In December 2018 the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) has embarked on its first Russian tour, celebrating both the 50th Anniversary and the World Heritage UNESCO site, Valletta, the European Capital of Culture 2018. The MPO was led by the famous conductor Sergey Smbatyan, Honored Artist of the Republic of Armenia who frequently appears with MPO nowadays.

This project was initiated and implemented by the European Foundation for Support of Culture (EUFSC) together with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra under the Distinguished Patronage of Her Excellency Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta; endorsed by the Valletta 2018 Foundation and supported by the Embassy of the Republic of Malta to Russia. The partner of the event in Russia is the Association for Support of Cultural Initiatives.

The MPO Valletta 2018 Tour proceeded to Saint-Petersburg to perform on the December 7th at the Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre.

The concert began with a performance of Rebbieħa, a symphonic poem penned by Gozitan composer Joseph Vella.

The MPO then continued with the work of famous modern American-Maltese composer, Alexey Shor, with Austrian pianist Ingolf Wunder (prize-winner of many international competitions, Deutsche Grammophon artist) as a soloist, before rounding off its concerts with Dmitri Shostakovich’s famous Fifth Symphony.

Alexey Shor attended concert in  St. Petersburg. According to the composer, this tour has become an unprecedented event that allows to demonstrate the art of the Mediterranean island to our compatriots, and, most importantly, the tour become an example of the different culture’s interaction when Maltese and Russian music are combined in one program.

According to conductor Sergey Smbatyan, for him this tour has become a unique opportunity to be an Ambassador of Maltese culture in the world.

“The musuc of Alexey Shor is very symbolic for me as a conductor. It is very pleasant that Alexey joined us in the tour because for the audience it is very important to see the creator of the compositions. In this case, the music is perceived differently, it becomes closer to the listener, – the conductor noted. – Shostakovich’s landmark Fifth Symphony, which has been performed in the second part – one of the most famous symphonies in the world. For the orchestra it is a huge responsibility to play this piece, where the entire palette of colors should be presented. Also, playing Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony highlights the high level of the orchestra’s professionalism”

The concert tour of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra in St. Petersburg has become the confirmation that the true beauty and power of music lies in bringing people from different cultures together.