The collective energy of the Absolute Ensemble carries through to the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, where Kristjan sees himself as part of the orchestra, and not an archetypal leader. ‘I don’t want to lead from outside and say “Follow me,”’ he says. ‘I’m someone who makes music with them, and it just happens to be my job to stand in front of them.’ Though there is no denying his dynamism as a conductor; the New York Times hailed him as ‘a kinetic force on the podium, like Leonard Bernstein reborn’.
For Kristjan, however, everybody in the Baltic Sea Philharmonic has an equal presence and importance. Instilling a feeling of true equality is liberating for the players, he says, and encourages an entrepreneurial spirit, the feeling that anything is possible. ‘I’m not preaching to them, but gently raising their consciousness. They are the ones taking the change to another level,’ he says. ‘The brilliance of music is that it’s not like religion or politics, where you have to tell people what to believe and what to do. Whether as performers or members of the audience, music is something that flips a switch in all of us.’