Malta International Music Festival

2021

5/28/2021

24-30 May 2021

World Wide!

28
May
7pm
5/28/2021

Malta Philharmonic Orchestra

Sergey Smbatyanconductor(Armenia)

Alena Baevaviolin(Russia)

5/28/2021

St Julian’s
Hilton, Grand Masters suite

On the 28th of May, versatile Russian violinist Alena Baeva will perform in Malta at the Hilton Hotel’s Grand Masters Suite with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO). The programme will begin with two pieces for orchestra: Pietro Mascagni’s Intermezzo from the Opera Cavalleria Rusticana, followed by excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake ballet suite. Following these two works, the MPO will welcome Ms Baeva to the stage for a performance of Alexey Shor’s Seascapes for Violin and Orchestra, Ravel’s Tzigane for Violin and Orchestra and concluding with Shor’s St. Elmo Barcarolle for Violin and Orchestra. The two works by Alexey Shor are strongly connected to Malta, especially St. Elmo Barcarolle, which is part of Shor’s Images of the Great Siege and narrates, through music, the extraordinary act of heroism of the Maltese population defending the island from the four-month siege by the Ottoman Empire. Principal Conductor Sergey Smbatyan leads the MPO. This concert is part of the 2021 edition of the Malta International Music Festival (MIMF), involving four internationally acclaimed soloists. The concerts will take place in three different Maltese locations: the Mediterranean Conference Centre, the Robert Samut Hall and the Hilton’s Grand Masters Suite.


Sergey Smbatyan

Conductor

Extending far beyond his native Armenia, Sergey Smbatyan’s renown and prolific musical career feed on his inexorable vision to make the world a better place through music, culture and spiritual enrichment of people. Sergey Smbatyan’s robust endeavors have earned an array of achievements for the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra, of which he is the Founder, Artistic Director, and Principal Conductor, as well as the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, which he has been leading as the Principal Conductor since September, 2019.

Born to a family of musicians, Sergey’s journey in the world of classical music started with violin studies first with his grandmother Tatiana Hayrapetyan, followed by the classes with violinists Bagrat Vardanyan, Zakhar Bron and Yuri Davtyan. A graduate of Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory and Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Smbatyan also graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in London in 2012. He also holds a Ph.D. in Fine Arts from the Institute of Arts, a division of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences. 

The conservatory undergraduate Sergey Smbatyan lay the foundation of the future Armenian State Symphony Orchestra in 2005, assembling like-minded young fellows into a youth orchestra that would champion classical music in Armenia and promote Armenian musical heritage worldwide. The future achievements awaiting the orchestra along its journey proved the visceral faith of its founder to be an infallible foresight. Throughout the 2020 concert tour with the renowned violin virtuoso and the orchestra’s artist-in-residence Maxim Vengerov brilliant performances were hosted on reputable stages around Europe - Berliner Philharmonie, Vienna's Musikverein, London's Barbican Center,  Prague's Dvorak Hall, Salzburg's Grosses Festspielhaus, Moscow's Zaryadye Concert Hall and elsewhere.

Sergey Smbatyan also holds a rich record of conducting experience with foreign orchestras, including, among many others, the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra, the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. A significant highlight in his international conducting career was the 2019 invitation he received to lead the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra as its Principal Conductor. Prior to this commitment too, the collaboration with the MPO had long been harvesting remarkable success throughout the MPO’s concert tours across the world - from Vienna’s Musikverein to New York’s Carnegie Hall.

Among Sergey Smbatyan’s most cherished and sustainable legacies of are his self-founded 4 music festivals (Armenian Composing Art Festival, Khachaturian International Festival, “Armenia” International Music Festival and “Contemporary Classics” Composers’ Festival), as well as the introduction of “Conducting” category in the annual Khachaturian International Competition,  which is a member of the prestigious World Federation of International Musical Competitions (WFIMC). Other valuable enterprises include 5 exclusive orchestras formed in the framework of significant events, 7 special musical projects and concert series and 7 educational projects, the most massive and impactful of the letter being “DasA” (literally- “ClassA), launched in 2018. Targeting high school students in Armenia, this project’s mission focuses on the popularization of classical music and positive transformation in the young generation’s attitude towards classical music.

By virtue of his relentless and creative outlooks, Smbatyan always pursues new dimensions for innovative artistry and embarks on novel initiatives in the Armenian cultural context. In the framework of the “WCIT 2019”, the largest IT Congress for innovators and entrepreneurs hosted in 2019 by Armenia, an orchestra of 100 musicians from fifteen countries assembled under the Smbatyan’s baton to play the first ever AI real-time-composed music at the opening ceremony of the event as a symbolic demonstration of the ever-growing prospect of dialogue between traditional classical music performance and the technological advancements of the new era. 

In 2015, Sergey Smbatyan received the title of Chevalier of the “Order of Arts and Letters”, awarded by the Minister of Culture and Communication of France. In 2017, the honorary title of “Worker in Arts of Armenia” was conferred on him for the great merit in rearing of creative generation. In 2019, a documentary was released by Mezzo TV, featuring Sergey Smbatyan and the history of the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra.


 “The conductor led the orchestra with an uncommon attention to detail, skillfully guiding the musicians through the whole performance. His hands were clear and precise; this was a performance of great dignity and nobility.
A highly successful and passionate performance!”.

Hessisch Niedersächsische Allgemeine

Alena Baeva

Violin

Described as “a magnetic presence” and “a constantly fascinating sound technician” (New York Classical Review), Russian violinist Alena Baeva is considered one of the most exciting, versatile, and alluring soloists active on the world stage today. Baeva’s career as an international soloist of the highest renown has grown at an extraordinary pace over recent seasons. She now enjoys a particularly strong working partnership with Paavo Järvi, with whom recent and future collaborations include performances with the Estonian Festival Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, and the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich. Another such regular collaborative partnership is that with Vladimir Jurowski, with whom Baeva has both recorded and performed on numerous occasions, including with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and Moscow’s Russian State Symphony Orchestra ‘Evgeny Svetlanov’.

Further conductor collaborations of particular note include Teodor Currentzis and Valery Gergiev, with whom Baeva has toured internationally as concerto soloist (with MusicÆterna and the Mariinsky Orchestra, respectively). She also enjoys growing musical partnerships with the young rising star conductors Robert Trevino (Basque National Orchestra, Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, and the Malmö Symfoniorkester), and Duncan Ward (Moscow Philharmonic, Netherlands Philharmonic, and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra). Recent and forthcoming concerto highlights include those with Andrey Boreyko (Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra), Charles Dutoit (Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana), Tomáš Netopil (Orchestra Sinfónica Nazionale della RAI), and Mikhail Pletnev (Russian National Orchestra), alongside her debuts in Frankfurt (Alte Oper Frankfurt), Madrid (Orquesta Sinfónica y Coro de la RTVE), Munich (Münchner Symphoniker), and Vienna (Tonkünstler-Orchester).

Chamber music has always held a special place in Baeva’s musical life. She has the pleasure of collaborating with such esteemed artists as Martha Argerich, Yuri Bashmet, Steven Isserlis, Daishin Kashimoto, Misha Maisky, Lawrence Power, Julian Steckel, and Yeol-Eum Son. Her regular sonata partner is the celebrated Ukrainian pianist Vadym Kholodenko (2013 Van Cliburn Winner), with whom she has established a musical partnership of more than a decade.

Baeva holds an already vast and rapidly expanding repertoire, including over forty violin concerti, and is a champion of lesser known works – with recent performances promoting such composers as Bacewicz, Karaev, and Karłowicz, alongside more mainstream violin literature. She also enjoys a lasting relationship with the Orchestra of the XVIII Century, performing and recording a variety of repertoire on period instruments.

Baeva’s extensive discography reflects the impressive breadth of her repertoire, with recordings ranging from Szymanowski (for DUX), to Debussy, Poulenc, and Prokofiev (for SIMC), and more. Her Paris performance of Shostakovich Violin Concerto No.2 features as part of the Mariinsky Theatre/Valery Gergiev box-set DVD collection, released by Arthaus Musik in 2015. In 2018, she made a recording of both the Karłowicz Violin Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (for NIFC), and of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with London Philharmonic Orchestra/Vladimir Jurowski, to be released on the LPO Live label. 2020 saw the release of her latest album – a recording of the Schumann Violin Concerto and the original (1844) version of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor – released worldwide on Melodiya Records.

Born in Russia to a musical family, Baeva took her first violin lessons at the age of five under renowned pedagogue Olga Danilova, before going on to study in Moscow with Professor Eduard Grach at the Central School of Music and the State Tchaikovsky Conservatoire. In addition to her formal education, she studied in France with Mstislav Rostropovich, in Switzerland with Seiji Ozawa, in Israel with Shlomo Mintz (at Keshet Eilon Music Center), and in Paris with Boris Garlitsky. Aged 16, Baeva won the Grand Prix at the 12th International Henryk Wieniawski Competition (2001), as well as the Prize for Best Performance of a Contemporary Work. Following this, she went on to take the Grand Prix at the Moscow International Niccolò Paganini Competition (2004), including a Special Prize allowing her to perform on the 1723 Wieniawski Stradivari for one year, and was awarded both the Gold Medal and the Audience Prize at the Sendai International Violin Competition (2007).

Alena Baeva plays on the “ex-William Kroll” Guarneri del Gesù of 1738 – on generous loan from an anonymous patron, with the kind assistance of J&A Beares.

Malta Philharmonic Orchestra

For half a century, the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra has been Malta’s leading musical ensemble. 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 National Orchestra of Malta as its name. The orchestra became the MPO in 2008 when it expanded into a full-size symphony orchestra, bringing together the best of Maltese talent and musicians from Europe and beyond.

Joseph Sammut, the C-in-C’s last conductor, 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, Michael Laus, and Brian Schembri.

This season, the MPO has appointed Raoul Lay as its Artistic Director, together with Sergey Smbatyan as Principal Conductor and Michael Laus as Resident Conductor. The MPO also works with local and international guest conductors and soloists including Lawrence Renes, Michalis Economou, Guy Braunstein and Enrico Dindo.

 As Malta’s only professional orchestra, the MPO averages more than one performance a week including symphonic concerts, opera productions in Malta and Gozo, community outreach and educational initiatives, as well as various concerts of a lighter nature.

The orchestra has performed in leading venues across the globe, including in the USA, Russia, Germany, Austria, China, Italy, and Belgium. Presently it embarks on at least one international tour each concert season.

The MPO is a keen exponent of Maltese composers, regularly performing their works in Malta and overseas, as well as frequently premiering and commissioning new compositions.

Through the MPO Academy and the Malta Youth Orchestra, which itself regularly gives concerts around Malta, the MPO is also responsible for the training and professional development of the next generation of Maltese musicians.

Programme

P. Mascagni

“Cavalleria Rusticana”

Intermezzo from the Opera

P. Tchaikovsky

“Swan Lake” Suite, Op.20a

Excerpts

A. Shor

Seascapes

for Violin and Orchestra

M. Ravel

Tzigane

for Violin and Orchestra

A. Shor 

St. Elmo Barcarolle

for Violin and Orchestra

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