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The 2019 Baltic Sea Festival brings together the Baltic countries with cross-border music and conversations

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STOCKHOLM / SWEDEN (April 24, 2019) ––– This year’s Baltic Sea Festival takes a leap across the sea and brings the Baltic countries together in a completely new way. The programme spans seven festival days of first-class music and seven conversations, where some of the most interesting personalities from our region come together to talk about music and sustainability. The conversations, which will take place in front of audiences in cities around the Baltic Sea, will be an integral part of the festival and will be broadcast live in the host cities as well as at Berwaldhallen. Just as in previous years, the Baltic Sea Festival offers a series of glittering musical gems.

“This summer's festival programme is once again a musical protest against the damage being done to the Baltic Sea and to all of the world's oceans.  Benjamin Britten's Noye's Fludde performed by amateur choirs and amateur musicians perfectly delivers this message and the theme recurs with Debussy's La Mer and Zemlinsky's The Mermaid, performed the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra with Klaus Mäkelä, and the Swedish Radio Choir's own hommage to the victims of the M/S Estonia tragedy conducted by Toñu Kaljuste. The Festival's founder, Esa-Pekka Salonen, returns to Berwaldhallen once again with Wagner's The Rhinegold, performed by Finnish National Opera. And there could be no more poignant end to any Festival than Bach's St Matthew Passion conducted by Alan Gilbert and featuring Sweden's leading baritone Peter Mattei”, says Christian Thompson, Artistic Director of the Baltic Sea Festival.

The award-winning climate opera NeoArctic, which is about the human epoch Anthropocene, opens the festival. The opera was composed by the British techno producer, Andy Stott, the Latvian composer, Krists Auznieks, and the Icelandic poet, Sjón. NeoArctic is produced by the performance collective, Hotel Pro Forma, and will be performed twice at Orionteatern in Stockholm with the Latvian Radio Choir, conducted by Sigvards Kļava.

The distinguished conductor, Klaus Mäkelä, leads the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Alexander von Zemlinsky’s The Mermaid. There will also be time for reflecting on the forces of the sea during the concert M/S Estonia in Memoriam with the Swedish Radio Choir, led by Tõnu Kaljuste. The Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, is one of the most celebrated composers of our time. The festival will dedicate a separate concert to his music, with the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and a number of soloists, conducted by Tõnu Kaljuste.

Swedish singer Jenny Lind enchanted the entire world. The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Evan Rogister, and with soloists Elin Rombo and Annie Ternström, tackle some of the most beloved songs from her repertoire, in preparation for her 200th anniversary next year.

The nautical theme recurs in the new work, MUSICOMEXP, by the sound artist Aurélie Ferrière, featuring music and sounds from The Ocean Mapping Expedition.

The festival will conclude on a grand scale with The St Matthew Passion by Bach, with the Swedish Radio Choir and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, led by Alan Gilbert, and with a number of famous soloists, such as Peter Mattei, Shenyang, Christina Landshamer and Andrew Staples.

Sustainable talks on music

Music and sustainability will be the focus of the conversations on stage, which will take place before each concert during the festival. The conversations will feature artists, politicians and other influential people from the cities that are participating – at Hanaholmen in Helsinki, the Arvo Pärt centre in Tallinn, the national libraries in Riga, Vilnius and The Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen, as well as in Mariehamn on Åland. The conversations will be streamed live on the website balticseafestival.com as well as being displayed on large screens in both Berwaldhallen and the participating cities.

The first conversation will be hosted by The Black Diamond/The Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen, on Saturday August 24, with the American conductor Alan Gilbert and Nokolaj Koppel, Danish musician and former Musical Director for the Concert Hall at Tivoli in Copenhagen. On the final day of the festival, the conversation will be held live at Berwaldhallen in Stockholm with the Swedish climate scientist Johan Kuylenstierna and the Swedish and Sami musician and artist Sofia Jannok on stage.

“Can culture and music help create awareness about one of the most pressing issues of our time? Can we actually save the Baltic Sea through the emotional power of music and cross-border collaboration?” These are questions that Alan Gilbert and Nikolaj Koppel will touch upon in their discussion”, says Lise Bach Hansen, Head of Talks & Literature, at The Black Diamond/Royal Danish Library, which will host the Copenhagen discussion.

Programme Day by Day

NB Bios of discussion participants, soloists and conductors can be found at www.balticseafestival.com.

All conversations will be streamed in Berwaldhallen before concert, except the concluding one which is live.

Saturday, August 24:

15:00-16:00 Concert: NeoArctic (Stott, Auznieks) Orionteatern, the Latvian Radio Choir, cond. S Kļava (not streamed)
16:00-16:45 Conversation: COPENHAGEN – The Black Diamond/The Royal Danish Library, w. Alan Gilbert and Nikolaj Koppel.
17:00-18:00 Concert: Noye’s Fludde (Britten) Berwaldhallen, several choirs and orchestras, cond. Andreas Hanson

Sunday, August 25:

15:00-16:00 Concert: NeoArctic (Stott, Auznieks) Orionteatern, the Latvian Radio Choir, cond. S Klava (not streamed)
16:00-16:45 Conversation: RIGA – National Library, between Marija Ručevska and Māris Gailis. 
17:15-19:45 Concert: Das Rheingold according to Salonen (Wagner) Berwaldhallen, Finnish National Opera, cond. E-P Salonen.

Monday, August 26:

18:00-18:45 Conversation: VILNIUS – National Library, between Berta Tilmantaitė and Justė Janulytė
19:00-21:10 Concert: The Mermaid (Zemlinsky, Bloch and Debussy) Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, cond. K. Mäkelä, Truls Mørk, Cello

Tuesday, August 27: No programme 

Wednesday, August 28 

18:00-18:45 Conversation: TALLINN – Arvo Pärt Centre (names to be announced).
19:00-19:30 Concert: M/S Estonia in Memoriam (Rachmaninoff, Mäntyjärvi) Swedish Radio Choir, cond. T. Kaljuste.

Thursday, August 29 

18:00-18:45 Conversation: HELSINKI – Hanaholmen (names to be announced).
19:00-20:30 Concert: Pärt according to Kaljuste – Music of all colours (Pärt) Tallinn Chamber Orch., cond. T. Kaljuste

Friday, August 30 

18:00-18:45 Conversation: MARIEHAMN – between Tatiana Lanshina chairman of ReGeneration and the recipient of the 2019 Baltic Sea Foundation Award (announced in May)
19:00-20:30 Concert: Jenny Lind – The Swedish Nightingale (Mozart, Bellini, Schumann, Mendelssohn et al.) Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, cond. Evan Rogister, soloists Elin Rombo and Annie Ternström

Saturday, August 31 

16:00-16:45 Conversation: STOCKHOLM – Berwaldhallen, between Johan Kuylenstierna and Sofia Jannok
17:00-20:30 Concert: The St Matthew Passion (J.S. Bach) Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Radio Choir, cond. Alan Gilbert, soloists Peter Mattei, Andrew Staples, Shenyang, et al.
21:30-22:30 Concert: The Ocean Mapping Expedition, Musicomexp by Aurélie Ferrière

When, Where and How?

  •  The 2019 Baltic Sea Festival will be held over seven days, August 24-31.
  •  All concerts will take place at Berwaldhallen, except NeoArctic, which will be in Orionteatern in Stockholm.
  •  Tickets will be released on April 24, 2019.
  •  A festival pass will cost from SEK 200/350 to 450/600 per day.
  •  A separate ticket price of SEK 300 will apply to Orionteatern and Ocean Mapping (not inc. in the festival pass).
  •  Tickets are available at www.balticseafestival.com or at the ticket office at Berwaldhallen +46 8-784 18 00
  •  The full programme, biographies and more information are available at www.balticseafestival.com


Following the conversations, Hanaholmen in Helsinki, the Arvo Pärt Centre in Tallinn, in Mariehamn, the national libraries in Riga, Vilnius and the Royal Library Copenhagen, will broadcast the concerts live on large screens. Partners in Åland is the Baltic Sea Foundation and ReGeneration. In addition, the conversations as well as the concerts from one or more of the festival days will be shown on large screens in the auditorium at the Södertörn University and Skansen in Stockholm, Artipelag in Gustavsberg, Voksenåsen in Oslo and at Nordens Hus in Reykjavik.

As usual, mini seminars and concert introductions will be held in connection with the concerts at Berwaldhallen. Partnership with the World Wildlife Fund and the Raoul Wallenberg Academy continues.

The Baltic Sea Festival is part of Swedish Radio’s offering

The Baltic Sea Festival will open the 2019/2020 season at Berwaldhallen. Swedish Radio P2 will broadcast all the concerts live on the radio, and produce programmes about the content. Several concerts will also be broadcast via EBU to other European countries. The Swedish Radio journalists Susanna Baltscheffsky, Hanna Malmodin and Fredrik Wadström will act as moderators for the conversations around the Baltic Sea.

Press contacts and more information 

For interviews and press accreditation, please contact: Carin Balfe Arbman, Press Officer for the Baltic Sea Festival, Berwaldhallen, phone: +46 70-633 35 08,carin.balfe_arbman@sverigesradio.se.

If you have any questions about Berwaldhallen’s other programmes, please contact: Karl Thorson, Press Officer for Berwaldhallen, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Swedish Radio Choir, phone: +46 70-431 18 93, karl.thorson@sverigesradio.se.

Berwaldhallen is the Swedish Radio concert venue. Swedish Radio P2 will broadcast all the concerts live from the Baltic Sea Festival. Several concerts will also be broadcast via EBU to other European countries. The Baltic Sea Festival is an international music festival that was founded in 2003 with the aim of using the platform of classical music to invite stakeholders to cross-border discussions about creating a sustainable future for the Baltic Sea region. www.balticseafestival.com