Waterworks – A world transformed

With ‘Waterworks’ the Baltic Sea Philharmonic is reimagining the concert experience

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‘Waterworks’ marks the start of a radical new approach to presenting orchestral music. On this tour the Baltic Sea Philharmonic is setting out to transform the audience experience, by using cutting-edge projection, lighting and sound design to immerse concert goers in a world that’s visual as well as musical. These technological enhancements are not merely designed to thrill and delight audiences, says Kristjan Järvi, but to take them to a new level of awareness and openness. ‘We want to create an atmosphere from the moment a concert goer enters the space,’ he says. ‘The audience should feel as if they are suddenly entering a new dimension, where they can forget about their regular lives and become part of a world where anything is possible.’

From hearing the splashes of raindrops echoing around the concert hall to seeing ripples and waves pulsing in time with the music, or feeling almost swept up in a projection of water cascading over a balcony, the possibilities with state-of-the-art technologies to create an alternate reality for concert audiences are immense.

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Water, with all its natural forms, is an endlessly inspiring theme for projection mapping and lighting design. Handel’s Water Music goes through a series of transformations, and each of the ten movements of Philip Glass’s Aguas da Amazonia has a different character and feel, and we want to convey all this variety through the changing visual elements and lighting. As for Glass’s Violin Concerto No. 2 ‘The American Four Seasons’, the visual design intriguingly recasts the seasons as the four elements ‒ earth, air, fire and water. All the elements, the whole force of nature can be represented with this piece.

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The designers and visual artists behind ‘Waterworks’ comprise a multidisciplinary team of leaders in their respective fields. German-born Bertil Mark is an award-winning lighting and stage designer who has designed shows and tour productions for rock groups, hip-hop artists and singer-songwriters. British-based sound designer Chris Ekers has worked with dance, theatre and opera companies, and with artists such as Gavin Bryars, Jan Garbarek, Max Richter and the Hilliard Ensemble. German projection artist Philipp Geist’s musical collaborations have included an installation in Bayreuth in 2013 for the Richard Wagner 200th-anniversary celebrations. His latest project, Time Drifts Cologne, transformed the square beside Cologne Cathedral into a large-scale walkable light installation.

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But the immediate goal of audience transformation doesn’t just end with the last note played: We want this experience to ignite a spark in people, so that ultimately they become so inspired by what they’ve seen and heard that they will want to go out and create something similar themselves. Just as the Baltic Sea Philharmonic is transforming expectations of what an orchestra should be, so this new adventure in orchestral presentation, as pioneered in ‘Waterworks’, is a dynamic and revolutionary model for concerts of the future.

Waterworks

Soloists of the tour

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BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC

Tour Schedule

The Future of the Baltic Sea
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