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After the orchestra’s striking innovations of 2017 – the revolutionary ‘Waterworks’ concert experience in collaboration with Sunbeam Productions, plus the first ever memorised performance of Stravinsky’s The Firebird– 2018 was another landmark year for the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, not least because we were celebrating ten years since the orchestra’s foundation.

Our anniversary season kicked off in July with three concerts at the Kissinger Sommer Festival in Bad Kissingen, Germany, where we gave the world premiere of Gediminas Gelgotas’s Violin Concerto with violinist David Nebel, and performed an enthusiastically received school concert. In September we toured Italy, Germany and Poland with ‘Nordic Pulse’, a new programme celebrating both our tenth anniversary and 100 years since the declarations of independence by Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Poland.

We ended the year with a momentous ‘Waterworks’ tour of the United Arab Emirates in November. This was the orchestra’s first ever tour outside Europe, and the first tour on which the orchestra performed all the music from memory. The immersive ‘Waterworks’ experience thrilled more than 2,800 concert goers at the Dubai Opera and the sold-out Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. In 2018 as a whole, the orchestra performed to a total audience of 10,800 across ten concerts in five countries.

Watch highlights of the September 2018 ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour on our YouTube channel here


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Dropping yourself into an ocean in the desert? Discovering the land of 1,000 princes? What sounds like a fairy tale from 1,001 Nights has become reality. During five exciting days with two unforgettable concerts, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi have completed their tenth-anniversary year and their first ‘Waterworks’ tour to the United Arab Emirates – the orchestra’s first tour outside Europe. The tour featured performances in Abu Dhabi on 11 November and Dubai on 14 November, with orchestra playing to over 2,800 people.

Beside letting it rain in the desert, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic performed the entire programme by heart at both concerts – another first for the orchestra and a world premiere. Championing memorised performances has given the Baltic Sea Philharmonic a unique identity in recent years. Having made history in 2017 by becoming the first orchestra in the world to perform Stravinsky’s The Firebird from memory, the ensemble took playing by heart to a new level.

‘Waterworks’: from the Baltic Sea to the Persian Gulf
Prior to the orchestra’s historic tour of the UAE, 60 musicians came together in Germany for three days of intensive rehearsals before they left Europe to make the 6,500km journey to Abu Dhabi. The orchestra’s revolutionary ‘Waterworks’ programme, presented in collaboration with Sunbeam Productions, brought a new dimension to the concert experience for audiences at the Dubai Opera and a sold-out Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. State-of-the-art lighting by Bertil Mark, sound design by Chris Ekers and cutting-edge projection art by Philipp Geist created an immersive environment in which sound and music were fused with light and images – transforming both of the beautiful concert venues.

The water-inspired musical programme brought together selections from Handel’s Water Music with a new orchestration of Philip Glass’s Aguas da Amazonia. Handel’s music was framed by two contemporary pieces, Drenched by Charles Coleman and Flux by David Rozenblatt. The concert in Dubai also featured Glass’s Violin Concerto No. 2 ‘The American Four Seasons’, performed by Russian-born soloist Mikhail Simonyan. For both concerts, the orchestra celebrated a reunion with three members of the New York-based Absolute Ensemble: trumpet player Charlie Porter, bassist Mat Fieldes, and percussionist and Flux composer David Rozenblatt. All three already joined the Baltic Sea Philharmonic on its first ‘Waterworks’ tour in 2017 of Germany and Denmark.

In the UAE, audience members praised the orchestra’s performances, with Julie Adrienne Troup, who attended the concert in Abu Dhabi, commenting afterwards on Facebook: ‘A performance of mesmerising inspirational beauty that resonated with us. Wow!’ Another Abu Dhabi concert goer, Grace S. Thomson, wrote on Facebook: ‘It was spectacular. Young musicians and a beautiful selection of masterpieces. We loved it!’

New partnership with UAE Ministry for Culture and Knowledge Development
The orchestra’s ‘Waterworks’ tour was a big success. And we’re very proud – as a result – to start a strategic collaboration with the UAE’s Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, one of the tour’s principal supporters. As a celebration of the new partnership, Emirati singer Jasim Mohamed Abdullah joined the orchestra at Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace to perform the traditional song ‘Sayyidi ya sayyed saddati’. The concert in Abu Dhabi was attended by the UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, H.E. Noura Al Kaabi. The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and the Ministry anticipate that this successful tour will lay the ground for future cultural collaborations between the Baltic Sea countries and the United Arab Emirates. From the Baltic to the Amazon, and now to the Persian Gulf, our journey through the waters of the world shows we are all connected. We hope you enjoyed riding the waves with us!


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‘Waterworks’ tour to the United Arab Emirates (11 – 14 November) – Let the music of ‘Waterworks’ take you on an inspirational journey!

From its earliest days, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic has always been uniting people. Every year our musicians come together from the ten countries of the Baltic Sea region, an area that was historically divided. And as an ambassador for Nordic culture, we reach out to other nations and people around the world with our music. Beyond music and culture, what unites us in the Baltic Sea Philharmonic is our connection to nature and to the landscapes of our region, and nothing shapes our natural environment more than the Baltic Sea itself. With ‘Waterworks’ we celebrate not just the life-giving essence of water, but also the Baltic Sea – that great body of water which sustains our region and joins us to all the other water in the world.

These musicians are not our only collaborators for ‘Waterworks’, however. Sound designer Chris Ekers, lighting designer Bertil Mark, projection artist Philipp Geist and a brilliant technical team from Sunbeam Productions have joined us to create a truly immersive concert experience, fusing music, sound, light and images to magical effect. We toured this groundbreaking show for the first time in 2017, performing it to wide acclaim in six cities in Denmark and Germany, and now we are thrilled to be bringing it to Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The music of ‘Waterworks’ is inspired by water and its power to bind us together, as Kristjan Järvi, Founding Conductor and Music Director of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, explains: ‘Our programme starts with Handel’s Water Music, because as Handel was born in Germany he was originally part of our Baltic compositional fabric, and it brings us all the way down to the waters of the Amazon, with Philip Glass’s Aguas da Amazonia. The music represents how we are from this region, but are also connected to the whole world. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the waters of the Baltic or the Amazon: everything is connected.’

‘The American Four Seasons’, for which we are delighted to welcome back the dynamic Russian-born violinist Mikhail Simonyan. We also welcome members of the New York-based Absolute Ensemble, who will be embedded in the Baltic Sea Philharmonic on this tour. And for our opening concert

in Abu Dhabi we celebrate a new strategic partnership with the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development of the United Arab Emirates with a special collaboration with Emirati singer Jasim Mohamed Abdullah. He will join the orchestra and Mikhail Simonyan to perform the traditional song ‘Sayyidi ya sayyed sadati’.

This ‘Waterworks’ tour of the United Arab Emirates is a special one for the Baltic Sea Philharmonic. It is our first ever tour outside Europe, and is also the climax of our tenth- anniversary year. Over the years we have been honoured to play in some spectacular venues, from the Théàtre des Champs- Elysées in Paris to the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg; on this tour we are excited to perform in the sumptuous auditorium of Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace and the state- of-the-art concert hall of Dubai Opera.

From the Baltic to the Amazon, and now to the Persian Gulf, our journey through the waters of the world shows we are all connected. We hope you enjoy riding the waves with us!


To read more about ‘Waterworks’, click here.


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Berlin artist Philipp Geist is the man behind the mesmerising projection art of ‘Waterworks’. With more than 21 years’ experience of creating large-scale installations, exhibitions and audio-visual projects across the world, he is no stranger to working with innovative orchestras and musicians.


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Date: 11 November 2018
Time: 7.30 pm

Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Kristjan Järvi
Mikhail Simonyan

Programme – Waterworks

David Rozenblatt: Flux
Georg Frederic Händel: ‘Hornpipe’ from Water Music HWV 348/9
Water Music HWV 350/17
Water Music HWV 350/16

Charles Coleman: Drenched

Philip Glass: Aguas da Amazonia

Tickets

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Date: 14 November 2018
Time: 8.00 pm

Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Kristjan Järvi
Mikhail Simonyan
Jasim Mohamed Abdullah

Programme – Waterworks
David Rozenblatt/George Frideric Handel/Charles Coleman: Water Music Philip Glass: Violin Concerto No. 2 ‘The American Four Sasons’
Sayyidi ya sayyed sadati
Philip Glass: Aguas da Amazonia (orchestrated by Charles Coleman)

 

Tickets

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Date: 25 August 2017
Time: 8.00 pm

Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Kristjan Järvi
Mikhail Simonyan

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

 


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Date: 26 August 2017
Time: 8.00 pm

Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Kristjan Järvi
Mikhail Simonyan

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

 


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Date: 27 August 2017
Time: 7.00 pm

Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Kristjan Järvi
Mikhail Simonyan

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

 


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Date: 29 August 2017
Time: 8.00 pm

Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Kristjan Järvi
Mikhail Simonyan

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

 


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Date: 7 May 2017
Time: 3.00 pm

Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Kristjan Järvi
Mikhail Simonyan

Programme – Waterworks
Georg Friedrich Handel/Daniel Schnyder/Charles Coleman: Water Music
Philip Glass: Violin Concerto No. 2 ‘The American Four Seasons’
Philip Glass (orchestrated by Charles Coleman): Aguas da Amazonia

 


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School Concerts

Date: 8 May 2017
Time: 9.00 am, 11.00 am, 1.00 pm

Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Kristjan Järvi
Mikhail Simonyan

Programme – Waterworks
Georg Friedrich Handel/Daniel Schnyder/Charles Coleman: Water Music
Philip Glass: Violin Concerto No. 2 ‘The American Four Seasons’
Philip Glass (orchestrated by Charles Coleman): Aguas da Amazonia

 


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Date: 9 May 2017
Time: 7.00 pm

Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Kristjan Järvi
Mikhail Simonyan

Programme – Waterworks
Georg Friedrich Handel/Daniel Schnyder/Charles Coleman: Water Music
Philip Glass: Violin Concerto No. 2 ‘The American Four Seasons’
Philip Glass (orchestrated by Charles Coleman): Aguas da Amazonia

 


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Date: 10 May 2017
Time: 9.00 am, 11.00 am, 1.00 pm

Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Kristjan Järvi
Mikhail Simonyan

Programme – Waterworks
Georg Friedrich Handel/Daniel Schnyder/Charles Coleman: Water Music
Philip Glass: Violin Concerto No. 2 ‘The American Four Seasons’
Philip Glass (orchestrated by Charles Coleman): Aguas da Amazonia

 


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When you see the ‘Waterworks’ concert photos on our Facebook page you’ll notice that the Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians have been sporting a strikingly unconventional look on stage. Thanks to a collaboration with Monton, one of five international brands operated by Estonian fashion retailer Baltika Group, the players of the orchestra – and Kristjan Järvi and Mikhail Simonyan too – have ditched traditional concert clothing for a more street-smart style...


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From its earliest days, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic has always been uniting people. Every year our musicians come together from the ten countries of the Baltic Sea region, an area that was historically divided. And as an ambassador for Nordic culture, we reach out to other nations and people around the world with our music. Beyond music and culture, what unites us in the Baltic Sea Philharmonic is our connection to nature and to the landscapes of our region, and nothing shapes our natural environment more than the Baltic Sea itself. With ‘Waterworks’ we celebrate not just the life-giving essence of water, but also the Baltic Sea – that great body of water which sustains our region and joins us to all the other water in the world.

The music of ‘Waterworks’ is inspired by water and its power to bind us together, as Kristjan Järvi explains: ‘Our programme starts with Handel’s Water Music, because as Handel was born in Germany he was originally part of our Baltic compositional fabric, and it brings us all the way down to the waters of the Amazon, with Philip Glass’s Aguas da Amazonia. The music represents how we are from this region, but are also connected to the whole world. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the waters of the Baltic or the Amazon: everything is connected.’

As we mark Philip Glass’s 80th birthday year, alongside Aguas da Amazonia we perform another of his nature-themed compositions, the Violin Concerto No. 2 The American Four Seasons, for which we are delighted to welcome back the dynamic Russian-born violinist Mikhail Simonyan. We also welcome musicians of the New York-based Absolute Ensemble, who will be embedded in the Baltic Sea Philharmonic on this tour. A brilliant technical team have joined us to create a truly immersive concert experience, fusing music, fashion, sound, light and images to magical effect. This show marks a new stage in our journey as an orchestra, and we are thrilled to be sharing it for the first time with you.


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