November 2019 Moscow Internation House of Music c Joe Smith

In a triumphant return to its concert activities, the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) will this year undertake a European tour of Austria and Germany, performing in some of the world’s most prestigious concert halls alongside the 2019 Queen Elisabeth International Violin Competition Winner, American violinist Stella Chen, and led by their Principal Conductor, Sergey Smbatyan. This year’s tour marks the MPO’s fifth tour in recent years, following the orchestra’s much lauded tour of Russia, Germany, Austria and the USA in 2018 and their subsequent well-received tour of Russia in 2019. The MPO’s upcoming visits to the European mainland from the 16th to the 21st of May this year, in addition to their previous tours in 2018 and 2019, are the result of a highly successful and longstanding partnership with the European Foundation for Support of Culture (EUFSC), led by its President, Konstantin Ishkhanov. This year’s Northern European outing for the MPO sees the orchestra present a diverse programme featuring works by Mendelssohn, Prokofiev and contemporary composer Alexey Shor.

Following a challenging year for the performing arts owing to the global COVID-19 pandemic, this year sees the MPO bravely reassert its position as one of Europe’s most exciting emerging orchestras as it prepares to embark on a flagship tour across Europe.

The MPO’s appearance at Vienna’s Musikverein on 21st May will be their third visit to the revered concert hall, following their debut in March 2017. Speaking of the MPO’s pride and excitement at returning to Austria’s premier performance space, the orchestra’s Executive Chairman, Sigmund Mifsud, said: “…it is so satisfying to feel the atmosphere amongst the musicians and how happy they are to be performing in those acoustics…” Indeed, Austria’s famous landmark and home of the renowned Vienna Philharmonic, is widely considered to be one of the world’s principal concert halls, having welcomed an impressive roster of globally famous soloists and orchestras since first opening its doors in January 1870.

For this concert in Vienna, the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra will welcome the American violinist Stella Chen. Regarded as one of the most gifted and exciting talents of her generation, Ms Chen shot to fame following her being awarded First Prize at the globally significant 2019 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels.

Directing the MPO for this tour will be the group’s Principal Conductor, Sergey Smbatyan, who started in the role in 2019 following his debut with the orchestra in 2017. He conducted the orchestra’s first tour to Austria and Germany in 2018, making this second tour around Northern Europe a welcome return for the internationally acclaimed Armenian conductor.

The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra will present a rich and diverse programme of music for its second tour of Austria and Germany, beginning with Mendelssohn’s famous Violin Concerto, followed by Violin Concerto, an offeringby the globally-recognised composer Alexey Shor. Prokofiev’s Symphony No.1 will conclude the performances.

Konstantin Ishkhanov, President of European Foundation for Support of Culture

The tour is organised by the European Foundation for Support of Culture (EUFSC), a Malta-based organisation that works to promote and support culture around the world. Speaking of his pride and excitement for the upcoming tour, the EUFSC’s president, Konstantin Ishkhanov, said: “After such a difficult period of time for cultural institutions around the world, on behalf of everyone at the EUFSC I would like to say how thrilled we are to be supporting such a prestigious tour. It is especially gratifying to see the MPO visit such notable concert halls as the Musikverein in Vienna, one which has for so many years been synonymous with world-class performance and genre-defining classical music. 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 MPO’s visit to Vienna shall form part of a European Tour that will take place between the 16th and 21st of May 2021, and which will also see the orchestra performing at the legendary Domed Hall of the Hanover Congress Centre on the 16th of May, at Kurhaus concert hall on the 17th of May and at the luxurious modern masterpiece that is the Gasteig in Munich on the 19th of May.