About the Festival

The Baltic Sea Festival at the Swedish Radio concert hall Berwaldhallen is one of Europe’s leading festivals of classical music, featuring top-level artists, ensembles and conductors. For over twenty years, the Baltic Sea Festival has served as a forum that offers a combination of concerts and various initiatives aimed at a more sustainable Baltic Sea region. Environmental efforts, leadership, science and democracy have been important components alongside the music from the very beginning.

Theme of 2023 – Heroes and Anti-heroes

The theme of the 2023 Baltic Festival is Heroes and Anti-heroes. It is expressed in musical narratives ranging from the tragic yearning of Gustav Mahler’s Lieder einer fahrendes Gesellen to Igor Stravinsky’s Petrushka, the anti-hero who challenges the order of things. And from Hector Berlioz’s strong belief in winning the heart of his loved one through the anti-heroic love story Symphonie fantastique to the question of whether Richard Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben is the story of a hero or an anti-hero.

Heroes have long served as inspiration for artists and composers. Heroes break new trails, they are ready to fight for their cause, make sacrifices if need be and they have high moral standards, whereas anti-heroes lack one or more of these qualities. Anti-heroes are laughed at, despised, punished or even ­­­– worst of all – not taken seriously, or even forgotten!

The Baltic Sea Festival has from the very beginning been an event where artists, researchers and NGOs that are involved in issues concerning the Baltic Sea come together. In 2023, the Festival deepens its collaboration with the scientific community by exploring the results of combining new music with current research. The Baltic Sea Festival Science Lab brings together nine composers and nine scientists in a workshop where they will be able to break new ground and create something entirely new together. Their achievements will be presented at the 2023 Baltic Sea Festival.

The Festival concerts are broadcast on Swedish Radio channel P2, and a selection will be video-streamed on Berwaldhallen Play.