Friday, September 08, 2006

A Festival Catches on in the Baltics

Cincinnati music critic Mary Ellyn Hutton has a new article titled A Festival Catches on in the Baltics in today.

From it, we discovered what happened to the concert that Paavo had been originally scheduled to conduct there with the Mariinsky Orchestra:
[The Festival] began as a glimmer in [Managing Director Michael] Tyden’s eye during a visit to the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg in 1999, when he met [Valery] Gergiev and invited him to conduct in Stockholm. Later meetings with [Esa-Pekka] Salonen and Gergiev led to the first festival in August, 2003.

"It’s not easy. I know now," said Tyden, who was forced to cancel one of this year’s concerts (Aug. 23, with Järvi and the Mariinsky Orchestra) for lack of funding.

"We started by talking to the European Union but we didn’t get any money. So the first year became a loss. It was only ticket income. The next year we had meetings with the ministers of Russia and Sweden. They gave us money, then last year we received money from Poland, Finland, Russia and Sweden." The picture is pretty much the same this year, minus Poland and plus the City of Stockholm. There is some sponsorship now (Scandic, Audi), which Tyden hopes to increase in a big way in 2007.

In theory, that shouldn’t be difficult, for the festival has much to recommend it. Its goals – such as helping to preserve the environment and fostering closer relationships among the Baltic countries – are timely, laudable. “We are re-creating in a way a new Hanseatic League,” said Tyden at the opening night reception. In partnership with the festival, the World Wildlife Fund held a seminar on illegal fishing in the Baltic, plus 30-minute sessions on a variety of ecological topics before each concert at Berwald Hall.

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