Malta International Music Festival

2020

26 April — 10 May 2020

Valletta • Floriana

4
May
8pm
Notte Romantica

La Primavera Kazan Chamber Orchestra

Alan Chircopconductor(Malta)

Ekaterina Mechetinapiano(Russia)

Floriana
Robert Samut Hall

Alan Chircop

Conductor

Over the past twenty years, Maltese conductor Alan Chircop directed several international orchestras and appeared in various theatres, concert halls and festivals in many different countries. Among others, he conducted the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall and Westminster Central Hall in London, the London Concert Orchestra, the Sofia Philharmonic – National Orchestra of Bulgaria, the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Macedonia, Armenian State Symphony Orchestra and the National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia, the State Orchestra ‘Academy of Soloists’ of Kazakhstan, L’Orchestra Citta’ di Ravenna and L’Orchestra Sinfonica Duchi d’Acquaviva(Italy), the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra, the Leopoli State Symphony Orchestra (Ukraine), L'Orchestre Lyrique de Region Avignon-Provence (France), the Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra (Czech Republic), the Mihail Jora Philharmonic of Bacau (Romania), the Karelia State Philharmonic Orchestra, the Kislovodsk - Mineralnye Vody State Symphony Orchestra and the Sochi Symphony Orchestra (Russia), the Pleven Philharmonic Orchestra (Bulgaria); the Westsächsische Philharmonie and the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Symphony Orchestra Leipzig (Germany), the Camerata con Cor(d)e of Belgium and the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra.

Alan Chircop’s repertoire is very wide ranging and apart from an extensive symphonic and concerto repertoire, he has directed several opera productions, contemporary music premieres and also different genres arranged for symphonic orchestras.

In 1993 he obtained the Diplome de Fin d’Etudes in pianoforte with distinction at the Conservatoire Regional de Musique in Lyon (France). He pursued his studies at the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Music Academy in Leipzig (Germany) obtaining two Masters Degrees: in Pianoforte under the tutorship of Prof. Christoph Taubert (1994-2001) and Orchestral Direction with Prof. Gert Bahner (1997-2003). He also followed a one-year specialization course in Orchestral Direction with Prof. Uros Lajovic at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna (Austria).

Alan Chircop was also the Founder and Principal of the Euro Academy of Music and Arts in Malta, Artistic Director of the Virtuoso Classics Concert Series, and Artistic Director of the Renaissance Cultural Foundation and Principal of the Visual & Performing Arts Schools in Malta.

Since 2014, he is the Artistic Director of the European Foundation for Support of Culture, organising many festivals, competitions and events around the world and often serves as jury member of international music competitions. He is also the artistic director of New Names Malta - National Music Competition.

Ekaterina Mechetina

piano

Ekaterina Mechetina is undoubtedly one of the most acclaimed artists of her generation and a leading light in piano performance and the advancement of art and culture in Russia. What marks her out however is not only the awards and accolades she has achieved throughout her career, but also the attention she has given to broader, often untapped areas of music and art. From early in her career she became a prominent advocate of repertoire beyond that of the typical competition and performance circuit – a commitment that carries forward to this day.

Early life

Her upbringing was typical of many of her contemporaries: she was born into a family of musicians, and it soon became clear that she had her parents’ gift for music. As a child she was accepted to study under T. L. Koloss at the Central School of Music for the Moscow State Conservatory - one of the world’s most highly acclaimed schools for gifted children and the springboard for many world-famous musicians.

After finishing her schooling, she studied at the Moscow Conservatory under the tuition of V. P. Ovtchinnikov, and for her postgraduate studies, under the renowned Professor S.L. Dorensky. Dorensky’s students have collectively won over one hundred prizes in competitions across three continents; Mechetina’s prize at the Cincinnati Piano Competition was to be the hundredth.

Early career 

Mechetina’s first career highlight was at the Youth Piano Competition in Russia, where at the age of ten she won the Mozart Prize, for which she received a piano. Over the next few years, she performed in many concerts and competitions across the world with repertoires of increasing scope and interest. As well as across Russia, she played in South America, North America and Europe, in competitions such as the International Busoni Piano Competition, and the Vercelli, Pinerolo and Cincinnati piano competitions, all of which awarded her first prizes. During these early years she was already earning critical acclaim: the Boston Globe ran with, “This highest-class Russian pianist Ekaterina Mechetina strikes the public by her debut in the US”, and a Busoni review stated, “Young Ekaterina already now is on the peak of world pianism”.

Today

Since the mid-2000s, Mechetina has broadened her scope and influence; her solo career has continued to grow, with well over 50 piano concerti and numerous recital and chamber programmes in her repertoire. She leads an intensive concert schedule - around 80 concerts each year, and increasing. She has performed with many of the world-class orchestras in some of the most famous venues in the world, in Moscow and other Russian cities, as well as abroad - the Schauspielhaus in Berlin, the Gaveau in Paris, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and the Sala Grande of the Milan Conservatory to name a few. 

As well as her performance schedule, Mechetina holds a teaching post at the Moscow P.I.Tchaikovsky Conservatory and gives regular master classes from beginner to postgraduate level in different countries including South Korea, Japan, Norway and others. She also leads an active role in Russian cultural life and is a judge at many prominent international competitions, such as the televised Nutcracker competition in Moscow and the Astana Piano Passion in Kazakhstan; she is a member of the Presidential Council for Culture & Arts and was elected as co-Chairman of Council for musical education at Russia’s Ministry of Culture. She also directs her own festival, "Green Noise" in Surgut, Russia, which runs annually (greennoise.ru) as well as some other musical and social projects.

In 2018, she was awarded a “Honored Artist of Russia” mention. 

Approach and philosophy

Mechetina puts a large part of her success down to some key relationships she struck early in her career: in 2002, as part of Russia’s celebrations of Rodion Schedrin’s 70th birthday, one of the concerts had to be cancelled due to the pianist being suddenly unavailable. Her tutor, Dorensky, convinced Schedrin to enrol Mechetina to step in at short notice. The concert was a great success and Schedrin, who demanded the most exacting standards of his pianists, was so impressed that he entrusted her with all his new piano works, including his 6th Piano Concerto, which she premiered at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw.

Another crucial encounter was with Vladimir Spivakov, which led to her becoming one of the most invited guest soloists of the Maestro’s two orchestras – the National Symphony of Russia and Virtuosi of Moscow. Another was with Mstislav Rostropovich, who invited her to perform in his concerts in Taiwan, giving her a scholarship in his Foundation, ultimately leading to her taking classes in France.

These encounters were key milestones in Mechetina’s development and influenced her whole attitude to the profession. To summarise Mechetina’s own take on her art: it is not the accolades or the achievements that make the musician, but the recognition that there is no limit to perfection. It is this driving philosophy that pulls her along her path as a musician.

Recordings

Her releases include a collection of contemporary piano works by Schedrin and Shakhidi, a CD of Rachmaninov transcriptions and variations on FUGA LIBERA, and CDs of Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and Mussorgsky, Chopin and Scriabin on MELODIYA.

La Primavera

Kazan Chamber Orchestra

«If Kazan did not have such an orchestra, it would have to be invented», said one of the guests of the capital of Tatarstan. Kazan Chamber Orchestra La Primavera appeared in 1989, out of enthusiasm of  Rustem Abyazov - the conductor and musicians. A small group of students from the conservatory and a young director of a special musical school gave their first concerts at Kazan University. And quite soon the new group became very famous all over Kazan. Today La Primavera orchestra is one of the best creative ensembles in Russia. Its repertoire includes more than 2000 works by Western European, Russian and Tatar composers from baroque to jazz.

Musicians from Tatarstan are participants of Russian and international festivals, including: Les Classiques de Villars (Switzerland), Musik vid Siljan (Sweden), Musik vid Dellen (Sweden), "Stars of White Nights", "Khibla Gerzmava invites...”, "Europe-Asia", Academy of music "New Itinerants", "Christmas Musical Meetings in North Palmyra", "Youth Academies of Russia", "Siberia-Europe", La Folle Journée - "Mad Days" (Ekaterinburg) and many others.

La Primavera gave concerts in the Great Hall of the Conservatory, the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, the Rachmaninoff Hall (Moscow), the Moscow International House of Music, the Glinka Hall of St. Petersburg Philharmonia, and the Organ Hall of the Perm Philharmonia. The orchestra performed in Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Tunisia, Greece, Israel, China, Turkey, and South Korea, always getting a warm welcome from the public and approval of music critics. In 2018 the orchestra took the Trans-Siberian train trip, giving 13 concerts in the cities of Transsib.

La Primavera gives its own international festivals in Kazan. These are: «Abyazov-Festival» dedicated to synthesis of different cultures; and L'arte del arco («Art of the bow»), which annually introduces public to the work of best contemporary performers of string and bowed instruments.

The participants of these festivals have been Gilles Apap, Stefan Milenkovic, Nikita Borisoglebskiy, Robi Lakatos, Dmitriy Makhtin, Lakshminarayana Subramaniam, Hugo Ticciati, Boris Andrianov, Denis Shapovalov, Monika Leskovar, Jan Krigovskiy, Nicolas Dautricourt, Glinka State Quartet (Russia), Rastrelli-Quartet (Russia-Germany), Graf Murzha, Misha Pyatigorskiy’s jazz trio. Also the orchestra performed with Khibla Gerzmava, Misha Mayskiy, Alena Baeva, Albina Shagimuratova and others.

«La Primavera is one of the best orchestras not only in Russia. I am always amazed by the way they work, by their professionalism and quality of their sound», says the Italian violinist - Domenico Nordio. «Brilliant musicians», - says Gilles Apap. «I have never seen such a large and diverse repertoire for a chamber orchestra. Besides, everything is clear, everything works, everything is always in place», - comments Mark Drobinskiy - the cellist. «One has been admiring the orchestra for many years. The orchestra has a huge repertoire, it is able “to fit” into any soloist, in any musical style», - the Russian radio station «Orpheus» reports in the review. «Every day of the festival L'arte del arco music sounded at the highest level, undoubtedly it would enrich the best stages of the world», - writes the newspaper «Musical Review». 

The orchestra actively gives charity concerts to help children's funds. Every year the orchestra organizes a program for talented students from children's musical schools to support young musicians, the name of the program is «Stars from Tomorrow». It actively promotes the work of contemporary composers.

Rustem Abyazov is a founder, permanent art director and chief conductor of the orchestra, an honored artist of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Tatarstan, a national artist of the Republic of Tatarstan, a laureate of the State prize named after G. Tukay, «Conductor of the Year» according to the All-Russian newspaper «Musical Review» (2002), and an honorary citizen of Kazan.

Programme

Edvard Grieg
(1843–1907)

Praeludium and Sarabande from Holberg Suite
Aase’s Death and Anitra’s Dance from Peer Gynt Suite No. 1

Samuel Barber

Adagio for Strings
Op. 11a

Frederic Chopin
(1810–1849)

Piano Concerto No. 1
Op. 11

Soloist: Ekaterina Mechetina piano

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