What on earth Nordic Baroque Scene?
Mari Giske (Barokkanerne), Nikolaj de Fine Licht (Concerto Copenhagen ), Olof Larsson (Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble) and Laura Kajander (Finnish Baroque Orchestra) tell about the Nordic Baroque Scene collaboration. Its first event will be on 25th August in Helsinki. Furthermore it is possible to get to know the Nordic Baroque Scene on its own web page.
What is the Nordic Baroque Scene (NBS)?
This is a collaboration between four Nordic baroque orchestras, which was named the Nordic Baroque Scene (NBS) during the founding phase. The aim of the collaboration is to raise awareness of high-level Nordic orchestras on an international scale and to implement joint projects in different countries.
How was the idea of a more comprehensive cooperation between the Nordic baroque orchestras born?
The idea has a wide range of roots and had a long stew time until the blocks fell together: (Laura Kajander answering) I myself have been looking for partners at international music events, with whom I could carry out, for example, concert exchange projects. I think it is important that Finns can also hear orchestras from other countries, and at the same time I have been looking for work opportunities for the Finnish Baroque Orchestra outside the Finnish borders. Another parallel development process was related to the Viking Grosso projects from 2018 and 2019, which provided a taste of Nordic co-operation. The focus of the joint project of the four orchestras, students and teachers at that time was on audience work. It has been particularly important to find suitable like-minded partners who know how to grow each other's ideas beyond what can be achieved with only the sum of individual ideas.
What is the aim of the cooperation?
The collaboration via the NBS platform has many aspects, both to enable sharing of more practical experiences and best practices between the different Nordic orchestras, but also to find ways to present Nordic composers from the time and the way we play and interpret early music in the Nordic countries. But perhaps most importantly, to find ways to play together and build on each of the orchestras’ unique style and sound. Finally, we see NBS as a platform where several aspects of the Nordic culture outside our respective countries can be presented.
What kind of significance do the NBS cooperation have for a single baroque orchestra?
For Barokkanerne it’s really inspiring, educational and energizing to work so closely with our Nordic colleagues and friends. We’re all living and burning for the same purpose, and it feels great to be able to realize projects we only could dream of doing on our own.
There are more levels of value for each orchestra. One is of course the exchange of experience and knowledge. Another is that through the united effort and communication, attention is drawn not only the collaboration project itself but also to each single orchestra. Furthermore, united we will be able to do things we otherwise couldn’t which is a good sign to send from each single orchestra.
Likewise for the Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble, the possibility to participate in larger productions spanning both the Nordic countries and outside is nothing but truly inspiring. Our first major activity with the Area Borealis international singing competition will be extremely interesting, and yet only the first of many projects to come.
From the perspective of the Finnish Baroque Orchestra important aspects are, for instance, broader job possibilities for musicians and the networking possibilities, the chance to learn from each other and create something that would not be possible on one orchestra’s own, and new dimensions for artistic ideas. In addition, the executive directors of the orchestras get a support network!
Does your own orchestra bring something special to the cooperation?
We are all unique in our own ways, so I believe also Barokkanerne has beneficial resources to bring to the table, but exactly what that might be, the others might be better suited to say.
We have different levels of experience, specializations, national focus and hallmarks. Therefore we will bring special qualities to the cooperation. We in Concerto Copenhagen for example have been working a lot with digital communication lately, and we have worked with the Nordic Romantic composers, both are items we bring along. Our artistic leader Lars Ulrik Mortensen is one of the most outstanding personalities and directors in the Early Music scene today.
Indeed, all orchestras, including the Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble, bring their own special sound and style to be shared with the other orchestras to be both inspired by and to of course get inspiration from each other.
According to the Nordic tradition, all orchestras are in this on an equal level, but FiBO has had a ”leading” role now in the beginning because of the chair position. In addition, the first event is held in Helsinki!
How does the NBS appear concretely in the Nordic Baroque field?
NBS will enrich the Nordic and European music scene by creating exciting projects which otherwise wouldn’t have seen the light of day, like our competition for early music singers. In addition, our own audience will have the pleasure of getting to know our partners better as we are visiting each other’s cities and making music together. There has also been interest from other European ensembles who would like to know more about us as they like the idea and are thinking about doing something similar.
What is the best achievement the cooperation has had by this moment?
The collaboration with Stormen Concert Hall in Bodø I consider a very important achievement. This brings the collaboration and the singing competition up to a whole other level. We are also in the initial stages of a possible collaboration between NBS and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra which also would be a great achievement if it materialises.