
Find out more on our website.


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. Video by BMEF/Adrien LeGall. Text by Ariane Todes.