The 2019 Baltic Sea Festival brings together the Baltic countries with music and discussions

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 conversations about creating a sustainable future for the Baltic Sea region.

This year’s Baltic Sea Festival takes a leap across the sea and brings the Baltic countries together in a completely new way. The 2019 Baltic Sea Festival will be held over seven days, August 24-31. 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 in Stockholm.

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 by the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra with Klaus Mäkelä, and the Swedish Radio Choir's own homage to the victims of the M/S Estonia tragedy conducted by Tõnu Kaljuste. The Festival's co-founder, Esa-Pekka Salonen, returns to Berwaldhallen once again with Wagner's Das Rhinegold, performed by the 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, Head of Artistic Planning at Berwaldhallen.

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.

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 Nikolaj Koppel, Danish musician and former Musical Director for the Concert Hall at Tivoli in Copenhagen. In Latvia, a discussion on environmental sustainability issues will take place on Sunday, August 25 at the National Library of Latvia, 16:00, with the participation of Dagnija Lejiņa, co-founder of the Digital Freedom Festival and entrepreneur and former politician Maris Gailis. 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.

The full programme, biographies and more information are available at www.balticseafestival.com

Partnerships: Hanaholmen in Helsinki, the Arvo Pärt Centre in Tallinn, the national libraries in Riga, Vilnius and the Black Diamond/Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen, Baltic Sea Foundation and ReGeneration, Södertörn University, Artipelag in Gustavsberg, Voksenåsen in Oslo and at Nordens Hus in Reykjavik, World Wildlife Fund and the Raoul Wallenberg Academy. The event in the National Library of Latvia is coordinated and supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers' Office in Latvia.