MUNICH — (MunichNOW Arts & Culture) — This May sees the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) visit Munich to perform at the city’s world-famous Gasteig, a renowned arts center which first opened its doors to the public in 1985. Performing alongside the noted American violinist, Stella Chen, and conducted by its Chief Conductor, Sergey Smbatyan, this upcoming performance marks a welcome return to the orchestra’s concert activities after a year that has seen its activities curtailed by the effects of the coronavirus. This outing follows a previous performance at the Gasteig by the MPO in 2018, and is organized by the European Foundation for Support of Culture (EUFSC) led by its President, Konstantin Ishkhanov. The concert will feature works by Mendelssohn, Prokofiev, and Alexey Shor.
The MPO’s upcoming appearance at the Gasteig marks the orchestra’s second visit to Munich’s premier arts center, following a highly successful performance in 2018 which saw the Maltese orchestra joined by the world-renowned violist David Aaron Carpenter, and Deutsche Grammophon artist, Austrian pianist Ingolf Wunder. The Gasteig is noted for its unique architectural design, and has throughout its distinguished history provided the setting for many successful concerts featuring world-class orchestras, soloists and conductors.
Commenting on the MPO’s upcoming performance, the MPO’s Executive Chairman, Sigmund Mifsud, said: “Being an orchestra from a small island, we are always interested in the opportunity to perform overseas, especially in such a prestigious venue”.
The concert on the 19th of May sees the MPO joined by virtuoso American violinist Stella Chen, a critically-acclaimed emerging artist who has already achieved considerable success both at home in the USA and internationally. Following her win at the 2019 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, she has since been the recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant and Lincoln Centre Emerging Artist Award in 2020, in addition to receiving the Robert Levin Award from Harvard University where she studied as part of the Harvard/New England Conservatory Dual Degree Program.
Conducting the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra for this performance will be the group’s Principal Conductor, Sergey Smbatyan. Mr. Smbatyan first debuted with the orchestra in 2017, before later joining the MPO in his current capacity in 2019. He conducted the MPO for their first visit to Munich in 2018, making this second visit a welcome return for the highly in-demand Armenian conductor who studied with Sir Colin Davis at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
The repertoire featured in May represents a diverse range of compositions, including works from both classic and modern composers. The MPO will be joined onstage by Stella Chen for a performance of Mendelssohn’s famous Violin Concerto, followed by contemporary composer Alexey Shor’s expressive Violin Concerto. The program will conclude with Prokofiev’s Symphony No 1 in D Major, the Classical.
The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra’s upcoming visit to Munich is organized by the European Foundation for Support of Culture (EUFSC), a Malta-based organization which seeks to promote and support cultural endeavors around the world, focusing primarily on classical music. Commenting on the MPO’s collaboration with the EUFSC, and in particular noting the Foundation’s support of the group’s international performing activities, the orchestra’s Executive Chairman, Sigmund Mifsud, said: “…I really must thank the President of the Foundation, Mr. Konstantin Ishkhanov, who believes so much in our orchestra and in our country, and I believe he has been doing a fantastic job of helping the local culture to develop.”
Speaking of his pride at the MPO’s upcoming performance in Munich, the EUFSC’s President, Konstantin Ishkhanov, said: “On behalf of everyone at the EUFSC I would like to say how thrilled we are to be supporting such a prestigious concert. The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra represents some of Malta’s best and brightest musicians, and, in partnership with Stella Chen and maestro Sergey Smbatyan, will, I’m sure, deliver a phenomenal concert in Munich. I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra on such an exciting project, and I look forward to many further collaborations in the future.”
The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra will perform at Munich’s Gasteig on the 19th of May as part of a tour of Germany and Austria taking place 16th – 21st May.