About the Festival

The Baltic Sea Festival in Berwaldhallen is one of Europe’s biggest and most important classical-music festivals, featuring artists, orchestras and conductors from the Baltic Region’s top drawer.

For twenty years, the Baltic Sea Festival has functioned as a meeting place for grand concert experiences and initiatives that contribute to a sustainable Baltic Sea region. Conversations about music, culture, environmental work, politics, science and democracy have always been important features of the festival. During those years, awareness of the Baltic Sea’s challenges has increased and many initiatives have led to good results, but major challenges remain.

The 2022 festival focused extra heavily on the importance of education for an open, civilized and sustainable society. A society where shared, objective knowledge is guiding and creates context and understanding. In that, we need each other to solve our common problems.

In the music, in the conversations and with knowledge and experience, a place for reflection is created during the Baltic Sea Festival that can stake out new paths for a sustainable future. We live in a time of complex challenges, but also in a time where new conditions and opportunities provide a breeding ground for a better, shared future.

”I am convinced that physical, mental and emotional development are the main ingredients for a more sustainable future. The understanding of our feelings and the empathy that is awakened through an exploration of multiple perspectives is helpful when we need to make well-founded decisions in a complex world for a better future,” says Emma Nyberg, project manager for the Baltic Sea Festival.

During the festival, the audience, artists, researchers and non-profit organizations working with Baltic Sea issues meet. The public can take part in research about the Baltic Sea in the form of exhibitions in the foyers and experience the symphonic music in the concert hall – one of the most complex collaborations that humanity musters.

The festival’s concerts are broadcasted on Swedish Radio P2, and a selection of them are also broadcasted on Berwaldhallen Play.


The idea of creating the Baltic Sea Festival was born in the early 2000s, when Esa-Pekka Salonen encountered algal bloom in the sea in front of his summer house in the Gulf of Finland. He wondered what he as a musician could do for the Baltic, and subsequently discussed the matter with Berwaldhallen’s then concert-hall manager Michael Tydén and the conductor Valery Gergiev. The idea grew, and the Baltic Sea Festival’s unique structure soon took shape.

The first Baltic Sea Festival took place in 2003. The mission was to gather the public around world-class classical music, and together with partner organisations to clarify the challenges to the Baltic’s environment, as well as focusing on the leadership required in order to influence the situation and help create a sustainable future. Over the years the Baltic Sea Festival has delivered unforgettable highlights, and has developed into a forum at which musical and human encounters increase the shared interest in – and knowledge about – the Baltic.