The Baltic Sea Festival 2016 – Grand music, celebrated orchestras and spectacular artists from the whole Baltic Sea region

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN March 14, 2016 – The 14:th Baltic Sea Festival will offer grand music, celebrated orchestras and spectacular artists from the whole Baltic Sea region. There will be classical orchestral works as well as a new, Swedish chamber opera with Tre Donne at the Royal Swedish Opera. Yuja Wang, currently one of the world’s most sought-after pianists, will perform works by Bartók and Messiaen. Polish Baltic Philharmonic and Riga Sinfonietta will be two other guests. The grand finale will be a grandiose opera feast – Esa-Pekka Salonen will conduct the Finnish National Opera orchestra in Strauss’ Elektra with Swedish soprano Nina Stemme in the title role.

“This year’s festival offers an incredible number of highlights,” says Michael Tydén, festival director and co-founder of the Baltic Sea Festival. “We are particularly pleased to have so many great soloists this year, and, not least, several fantastic orchestras. Environment and leadership are, alongside music, the pillars of the festival, and we are pleased to see that the Baltic Sea Festival continues to be an arena for cultural exchange and dialogue about the future of our inland sea, the Baltic.”

The Baltic Sea Festival opens on the 28th of August with the first ever performance of new, Swedish chamber opera the Performance, with text by Katarina Frostenson and music by Sven-David Sandström. The action takes place at the Salpêtrière hospital in Paris, where three women perform to world-renowned physician Jean-Martin Charcot, as part of their treatment. The three women are portrayed by Jeanette Köhn, Katija Dragojevic and Miriam Treichl, Tre Donne, who are also the initiators of the project. The music is performed by an ensemble from the Royal Swedish Orchestra, led by conductor Mattias Böhm. The Performance was commissioned by Swedish Radio, and is a collaboration between the Baltic Sea Festival, Tre Donne and the Royal Swedish Opera.

The same night, the Baltic Sea Festival’s artistic director, Esa-Pekka Salonen, will step onto the podium with one of the world’s currently most sought-after pianists, Chinese 29-year-old Yuja Wang. With the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, they will perform Messiaen’s rarely heard Turangalîla-Symphonie and Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 1.

Polish Baltic Philharmonic plays Bacewicz and Górecki

On August 29th, the festival will welcome Polish Baltic Philharmonic, founded in Gdańsk in 1945, and now a Polish national symbol with an international reputation. To start, Divertimento by the leading Polish composer Grażyna Bacewicz, will be performed. Young rising star Alena Baeva will be the soloist in Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1. The evening will end with the Swedish premiere of Henryk Górecki’s Symphony No. 4, Tansman Episodes.

Mezzo-soprano Ann Hallenberg is known across the world for her interpretations of baroque works. On the 30th of August, she will perform a programme of Handel and Britten with the Swedish Radio Choir and one of the western world’s most famous baroque orchestras, Concerto Köln. The conductor will be Olof Boman, whose creative programme choices where old and new music meet have become his distinguishing mark.

Dmitri Shostakovich would have had his 110th birthday this year, and on August 31st, the composer will be celebrated with an evening with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, led by Valery Gergiev. Shostakovich wrote the cheerful Piano Concerto No. 2 in 1957 for his son’s 19th birthday, and Symphony No. 4, which, due to political reasons, was not performed until 1961, in 1936.

On September 1st, the prominent Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, led by Valery Gergiev, will visit the festival again. The programme is yet to be announced.

Olga Borodina, Russian mezzo-soprano star, sings Prokofiev

September 2nd will offer film music. Prokofiev originally wrote Alexander Nevsky for Eisenstein’s film of the same name in 1938. Later on, he re-arranged the music, and made it into a cantata, the action of which takes place among crusaders in the 13th century. Lawrence Renes will conduct the Royal Swedish Orchestra, the Royal Swedish Opera Choir and the Swedish Radio Choir. The soloist will be Russian opera star mezzo-soprano Olga Borodina. Harmonielehre, was written in 1985 by one of the America’s most prominent and acclaimed composers, Johan Adams.

The successful collaboration with Musikaliska continues. On September 3rd, the centenary of composer Carin Malmlöf-Forssling will be celebrated, and two works by recipients of the prestigious grant in her name – Daniel Nelson (2015) and Andrea Tarrodi (2016) – will be performed, as well as two of her own works. Celebrated chamber ensemble Musica Vitae from Växjö, will provide the music, and will also give the first performance ever of a shortened version of Britta Byström’s Games For Souls, with Malin Broman, musical director of the ensemble, as the violin soloist.

Sinfonietta Riga became an audience favourite when they visited the Baltic Sea Festival in 2014. Now, they return with Latvian Radio’s Choir and four fantastic soloist singers, and on September 3rd, they’re performing music by Mozart, Pärt, Haydn and Vasks with conductor Sigvards Kļava. It will be an atmospheric and beautiful concert with music celebrating the Virgin Mary and her significance as a symbol of peace and love.

Grand Finale with Salonen and the Finnish National Opera

As usual, the last day of the festival will offer something extra special. The Finnish National Opera will come to the Baltic Sea Festival for the first time for this grandiose closing number of the Baltic Sea Festival – Esa-Pekka Salonen will conduct a concert performance of Richard Strauss’ expressive Elektra with top class singers. Swedish world soprano Nina Stemme will sing the title role.

Music, environment and leadership

Several seminars about the festival’s three pillars music, environment and leadership will be held during the week. The seminar programme, whose theme is freedom of expression, will be presented in the spring. Collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature WWF, the Swedish Institute for International Affairs, the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Raoul Wallenberg Academy carries on, as does fund-raiser “Help us help the Baltic Sea” in collaboration with Radiohjälpen.

The Baltic Sea Festival 2016 takes place over eight days, August 28th – September 4th. All concerts are held in the Berwaldhallen Hall, except The Performance at the Royal Opera, and Release at Musikaliska. Ticket sales begin on March 15th.

Photos above of: Nina Stemme, soprano; Yuja Wang, piano soloist; Tree Donne: Jeanette Köhn, Katija Dragojevic and Miriam Treichl

For interviews, press photos and press accreditation, please contact Carin Balfe Arbman, Press Officer for the Baltic Sea Festival, phone +46-70 633 35 08,

The Baltic Sea Festival is an annual, international music festival founded in 2003 by Michael Tydén, then concert house director of Berwaldhallen in Stockholm, Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor and composer, and Valery Gergiev, conductor and director of the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg. The Baltic Sea Festival works in three main areas, with the purpose of creating a better future for the Baltic Sea region: music, environment and leadership.