Baltic Youth Philharmonic
“One of the best opportunities for young musicians. The spirit of these young people is amazing!“
“A new voice in the North” - that is the motto of the Baltic Youth Philharmonic (BYP), a young symphony orchestra that was founded in 2008 at the joint initiative of the Usedom Music Festival and the consortium Nord Stream AG, which is still the orchestra's main sponsor. The ensemble is about to start its sixth series of concerts and musical activities. Every year, some 100 talented musicians aged between 18 and 30 from music colleges in Denmark, Norway, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland and Germany meet up to form a unique orchestra that bears the imprint both of common tradition and a wide variety of national characteristics.
The instrumentalists in this innovative ensemble are chosen each year afresh by audition in the various states bordering on the Baltic Sea. Together with the founding conductor and musical director Kristjan Järvi – who is assisted by a prestigious artistic advisory council that includes, among others, Kurt Masur, Valery Gergiev, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Marek Janowski and Mariss Jansons – they rehearse a constantly expanding repertoire with which the ambitious orchestra then goes on tour. The programme is wideranging and includes works from the classical and romantic era up to the contemporary period. The BYP is particularly interested in promoting and making known contemporary works by composers from the Baltic region. So far, commissioned works have been written by Niels Marthinsen (“Burning Fiery Furnace”, 2008) and Anatolijus Šenderovas (cadenzas for Beethoven's Concerto for Piano and Orchestra op. 61A, 2009). In 2010, Daniel Schnyder's “parkour musical” was premièred at the Young Euro Classic festival in Berlin – and in 2012, “Never Ignore the Cosmic Ocean” by Gediminas Gelgotas received its "1stever performance.
The Baltic Youth Philharmonic, an Associate Member of the European Federation of National Youth Orchestras (EFNYO) since 2009, can already look back upon a number of impressive concert series. In 2009, for example, the symphony orchestra gave seven concerts in six countries, not only performing in Helsinki, Vilnius, Copenhagen and Stockholm, but also appearing at three festival openings: the Estonian Glasperlenspiel Music Festival in Tartu, the Bremen Music Festival and the Usedom Music Festival in Peenemünde. In 2010, the BYP played concerts in Gdansk in Poland, Pärnu in Estonia, Riga in Latvia, Copenhagen and St. Petersburg, made a guest appearance at the Young Euro Classic festival in Berlin, and played again at the opening of the Usedom Music Festival – the organisational home and birthplace of the project orchestra. In 2011, Kristjan Järvi and the young musicians travelled to Lithuania, Russia, Poland, Denmark, Sweden and Estonia, among other places. During this series, the Baltic Youth Philharmonic also gave guest appearances in Italy for the frst time. In 2012, the BYP played at the Dresden Music Festival, the Schumann Festival in Düsseldorf, the Baltic Sea Festival in Stockholm, the Young Euro Classic festival in Berlin and at the opening of the Usedom Music Festival under the musical direction of Kurt Masur. This last concert was preceded by a master course for young conductors with Kurt Masur and the Baltic Youth Philharmonic, which was also distinguished as an innovative, pioneering project by “Germany – Land of Ideas”, an initiative under the patronage of the German president. The young musicians from ten Baltic Sea states, together with their chief conductor and founder Kristjan Järvi, appeared at the end of 2012 twice more: in the Teatro dal Verne in Milan, and in Germany in the Martinskirche in Kassel.
Following the invitation of the German Consulate General for the Germany Year in Russia the "Baltic Voyage" and the tour 2013 started on April in Kaliningrad at the Kaliningrad Cathedral and at the International Center of Performing Arts in Moscow. The BYP opened up the „Baltic Focus“ of Europe's largest festival for classical music, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in Kiel and Elmshorn in July together with violinist Baiba Skride and cellist Edvardas Armonas. The programme started with the symphonic poem "Don Juan" by Richard Strauss followed by Johannes Brahms' Double Concerto. With "Never Ignore the Cosmic Ocean" by the Lithuanian composer Gediminas Gelgotas, the Symphony No. 3 of the Estonian composer Erkki-Sven Tüür and the frst part from the rock symphony of the Latvian composer Imants Kalnins the concert presented music which combine compositional techniques and styles from classical music to rock and hiphop in an inspiring way. At the Usedom Island, a special concert with Kurt Masur and the opening of the Usedom Music Festival with the bassoonist Martin Kuuskmann and works of art of the composers Erkki-Sven Tüür, Richard Wagner and Alexander Scriabin followed. The tour fnished in venice with Theodossij Spassov on the Kaval and Dalia Simaskaite on the Violin as soloists in the impressive Scuola Grande di San Rocco. The program united north and south, with sounds from the Baltic Sea region meeting music of the Balkans.
Two debuts will open the tour 2014. On the 22 January 2014, the “German-Russian voyage” will start at the Berliner Philharmonie, one of the worlds most prominent concert halls. Under the motto "Feel the Energy" and under the baton of the Founding Conductor and Music Director of the BYP, Kristjan Järvi, two internationally renowned artists will support the event: German violinist Julia Fischer and Russian pianist Denis Matsuev. The programme builds a bridge between the two countries with works from famous composers such as Sergey Prokofev, Johann Sebastian Bach, Richard Strauss and Alexander Scriabin. The next concert in 2014 will be in Warzaw. On the 23 January the Baltic Youth Philharmonic gives its debut in polands capital at the Filharmonia Narodowa. The “Baltic Voyage” - programme presents works from Richard Strauss, Sergej Rachmaninof ,Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Johann Sebastian Bachs and Alexander Scriabin. Soloist will be the pianist Julia Kociuba from Poland and the violinist Dalia Simaska from Lithuania.
Photo by Peter Adamik