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 acted as a meeting place for superb concert experiences and initiatives that contribute to a sustainable Baltic Region. Discussions about music, culture, environmental work, politics, science and democracy have always been important subjects for the festival. This year special attention is being paid to the importance of education to a sustainable society. During these 20 years awareness of the Baltic’s challenges has increased, and many initiatives have led to excellent results, but major challenges remain. This year’s Baltic Sea Festival is thus setting off with its sights set on a more hopeful future sustainably fuelled by music. There will be live transmissions of the concerts on Sveriges Radio’s channel P2, and some of them will also be available with video through 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.