2017-2018 Concert Season

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Welcome Welcome to the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2017-2018 concert season. In this booklet, you will find information about our many concerts and events in the coming months, in Malta and overseas. 2018 will see Valletta become a European Capital of Culture, and through this programme, we are pleased to present to you a musical journey that reflects its aspirations. From opera to light classics, from symphonies to rock, the upcoming concert season features an eclectic mix of concerts and events. With this in mind, each event in this booklet is categorised using the following symbols.

While as Malta’s only professional full-sized symphony orchestra, the MPO is asked to perform in many events organised by third parties throughout the year, we nevertheless organise a significant number of concerts of our own every season. Our MPO Membership Scheme offers significant discounts on these concerts, as well as other benefits such as access to open rehearsals. For more information on the membership scheme, please view page 54. Our young musicians at the Malta Youth Orchestra have been growing from strength to strength, tackling a significant repertoire throughout the season. This year, the MYO’s main concerts will also be featured in this booklet. Do look out for the following symbols indicating MYO concerts, Membership Scheme concerts and free performances. MYO concerts are generally free, and the MPO gives a number of free performances of its own each season, but do keep in mind that booking your seat may be required.

We have a great season ahead, and we hope that you will be a part of it.


Malta Philharmonic Orchestra For half a century, the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra has been Malta’s leading musical ensemble.

orchestra bringing together the best of Maltese talent and musicians from Europe and beyond.

The orchestra was founded in April 1968, when musicians from the defunct “C-in-C” orchestra of the Malta-based British Mediterranean Fleet regrouped as the Manoel Theatre Orchestra. It continued to serve as the theatre’s resident orchestra until September 1997, when it became an independent orchestra, taking up the name National Orchestra of Malta in the process.

The last conductor of the C-in-C orchestra, Joseph Sammut, was the orchestra’s first conductor, remaining at the helm until 1992. Since then, the orchestra has also been under the direction of Joseph Vella and Michael Laus. In September 2014, Brian Schembri joined the orchestra as its principal conductor and artistic director, while Michael Laus became its resident conductor.

The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra assumed its present name in 2008, when it was expanded into a full-size symphony

As Malta’s only professional orchestra, the MPO is in high demand, performing in over 70 concerts every year, including symphonic concerts, opera productions

in Malta and Gozo, community outreach and educational programmes as well as various concerts of a lighter nature. Its busy schedule notwithstanding, the MPO has increasingly ventured beyond Malta’s shores in recent years, having undertaken its first overseas tour back in 2001. Since then, it has collaborated with numerous orchestras and opera companies and performed in leading venues across the globe, including in China, Italy, Germany, Austria and Belgium. Over the years, the orchestra has performed with many renowned artists including Karl Jenkins, Joseph Calleja, Andrea Bocelli and Bryn Terfel, acclaimed conductors such as Michalis Economou, Peter Stark, Jean-Marc Burfin, Wayne Marshall and Philip Walsh, as well as pop stars including Claudio Baglioni, Suzanne Vega, Michael Bolton and Anastacia. The MPO also has a number of recordings to its name. Its CDs include a project with international record label Naxos featuring works by Maltese composer Charles Camilleri and two CD series published by Cameo Classics, Music of the 19th Century


Jewish German Composers and British Composers Premiere Collections. A CD featuring the music of Polish composer Alexandre Tansman with the CPO Label is set to be released in 2018. The MPO is a keen exponent of Maltese composers, regularly performing their works in Malta and abroad and premièring – as well as commissioning – new compositions. It is also responsible for the orchestral training and professional development of the next generation of Maltese musicians, through the MPO Academy and the Malta Youth Orchestra, which itself regularly gives concerts across Malta. At the same time, it is actively involved in organising educational programmes for children, through workshops and special performances. While it celebrates 50 years of music, the MPO remains intent on delivering quality orchestral music to the Maltese islands, all the time continuing to promote Malta’s musical heritage overseas.



MPO Musicians VIOLINS Marcelline Agius** Stephen Zammit* Reggie Clews Philipp Orlov Roberta Attard Stefan Calleja° Matteo Colombo Samuel Cutajar° Stephen Debattista Rosanne Dimech Ian Ellul° Natalia Filipenko Amy Furfaro Fiona Giambra Agnieszka Kuźma Mario Micallef Inmaculada Muñoz Salgüero Valhmor Montfort Klara Nazaj Vincenzo Picone Riccardo Rossano Melanie Waite Emilia Wiśniewska VIOLAS Nadia Debono* Anthony Gilbert Savio Debono Matthew Fenech Mateusz Kuźma Ayako Omoto CELLOS Mario Psaila* Yaroslav Miklukho Frank Camilleri Peter Flanagan Ákos Kertész Lucie Kuchařová Desirée Quintano° DOUBLE BASSES Gjorgji Cincievski* Michelle Scicluna Marco Agnetti

MPO Board, Management & Admin Michele Badin° Dion Xuereb FLUTES Rebecca Hall* Fiorella Camilleri Clara Galea° OBOES John McDonough* Jenny Melville Chiara Telleri CLARINETS Giuseppe Recchia* Daniele Galletto BASSOONS Giacomo Cella* Lampros-Ioannis Lapinas Maria Spiteri Zahra

THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS Executive Chairman: Sigmund Mifsud Deputy Chairman: Ruth Micallef Directors: Mark Attard Montalto, Marthese Azzopardi, Rita Cutajar, Alexei Galea Cavallazzi Secretary to the Board: Jean Killick

MANAGEMENT TEAM Financial Controller: Reuben Sammut Director of Operations: Michael Aquilina

HORNS Etienne Cutajar* Manuele Catalano Marco Cola Bernardette Vella

Marketing & Development Manager: Maria Blanco

TRUMPETS Kevin Abela* Brendan Ball


TROMBONES Roderick Bugeja* Josef Attard° Jesmond Azzopardi Dennis Camilleri

Librarian: Matthew Fenech

TUBA Paul Borg*

Marketing Assistant: Brendan Ball

TIMPANI Mathieu Pouliot* PERCUSSION Daniel Cauchi* HARP Britt Arend*


Secretary: Elaine Ellul Marketing Coordinator: John Cordina Media Coordinator: Joe Julian Farrugia Operations Coordinator: Frank Camilleri Services Officer: Tony Mizzi

MALTA YOUTH ORCHESTRA Project Manager: Chris Spiteri Resident Conductor: Riccardo Bianchi Artistic Programme Developers: Maria Conrad (Strings); José García Gutiérrez (Brass & Winds)

** orchestra leader * section principal ° MPO intern



What to expect You may find the prospect of going to a classical music concert rather daunting, but there’s really nothing to worry about! As a general rule, all you need to do is show up and enjoy the music; however, we thought it best to answer a few common questions. If your question isn’t answered here, you can always contact us on Facebook or via email, and we’ll be happy to help. Is there a dress code? With very few – and clearly stated – exceptions, we set no dress code in our concerts, except for the musicians on stage. Do feel free to dress up – classical concerts provide as good an excuse as any to do so – but you’re welcome to dress comfortably, especially for our outdoors concerts. Can my children come along? Yes! While we do organise our annual Family Fanfare concerts especially with the young – and young at heart – in mind, children are welcome at all our concerts, and discounted rates apply. When should I show up? As a general rule, it is best to arrive 30 minutes before the start. Where do I park? We’re aware that parking is a particular problem when we organise concerts at the Mediterranean Conference Centre. With this in mind, we always organise a free shuttle service from the MCP Car Park to the MCC. What happens if I’m late? To avoid disturbing other audience members, ushers will allow you to your seat during a suitable break in the programme, such as the end of a movement or a piece.


SEPTEMBER Can I buy a ticket at the door? Tickets at the door are usually available, unless the event is sold out. Since the Mediterranean Conference Centre seats 1,400 people, tickets will be available more often than not, but do note that the Teatru Manoel fills up more easily, and our own venue, Robert Samut Hall, even more so. Are there any discounts? Those who sign up to our membership enjoy discounts of up to 50% - and a number of other benefits – on concerts organised by the MPO. Additional discounts are made available for senior citizens, students and children. Do note that for third-party events featuring the MPO, such as opera productions, different discount policies may apply. Do you sell programmes? Programmes for our concerts will typically be provided against a small donation. Will there be an interval? Most of our concerts have intervals of around 20 minutes, but some have no interval at all. Intervals will be clearly indicated in your programme. When should I clap? The tradition is to clap at the end of a piece of music, as opposed to after each movement. Your programme will help give an indication, but since the distinction between movements is not always clear, keep an eye on the conductor, who will typically signal that a piece has ended. Audiences do clap between movements from time to time, and as far as our musicians are concerned, that’s perfectly fine, as long as it does not disrupt a performance. We’re always delighted to hear our audience express its joy and appreciation for our work!


Summer Camp

Cliff Zammit Stevens In Concert PHILIP WALSH Conductor

The Malta Youth Orchestra opens its concert season with a weekend camp for its musicians, with workshops and masterclasses organised by acclaimed tutors from Malta, Europe and beyond. The camp culminates in a concert in which repertoire from the workshops will be performed by all the MYO’s orchestral sections, with the strings handled by British conductor Philip Walsh, the brass section by Rudolf Korp and the winds by Godfrey Mifsud.


Independence Day Concert MICHAEL LAUS Conductor



Pjazza Teatru Rjal, Valletta

Porziuncola Retreat House, Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq

Kunċert għal Jum l-Indipendenza


Saturday 16th September 8.00PM

Sunday 10th September 7.30PM

Presented in collaboration with Arts Council Malta

Tenor Cliff Zammit Stevens returns to Malta for his annual concert with the MPO under the direction of Philip Walsh. This year’s programme features an eclectic selection of light classics including popular opera arias, with a special guest appearance from the Animae Gospel Choir.

GILLIAN ZAMMIT Soprano Programme includes Paolo Nani Sinfonia in Do Carlo Diacono Danza Spagnola Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Mi Tradì Quell’alma Ingrata (from the opera Don Giovanni) Ludwig van Beethoven Romance for Violin and Orchestra No. 2 Op.50

Thursday 21st September 7:30PM Grandmaster’s Palace, Valletta This year’s edition of the annual Independence Day Concert, conducted by MPO resident conductor Michael Laus, appropriately features two Maltese soloists as well as two works by Maltese composers along with other pieces by Mozart, Salieri, Beethoven and Weber.

Rockestra Concert In aid of the Malta Community Chest Fund PAWLU BORG BONACI Artistic Director SIGMUND MIFSUD Musical Director

Saturday 30th September 8.00PM Malta Fairs & Convention Centre, Ta’ Qali

Marc Storace, Ira Losco, Raquela, Kenneth Calleja, Klinsmann, Konrad Pule’ and many other local artists join the MPO to perform orchestral arrangements of popular rock songs for the 2017 edition of Rockestra, held in aid of the Malta Community Chest Fund.



Brass Classics An MPO outreach concert

Diacono Sacred Music

Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci A Teatru Aurora Production

MICHAEL LAUS Conductor GOLDBERG ENSEMBLE Carlo Diacono San Paolo Evangelizza i Maltesi Friday 6th October 7.30PM St John’s Co-Cathedral, Valletta

MPO BRASS ENSEMBLE Programme includes: Glenn Miller Orchestra Little Brown Jug/String of Pearls/ Pennsylvania 6-5000 Hoagy Carmichael Stardust


Saturday 14th October 7.30PM Teatru Aurora, Rabat, Gozo Teatru Aurora celebrates 40 years of opera in Gozo with one of the most enduringly popular opera double-bills. Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci both deal with passion, jealousy and death in Southern Italy.

Lucia di Lammermoor A Teatru Astra Production JOSEPH VELLA Musical Director ENRICO STINCHELLI Director

Stephen Sondheim Send in the Clowns

Thursday 26th October Saturday 28th October 7.30PM

Tuesday 3rd October 10.00AM

Teatru Astra, Rabat, Gozo

St Vincent de Paul Residence, Luqa The MPO Brass Ensemble treats residents at the St Vincent de Paul Residence to a morning concert featuring an eclectic selection of popular tunes for brass instruments.


Sacred music makes up a significant portion of Carlo Diacono’s oeuvre, and this concert dedicated to the composer on the 75th anniversary of his death features one of his finest: an oratorio based on the biblical tale of St Paul’s evangelization of the inhabitants of Malta.

COLIN ATTARD Musical Director

Gaetano Donizetti’s tragic opera, based on a Sir Walter Scott novel and written at a time when Scottish history fascinated Europeans, is the highlight of this year’s edition of Teatru Astra’s Festival Mediterranea.



50th Anniversary Celebration

Pawlu ta’ Malta

Establishment of diplomatic ties between Malta and Russia FELIX KOROBOV Conductor CARMINE LAURI Violin Fritz Kreisler Violin Concerto in C major (in the style of Vivaldi) Henryk Wieniawski Obertas, Op.19/1 Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Valse-Scherzo in C major, Op.34 Joseph Vella Rapsodija Maltija, Op. 26 Tuesday 7th November 8.00PM White Hall, Vernadsky State Geological Museum, Moscow Musicians from the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra join forces with musicians from the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory Orchestra and the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Music Theatre for a concert marking 50 years of diplomatic relations between Malta and Russia, featuring the internationallyacclaimed Maltese violinist Carmine Lauri.

MICHELLE CASTELLETTI Conductor BRIAN CEFAI Pawlu (Tenor) ROSABELLE BIANCHI Ruħ (Soprano) ALFRED CAMILLERI Festu (Bass-Baritone) PHILIP FARRUGIA RANDON Narrator AMADEUS CHAMBER CHOIR Friday 10th November 7.30PM St Paul’s Cathedral, Mdina

Photo by Amanda Hsu

Featuring Oliver Friggieri’s words set to Charles Camilleri’s music, Pawlu ta’ Malta, recounting St Paul’s shipwreck and subsequent sojourn in Malta, is the firstever oratorio in the Maltese language.


The Planets

Opera Antagonisti Part of the ŻiguŻajg International Arts Festival for Children and Young People RICCARDO BIANCHI Musical Director Programme includes selections from Giuseppe Verdi - Otello Giacomo Puccini - Tosca Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Don Giovanni Friday 17th November 11.00AM Saturday 18th November 6.30PM

From blustering buffoons to the downright evil, opera wouldn’t be opera without its villains. With the help of three of the most notorious ones – Otello’s Iago, Tosca’s Scarpia and Don Giovanni – and with appropriate visuals and narration, the MYO will be giving the young, and the young at heart, the perfect introduction to the wonderful world of opera. Age suggestion: 7+ years

Oratorju Don Bosco, Rabat, Gozo

MICHALIS ECONOMOU Conductor CLARE GHIGO Mezzo-Soprano MPO CHORUS Dmitri Shostakovich Festive Overture, Op. 96 Michalis Economou Elegies for Death and Life Gustav Holst The Planets, Op. 32 Wednesday 15th November 8.00PM

Highly-acclaimed Greek conductor Michalis Economou leads the orchestra on a musical trip across the solar system with Gustav Holst’s epic orchestral suite The Planets, whose seven movements each represent a planet and its corresponding significance in astrology. The concert opens with Dmitri Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, which he composed in just three days to celebrate the 37th anniversary of the October Revolution. Economou’s own work Elegies for Death and Life is inspired by a Romantic-era painting by John Martin, and is based on ancient Greek poems.

Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta



Wayne Marshall in Gozo

Photo by Charlie Best

WAYNE MARSHALL Conductor NAREK HAKHNAZARYAN Cello Alexander Borodin Prince Igor Overture Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33 Sergei Rachmaninov Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27

Saturday 25th November 8.00PM Teatru Astra, Rabat, Gozo


The MPO heads off to Gozo for a concert which will see it tackle three great works from Russian composers, under the direction of Wayne Marshall. The concert opens with the overture to Borodin’s famous opera Prince Igor before Armenian cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan joins the orchestra for a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme. A disastrous première of his First Symphony had sent Rachmaninov into a deep depression and shaken his confidence. Therapy helped him recover his mood, and his successful Second Symphony his sense of self-worth as a symphonist.


University of Malta

Foundation Day Concert

Piano & Winds

MPO Chamber Music Concert

The Nutcracker

NATALIA SOKOLOVSKAYA Piano MPO WIND QUINTET Rebecca Farrugia Hall (flute) John McDonough (oboe) Giuseppe Recchia (clarinet) Etienne Cutajar (horn) Giacomo Cella (bassoon) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Overture to Le Nozze di Figaro, K.492 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Quintet in E-flat major for Piano and Winds, K.452


Francis Poulenc Sextet for Wind Quintet and Piano, FP 100

Programme includes: Charles Camilleri Malta Suite

Saturday 9th December 7.30PM

Johann Strauss II Emperor Waltz, Op. 437

Robert Samut Hall, Floriana

Arturo Márquez Conga del Fuego


The MPO Wind Quintet joins forces with Russian pianist Natalia Sokolovskaya for a concert featuring some of the best music written for piano and winds.


Friday 1st December 8.00PM

Felix Mendelssohn Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Op. 21

Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta

Felix Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64

The University of Malta celebrates 248 years of history with a concert directed by Michael Laus, with an eclectic programme featuring Charles Camilleri’s Knights of Malta Suite and works by Gioachino Rossini, John Williams, Johann Strauss Jr, Heitor Villa Lobos and Arturo Márquez

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky The Nutcracker, Op. 71 Friday 15th December 8.00PM St George’s Square, Valletta

The Nutcracker’s first performance was not a success, but the enduring popularity of the musical suite Tchaikovsky extracted from it helped make it a Christmas season staple. Under the direction of Armenian conductor Sergey Smbatyan, the MPO will be performing an extensive selection of music from this charming and heartwarming ballet. The orchestra will also be performing Mendelssohn’s famous Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream and his only Violin Concerto, for which it will be joined by the internationally-acclaimed young violinist Esther Yoo.



The President’s New Year’s Concert

Concert in aid of the restoration of the St Paul’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral

Presented by Arts Council Malta and the Office of the President JOHN GALEA Conductor MIRIAM CAUCHI Soprano MARVIC MONREAL Mezzo-Soprano Sunday 7th January 7.30PM Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta


The MPO celebrates the arrival of a new year in a festive concert directed by John Galea, featuring popular orchestral pieces as well as beautiful arias sung by soprano Miriam Cauchi and mezzo-soprano Marvic Monreal.



The MPO, two choirs and four soloists join forces under the direction of Michael Laus for a special performance of Handel’s famous oratorio, a reflection on Jesus as the saviour of humankind.


Inspired by Baroque


A Valletta International Baroque Festival production

Part of Erba’ Pjazez, the official opening of Valletta 2018


A Hero’s Life

Concert dedicated to the memory of Joe Curmi il-Pusè


DIEGO DINI CIACCI Oboe FABRIZIO MELONI Clarinet Edvard Grieg Holberg Suite, Op. 40 Alexandre Tansman Concertino for Oboe, Clarinet and String Orchestra Euchar Gravina Partita, a Concertante for Oboe, Clarinet & Orchestra Heitor Villa-Lobos Bachianas Brasileiras No. 2


Wednesday 17th January 7.30PM


Teatru Manoel, Valletta

AURELIO BELLI Orchestral arrangements

A concert featuring a selection of music inspired by the Baroque Era, with works by Grieg, Tansman and Villa-Lobos as well as a newly-commissioned work by Maltese composer Euchar Gravina.

Saturday 20th January 11:30PM Pjazza San Ġorġ, Valletta

The MPO joins forces with internationallyrenowned DJ Tenishia for a memorable after-party to the official opening of Valletta 2018, European Capital of Culture, in a unique concert featuring 17 electronic dance music tracks ranging from the 1970s to the present day reworked for a DJ and orchestra.


LAWRENCE RENES Conductor INESE KLOTIŅA Piano CARMINE LAURI Guest Leader Sergei Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 1 Richard Strauss Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40

Richard Strauss is particularly renowned for his epic tone poems, and none are more epic than his Ein Heldenleben, a musical depiction of the life and works of a hero which is typically interpreted as being autobiographical in nature. Under the direction of Dutch-Maltese conductor Lawrence Renes, the orchestra will also be joined by Latvian pianist Inese Klotiņa for a performance of Rachmaninov’s First Piano Concerto, written when he was just eighteen.

Saturday 27th January 8.00PM Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta


Eight Cellos

with Narek Hakhnazaryan

Programme includes: Astor Piazzolla Libertango David Popper Polonaise de Concert Heitor Villa-Lobos Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 with the participation of Andriana Yordanova Soprano Saturday 3rd February 7.30PM Robert Samut Hall, Floriana


Internationally-renowned Armenian cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan joins forces with the MPO’s own cello section for a concert featuring a selection of great works written or arranged for an 8-cello ensemble.


Carmen Fantasy

Rockquiem RICCARDO BIANCHI Conductor/Chorus Master Antonella Carpenito Soprano Marta Leung Alto Stefano Marra Tenor Giuseppe Zema Bass MPO CHORUS Stefan Wurz/ Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Rockquiem

Living off his music and known for spending money lavishly as soon as he received it – even if it meant long periods of financial struggles – Mozart was arguably a rock star long before the term was even invented. With this reimagining of his famous Requiem Mass into a rock spectacle, Mozart gets the rock star treatment he deserves.

Saturday 17th February 8.00PM St Agatha’s Auditorium, Rabat

MICHAEL LAUS Conductor GJORGJI CINCIEVSKI Double Bass Maurice Ravel Ma Mère l’Oye Stuart Sankey Carmen Fantasy for Double Bass & Orchestra Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92 Friday 9th February 8.00PM

Under the direction of resident conductor Michael Laus, the orchestra begins by tackling Ravel’s Ma Mère l’Oye suite, whose five movements are each inspired by a popular fairy tale. The MPO’s principal double bass player Gjorgji Cincievski subsequently takes up a solo role for Sankey’s virtuosic Carmen Fantasy, inspired by Bizet’s famous opera. At its première, which he himself had conducted, Beethoven remarked that his Seventh Symphony was one of his best works. Its second movement, which was encored that day, proved to be particularly popular.

Teatru Manoel, Valletta



The Prime Minister’s Playlist

Don Giovanni A Teatru Manoel Opera Production

Concert in aid of the National Alliance for Rare Diseases Support - Malta

PHILIP WALSH Musical Director JACK FURNESS Director

Monday 5th March Wednesday 7th March Friday 9th March Sunday 11th March 7.30PM Teatru Manoel, Valletta Following last year’s performance of Le Nozze di Figaro, Teatru Manoel hosts the second of the three great operas resulting from the collaboration by Mozart and the Italian librettist Da Ponte, based on the legendary tale of the fictional libertine Don Juan.

Saturday 24th February 8.00PM Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta

What music does the Prime Minister listen to? In this unique concert for the MPO, the audience will find out just that. Expect a varied selection of pop and rock tunes, featuring the Prime Minister’s favourite choice of timeless hits to more contemporary works, performed for the first time in original orchestral arrangements.


MARCH Photo by Luiz Rodriguez


Russian Masters

Piano & Strings MPO Chamber Music Concert PIETRO DE MARIA Piano MPO STRING QUARTET Melanie Waite (Violin) Amy Furfaro (Violin) Anthony Gilbert (Viola) Yaroslav Miklukho (Cello) Dmitri Shostakovich Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 57 Johannes Brahms Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34 Wednesday 21st March 7.30PM

The piano quintet has proven to be an enduringly popular chamber music configuration, and in this intimate concert, Pietro de Maria joins the MPO String Quartet to perform two masterpieces of the genre. Shostakovich’s own piano quintet is perhaps his most popular chamber work. Written in the summer of 1940, it earned him the Stalin Prize the following year. Brahms started out writing a string quintet before reworking his composition for piano and strings; he ended up destroying the original version.

Robert Samut Hall, Floriana

MICHALIS ECONOMOU Conductor PIETRO DE MARIA Piano Mikhail Glinka Ruslan and Lyudmila Overture Sergei Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major, Op. 26 Dmitri Shostakovich Symphony No. 10 in E minor, Op. 93

The famous overture to Glinka’s opera Ruslan and Lyudmila sets the scene before renowned Italian pianist Pietro de Maria joins the orchestra for a performance of Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto. Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony was premièred following Stalin’s death in 1953, five years after the composer’s music was denounced by the Stalinist regime, and is believed to be a musical depiction of the dictator’s capriciousness and the terror of his rule.

Saturday 17th March 7.30PM Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta



La Divina Commedia Inferno – Purgatorio - Paradiso


Easter Concert

KARL VORRABER Conductor RICCARDO BIANCHI Conductor MICHELLE CASTELLETTI Concept/Conductor FRANCESCA TRANTER Choreography A CAPPELLA CHOIR Claude Debussy Syrinx, L. 129 Eric Whitacre Lux Aurumque Ola Gjeilo O Magnum Mysterium Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 10 (arr. Castelletti) Sunday 25th March 6.30PM Robert Samut Hall, Floriana


Dante’s triptych masterpiece will set the scene for this special experience bringing together sound, movement and light, with select choreography by Francesca Tranter. Allow Debussy’s Syrinx and the choral gems of Whitacre and Gjeilo to guide you through this passage of love, passion, anguish and hope as we look through the eyes of Dante as he journeys through Mahler’s music. Written when Mahler was aware of his failing heart and his wife’s infidelity, his unfinished 10th Symphony is one of his most passionate and autobiographical creations.

Monday 26th March Tuesday 27th March 8.00PM Teatru Salesjan, Sliema In what marks the MYO’s first international collaboration, this concert will see the orchestra join forces with the Jugendorchester Stattegg from Austria, in a shared programme directed by MYO’s resident conductor Riccardo Bianchi and the Austrian ensemble’s own Karl Vorraber, bringing together 60 young musicians. This collaboration will also see the MYO travel to Austria in the summer of 2018.



MPO 50th Anniversary celebration concert

A Night With Bernstein WAYNE MARSHALL Conductor DAVID ALLSOPP Countertenor MPO CHORUS RICCARDO BIANCHI Chorus Master Leonard Bernstein Chichester Psalms Symphonic Dances from West Side Story West Side Story Concert Suite 2 Candide Overture and Suite

Saturday 7th April 8.00PM Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta Wayne Marshall is one of the world’s most renowned interpreters of works by 20th century American composers, not least Leonard Bernstein. In this very special concert celebrating the orchestra’s 50th anniversary, music from Bernstein’s celebrated musical West Side Story, a retelling of Romeo and Juliet in a multi-ethnic, working class New York City neighbourhood, will be performed along with his choral work Chichester Psalms and the overture and suite from the operetta Candide.


50th Anniversary Concert Central Bank of Malta

Malta International Music Festival Presented in collaboration with the European Foundation for Support of Culture

Norma A Gaulitana Festival production COLIN ATTARD Musical Director ENRICO CASTIGLIONE Director

Saturday 28th April 7.30PM Teatru Aurora, Rabat, Gozo

MICHALIS ECONOMOU Conductor Programme includes Benjamin Britten Four Sea Interludes, Op. 33a Kurt Weil Mack the Knife Gustav Mahler Adagietto from the 5th Symphony Karl Fiorini In Girum Imus Nocte Ecce et Consumimur Igni Sunday 15th April 6.30PM Teatru Manoel, Valletta


Bellini’s operatic masterpiece, featuring a tragic love triangle in Roman-occupied Gaul over 2,000 years ago – and one of the most challenging roles ever written for a soprano – will be the highlight of the 12th edition of Gaulitana: A Festival of Music.

Both the Central Bank of Malta and the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra were established in April 1968. It is fitting therefore for the Orchestra to mark the Bank’s 50th Anniversary with an eclectic variety of works by Beethoven, Hildegard von Bingen, Britten, Bruckner, Mahler, Piazzolla and Young as well as a new composition by Maltese composer Karl Fiorini.

Wednesday 18th April Monday 23rd April

The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra continues its ongoing collaboration with the European Foundation for Support of Culture for another edition of the Malta International Music Festival. Under the direction of Sergey Smbatyan, the orchestra will perform in two of the festival’s concerts, one dedicated to Aram Khachaturian and one featuring Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony.




Dream to Dance

Musical Fairy Tales

ROBERT HODGE Conductor SIMONE SPITERI Story writer A selection of Dance Music, including: Tchaikovsky – Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy Khachaturian – Sabre Dance Falla - Spanish Dance Offenbach – The Can Can Doyle – Potter Waltz from Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire

Friday 11th May 10.00AM (Schools’ Performance – English) 12:00 Noon (Schools’ Performance – Maltese) MICHALIS ECONOMOU Conductor KSENIJA SIDOROVA Accordion Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Romeo and Juliet Astor Piazzolla Concerto para Bandoneón “Aconcagua” Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade, Op. 35

Saturday 5th May 8.00PM Teatru Manoel, Valletta


Stories and fairy tales have long served as an inspiration to composers, as this concert directed by Michalis Economou shows. The concert opens with Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, which needs little introduction, particularly its ubiquitous love theme. Rimsky-Korsakov was key in helping to develop a distinctly Russian style of classical music, which, in part, involved looking east for inspiration. His Scheherazade, inspired by the heroine of One Thousand and One Nights, is a shining example of his efforts. Latvian accordionist Ksenija Sidorova will also join the MPO to perform Astor Piazzolla’s Concerto Aconcagua. Like much of Piazzolla’s work, it was written with the bandoneon concertina in mind, but is easily adapted to the more versatile accordion.

Saturday 12th May 5.00PM (Performance in English) St Agatha’s Auditorium, Rabat A young boy’s dream. An old man’s story. Come join our protagonist in an enchanting life-changing adventure through the world of colourful music and delightful dance. This year’s edition of our Family Fanfare concert is an experience that will take our young audiences through different styles of dance music, merging the exhilarating sounds of a live orchestra with the beauty of visual presentation and inspirational dance. Age suggestion: 7+ years

Tchaikovsky’s Fifth MPO Tour Concert

The MPO on Tour This season’s tour will see the orchestra perform this concert in four renowned German venues before performing its final concert at Vienna’s legendary Musikverein, where it had performed for the first time during last season’s tour.

Monday 21st May 8.00PM Philharmonie Gasteig, Munich

Monday 28th May 8.00PM Berliner Philharmonie, Berlin

Wednesday 23rd May 8.00PM Liederhalle, Stuttgart

Thursday 31st May 11.00AM Musikverein, Vienna

Friday 25th May 8.00PM Kurhaus, Wiesbaden

SERGEY SMBATYAN Conductor NAREH ARGHAMANYAN Piano DAVID AARON CARPENTER Viola Albert Garzia Kewn Alexey Shor Piano Concerto Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64 Saturday 19th May 8.00PM Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta


Tchaikovsky was particularly enthusiastic about his Fifth Symphony – which was actually his sixth, including the unnumbered Manfred Symphony – only to end up deeply dejected by a muted public reaction to the work. However, the symphony, a four-movement cyclical piece with a recurring main theme evoking the idea of fate, has grown immeasurably in stature since. Under the direction of conductor Sergey Smbatyan, the MPO will also be joined by another Armenian musician – pianist Nareh Arghamanyan – for a performance of a piano concerto by Alexey Shor. The concert opens with a newly-commissioned work for orchestra and solo viola by Maltese composer Albert Garzia, bearing the name Kewn (existence).


Victoria International Arts Festival


MPO at the VIAF JOSEPH VELLA Conductor

OPENING CONCERT Wednesday 6th June 8.00PM Teatru Astra, Rabat, Gozo CLOSING CONCERT Monday 9th July 8.00PM St George’s Basilica, Rabat, Gozo The Victoria International Arts Festival, featuring five weeks of classical music concerts, will be once more bookended by two performances by the MPO, under the direction of the festival’s artistic director Joseph Vella.



St John’s Day Concert

20th Century Masterworks

Presented by the Maltese Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta

A collaboration between the MPO and Modern Music Days

Mozart at Midnight

Concert in aid of the Malta Community Chest Fund

MICHAEL LAUS Conductor JUAN GAMBINA Tenor GOLDBERG ENSEMBLE Programme includes: Johann Sebastian Bach Air on the G String

PAVEL ŠNAJDR Conductor Edgard Varèse Octandre György Ligeti Chamber Concerto, for 13 instruments Benjamin Britten Sinfonietta, for chamber orchestra, Op.1 Steve Reich Tehillim Saturday 9th June 9.00PM Teatru Manoel, Valletta As part of the culture programme of Valletta 2018 – European Capital of Culture – musicians from the MPO and from the Brno Contemporary Orchestra will join forces under the direction of Pavel Šnajdr to perform an exciting programme of 20th-century masterworks by Varèse, Ligeti, Britten and Reich. Modern Music Days is organised by Teatru Manoel, the Malta Association for Contemporary Music and the Valletta 2018 Foundation.


George Frideric Handel Zadok the Priest, HWV258 Joseph Haydn Missa Cellensis, HobXXII/8 Wednesday 13th June 7.30PM St John’s Co-Cathedral, Valletta Once more, Michael Laus and the Goldberg Ensemble join forces with the MPO for the annual St John’s Day Concert to perform a selection of sacred works from the 17th and 18th century, in a concert which will also feature tenor Juan Gambina.

MICHAEL LESSKY Conductor GIUSEPPE RECCHIA Clarinet Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart The Magic Flute Overture, K.620 Clarinet Concerto, K.622 Symphony No. 41 “Jupiter,” K.551

Saturday 16th June Doors open 11:30PM Teatru Manoel, Valletta

The second edition of Mozart at Midnight will see the orchestra under the direction of Austrian conductor Michael Lessky, performing a selection of works from Mozart’s final years. Following a performance of the overture to the composer’s last opera, The Magic Flute, MPO’s principal clarinet player Giuseppe Recchia takes up a solo role for Mozart’s only clarinet concerto, his last purely instrumental work written just two months before his death. Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony is the longest and last symphony he composed, one of three symphonies he composed in quick succession and one of the most celebrated works of the genre.


Berlioz le Fantastique

Mediterranean Soul MPO-MYO Joint Concert


Saturday 30th June 9.00PM Pjazza Teatru Rjal, Valletta

RAOUL LAY Conductor GILLIAN ZAMMIT Soprano Claude Debussy Prélude à l’Après-midi d’un Faune, L.86 Hector Berlioz Les Nuits d’Été, Op.7 Hector Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique, Op.14 Friday 22nd June 8.00PM Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta


The Mediterranean – the various peoples around it, as well as the sea itself – has inevitably shaped Maltese culture, not least its music. In this year’s edition of their annual joint concert, under the direction of Sergey Smbatyan and featuring highly-acclaimed Armenian baritone Gevorg Hakobyan, the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and the Malta Youth Orchestra explore the musical heritage of the diverse cultures sharing the sea we call our own.

A night of 19th century French music opens with Debussy’s ground-breaking 1898 symphonic poem Prélude à l’Aprèsmidi d’un Faune, before moving on to two works by Hector Berlioz. Soprano Gillian Zammit joins the orchestra for a performance of Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’Été, a musical setting of six poems dealing with the progress of love, from youthful innocence, to loss, to ultimate renewal. Symphonie Fantastique’s dreamlike nature had led Leonard Bernstein to describe it as the first musical expedition into psychedelia. It is a musical depiction of the story of an artist who takes opium after being brought to despair by unrequited love.



MPO Summer Concerts MIAF Closing Concert Malta International Arts Festival

Saturday 14th July The MPO closes the 2018 edition of the Malta International Arts Festival with a concert featuring Charles Camilleri’s Mediterranean Concerto and Debussy’s La Mer.

Joseph Calleja Annual Summer Concert Saturday 21st July Floriana Granaries The MPO maintains its annual summer appointment with Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja, this time featuring the hugely popular Italian singer Eros Ramazzotti as a special guest.

Classics Under the Stars at the Girgenti Palace


The MPO Membership Scheme

Booking Your Seat

Our membership scheme offers significant discounts on the many concerts organised by the MPO each season, in addition to free access to open rehearsals, unique opportunities to meet MPO musicians, exclusive offers and benefits.

Booking methods for our performances vary, depending on the organisers, the venue and the event itself.

The MPO Student Club ¤25

MPO Platinum Membership ¤200

• • • •

• MPO Platinum Membership card • free access to open rehearsals • priority booking with notification of pre-ticket sales • 50% discount on MPO Membership Scheme concerts • reserved ticket for Girgenti Palace concert • reserved tickets for selected MPO concerts • invitation to VIP receptions at selected MPO events • free ticket for The Planets concert

MPO Student Club card free access to open rehearsals €5 special price for all MPO membership concerts reserved tickets for selected MPO concerts

MPO Silver Membership ¤60 • • • • •

MPO Silver Membership card free access to open rehearsals priority booking with notification of pre-ticket sales 25% discount on MPO Membership Scheme concerts reserved tickets for selected MPO concerts

MPO Gold Membership ¤120 • MPO Gold Membership card • free access to open rehearsals • priority booking with notification of pre-ticket sales • 40% discount on MPO Membership Scheme concerts • reserved ticket for Girgenti Palace concert • reserved tickets for selected MPO concerts

MPO Family Membership ¤240 (2 adults + 2 children) • MPO Family Membership card • free access to open rehearsals • priority booking with notification of pre-ticket sales • 50% discount on MPO Membership Scheme concerts (adults) • €5 special price for all MPO membership concerts (children) • reserved tickets for selected MPO concerts • VIP family pass for MPO Family Fanfare concert

Do look out for the MPO Membership Icon throughout this booklet. To join the membership scheme, apply online through www.maltaorchestra.com


In most cases, online booking is available: if this is the case, the booking site can be found through our website. Booking for most MPO-organised events can be done through showshappening.com Many venues will also have their own box office, through which physical tickets can usually be purchased. Contact details for all the relevant venues can be found below:

MEDITERRANEAN CONFERENCE CENTRE Mediterranean Street, Valletta www.mcc.com.mt (+356) 2559 5750/1 bookings@mcc.com.mt TEATRU MANOEL Box Office, 11, Old Theatre Street, Valletta www.teatrumanoel.com.mt (+356) 2124 6389 bookings@teatrumanoel.com.mt PJAZZA TEATRU RJAL Casa Cassar, Triq il-Vitorja, Valletta www.pjazzateatrurjal.com (+356) 2247 8100 contact@pjazzateatrurjal.com ROBERT SAMUT HALL Triq Sarria, Floriana www.showshappening.com (ticketing) (+356) 2122 5503 info@maltaorchestra.com TEATRU AURORA 100, Republic Street, Victoria, Gozo www.teatruaurora.com (+356) 2156 2974 teatruaurora@leone.org.mt TEATRU ASTRA 9, Republic Street, Victoria, Gozo VCT1012 www.teatruastra.org.mt +356 2155 0985 bookings@teatruastra.org.mt

Ticket prices vary depending on the event, venue and organisers. MPO Membership Scheme discounts apply on all concerts organised by the MPO, as well as concession prices for students, senior citizens and children. Third parties may apply different policies, but similar concessions will generally be in place. Please keep in mind that booking may also be required for free concerts.

Connect with us on social media to receive the latest updates about the orchestra. For all other information, please do not hesitate to contact us directly. MALTA PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA 1, Triq John Lopez, Floriana, Malta www.maltaorchestra.com (+356) 2124 4473 info@maltaorchestra.com Artists, programmes and dates are correct at the time of going to print. MPO reserves the right to change them if necessary, as do third-party organisers. For the latest updates, please visit our website.


Thank You The MPO is proud to enjoy associations with the following cultural entities, corporate sponsors and individual patrons. Their generous support allows us to reach further and touch more lives.






Mr Michel Friocourt

Mr Patrick Xuereb Mr & Mrs Smith

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