Both of those works will be conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, the festival's artistic director. For Simone (in the staging by Peter Sellars from last fall's New Crowned Hope festival in Vienna), Salonen conducts the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. He will conduct the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra in the Lindgren premiere, on a program that also includes Mahler's Kindertotenlieder (with mezzo Katarina Karn_us) and Sibelius's Fifth Symphony.
Manfred Honeck — who was recently named the next music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony — conducts the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra (from whose music directorship he just stepped down), the Swedish Radio Choir and Latvian Radio Choir in Orff's Carmina Burana. In another performance, Herbert Blomstedt conducts the SRSO in an all-Brahms program which includes the Piano Concerto No. 1 with Antti Siirala as soloist.
Other highlights of the 2007 Baltic Sea Festival include Valery Gergiev leading the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra and Choir in Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini; Nikolaj Znaider in Nielsen's Violin Concerto, with Marek Janowski conducting the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra; and Leif Ove Andsnes playing Grieg's Piano Concerto with conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste and the Oslo Philharmonic.
An all-choral concert features the Latvian Radio Choir in music by P‹rt, Ligeti and Vasks.
The festival also focuses on ecological issues. "I'm not so naÇve that I believe that classical musicians will be able to save the Baltic Sea from environmental abuse," says Salonen. "But I do believe that our chances to improve the situation will be much greater if we contribute to raising the general consciousness, by permeating the festival with an ecological theme."