Malta Philharmonic Orchestra launches the 2013-2014 Concert Season
The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra launched the 2013 – 2014 Concert Season which includes over 50 concerts filled with outstanding personalities, prolific performers and exciting productions. Foremost among the orchestra’s productions is the MPO Concert Series, a cycle of four concerts presented in the Baroque surroundings of the Manoel Theatre.
The concert season was launched by the executive chairman of the Orchestra Mro Sigmund Mifsud and the Parliamentary Secretary for Culture and Local Councils, Dr Jose Herrera.
Michael Laus, MPO’s resident conductor, directs the orchestra in the inaugural concert, starring Spanish horn player Jose Garcia Gutierrez in Richard Strauss’ beautiful Horn Concerto no 1. In January the MPO welcomes Greek conductor Michalis Economou and Maltese soprano Miriam Cauchi for an evening of Italian Opera, whereas March sees the return of Composer-in-Residence Joseph Vella conducting the premiere of his latest work for the MPO as well as Bottesini’s Concerto for Double Bass featuring MPO Principal Double Bass Gjorgji Cincievski.
British conductor Peter Stark brings the series to a close in May, with an enticing programme of Brahms’ second Symphony alongside Ginastera’s colourful Concerto for Harp featuring internationally acclaimed harpist Fabrice Pierre. Maltese conductor Brian Schembri features in another two concerts to be held in collaboration with the Manoel Theatre with an eclectic programme of works by Sibelius, Beethoven. Mozart and Schumann, with guest artists cellist Simon Abdilla Joslin and clarinetist Godfrey Mifsud.
The neo-Gothic Robert Samut Hall has proven to be particularly suited to intimate performances of smaller-scale orchestral works. The intriguing 2013-2014 series offers an eclectic choice of programmes from Astor Piazzolla's The Four Season of Buenos Aires, Rodion Shchedrin's Carmen Suite, Durufle’s Requiem, Organ concertos and an enticing performance dedicated to the Art of Baroque Dance with performers dancing the delicate and intricate steps of Baroque Dances coreographed by Joanne Butterworth and played live by the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra. The MPO is also launching the MPO Chamber Series, featuring chamber music works to be performed by members of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra together with distinguised Maltese and Foreign guest musicians.
Among the MPO’s proudest achievements are its education performances which seek to introduce young people to the beauty of classical music. This season is no exception. As part of the Ziguzajg Children’s Festival in November, the MPO have created a new bespoke performance with young conductor Marc Gauchi at the helm of an unusual but fun-filled presentation entitled Juke-box Orchestra. Another family event in January, The ABC of Music, will shine a spotlight onto the brass and woodwind orchestral instruments specially designed for kids aged four to six. In February then, the MPO presents Twice Upon a Time in America?! Based on the music of prominent American composers Copland, Bernstein, Gershwin, this is a multimedia extravaganza featuring digital, live narration and live music by the MPO under the direction of Christopher Muscat.
The Mediterranean Conference Centre is home to two distinct events produced by the Malta Philharmonic. In March the MPO ventures away from the classical repertoire in favour of a symphonic rock concert entitled MPO plays QUEEN, featuring the music of the eternally popular British Rock band Queen under the direction of British conductor Philip Walsh. From Russia with Love, is the concert to be performed in May this time featuring the grand repertoire the Russian masters Rachmaninov and Shostakovich under the direction of Alexander Chernushenko, Chief Conductor of the St. Petersburg State Capella Symphony Orchestra.
The MPO supports and promoted the training and performances of the sister orchestra the Malta Youth Orchestra, who for the coming season have four concerts under the direction of various conductors, culminating in the side-by-side concert at Piazza San Gorg the MPO & MYO in Concert under the direction of American conductor Kelly Kuo.
In his intervention, the Parliamentary Secretary for Culture Dr Jose Herrera thanked the press for their intervention in raising the profile of culture in our country, which is instrumental in the run-up of Valletta as Capital of Culture in 2018. In the presence of the members of the Orchestra, Dr Herrera praised the dedication of the Orchestra which although is moving in the right direction, needs to aim for higher grounds. With regards to the Youth Orchestra, Dr Herrera acknowledged the importance being given by the MPO, and expressed his wish to see this project develop further.
Furthermore, Dr Herrera praised the work being done by the chairman and board of the Orchestra, who with enthusiasm and a deep appreciation for the arts are working hard to maintain the high professional level demanded of such an institution. “The Orchestra is an indispensable and important asset in the culture sector. It is the only entity which employs musicians on a full-time basis, and one of the few that offers the space for the development of practical musicianship,” furthered the Parliamentary Secretary for Culture.