Malta Philharmonic Orchestra Celebrates 50th Anniversary with First American Tour

Conductor Sergey Smbatyan

Conductor Sergey Smbatyan

The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) embarks upon its Valletta 2018 Tour, its first-ever American performances celebrating the orchestra’s 50th anniversary and the naming of Malta’s capital city, Valletta, as a European Capital of Culture 2018. The tour commences in Philadelphia on November 27 at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, continues to North Bethesda on November 29 at the Music Center at Strathmore, and culminates in New York City on December 1 at Carnegie Hall.

Armenian conductor Sergey Smbatyan will lead the orchestra in performances of late Maltese composer Joseph Vella’s symphonic poem Rebbieħa, MPO Composer-in-Residence Alexey Shor’s Travel Notebook, Suite for Piano and Orchestra with Austrian pianist Ingolf Wunder, and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5.

“The timing for this inaugural debut of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra in the United States underscores Malta’s cultural sophistication and diverse offerings at a time when we are experiencing a dramatic increase in tourism to the Maltese Islands from the U.S. market,” said Michelle Buttigieg, Malta Tourism Authority North American Representative.

Austrian pianist Ingolf Wunder won first prize at the XVI European Music Competition and Steinway Piano Competition, Liszt Prize at the 36th International Franz Liszt Competition, and second place in the 2010 International Chopin Piano Competition, where Gramophone reviewed Wunder’s performance as, “in control, consistent, confident and professional. Most important of all, he had that subtle extra magic, and, even before the last chord had finished sounding, the audience erupted.” The Malta Philharmonic performed Alexey Shor’s Travel Notebook with Ingolf Wunder and Television Malta praised Wunder as having, “helped the orchestra earn a standing ovation.”

Maltese-American composer Alexey Shor, Malta Philharmonic Orchestra’s Composer-in-Residence, has had his music performed in the most prestigious concert halls in the world including Wigmore Hall, Berlin Philharmonie, Wiener Musikverein, and many others. His compositions have been recorded on Warner Classics, DECCA, Sony Classics, and Delos and his works have been performed by internationally acclaimed soloists and ensembles.  The Malta Philharmonic’s first performance of Shor’s Travel Notebook was in 2017 with pianist Ingolf Wunder under the baton of Sergey Smbatyan.

The Valletta 2018 Tour

This project was initiated and implemented by the European Foundation for Support of Culture together with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, endorsed by the Valletta 2018 Foundation and supported by the Embassy of the Republic of Malta to the USA, Malta Tourism Authority and Culture and Arts Foundation.

The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra

The MPO is Malta’s leading cultural institution and only professional orchestra, representing Maltese art and culture on the world stage. Since first touring abroad in 2001, the orchestra has performed in 11 countries across three continents. The MPO presently embarks on at least one international tour each season, with recent tour concerts in prestigious halls such as the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Musikverein Austria.

For more information about MPO, visit the philharmonic’s website.