Malta International Music Festival

2021

18-06

15 June - 13 July 2022

18
June
8pm
18-06

Malta Philharmonic Orchestra

Sergey Smbatyanconductor(Armenia)

Yeol Eum Sonpiano(South Korea)

Valletta
Mediterranean Conference Centre


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. 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

Yeol Eum
Son

Piano

Yeol Eum Son’s graceful and timeless interpretations, crystalline touch and versatile, thrilling performances have caught the attention of audiences worldwide. Praised for her widely eclectic concerti repertoire, ranging from Bach, all-Mozart, early German and Russian Romantic to Gershwin and Ligeti, Yeol Eum has collaborated with major ensembles worldwide such as Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Dresdner Philharmoniker, The Tonkunstler Orchestra at the Grafenegg Festival, Bergen Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Seoul Philharmonic, St. Petersburg Philharmonic and Moscow Virtuosi among many others.

Yeol Eum performs with conductors such as Dmitri Kitayenko, Valery Gergiev, Vasily Petrenko, Vladimir Spivakov, Andrew Manze, Susanna Mälkki, Omer Meir Wellber,  Cristian Măcelaru, Pietari Inkinen, Jonathan Nott, Mikko Franck, Nicholas Collon, Joshua Weilerstein, Joana Carneiro, Pablo González, Case Scaglione, Roberto González-Monjas and Yan Pascal Tortelier. 

Across the 20/21 season Yeol Eum serves as Artist in Residence with the Residentie Orkest from the Hague. In front of the Dutch audience and under the baton of conductors Nick Collon, Pablo González and Joshua Weilerstein, Yeol Eum presents a selection of  some of the finest concerti of the piano repertoire including Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 17, Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.4, Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 and Ravel's Piano Concerto in G.  Beyond Zuiderstrandtheater in the Hague, her residency will take her to some of the major venues across the Netherlands including Amsterdam's Concertgebouw,  Apeldoorn's Orpheus and Utrecht's TivoliVredenburg, Yeol Eum also gives a recital at the Hague's Nieuwe Kirk  and a Masterclass at the Hague's conservatory. 

In summer 2019 Yeol Eum made her Royal Albert Hall and BBC Proms debut with the BBC Philharmonic interpreting Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 15. Her most recent debut with the Liverpool Philharmonic (Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto) was met with high acclaim for which Johanna Roberts wrote: Yeol Eum Son throughout demonstrated the technical excellence partnered with lyrical sensitivity that have made her one of the most sought-after concert pianists in a virtuoso performance that was much appreciated by the audience. During her recent UK tour with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Yeol Eum returned to London’s Cadogan Hall and debuted at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall and at Basingstoke’s the Anvil Concert Hal (Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the left hand). Following her hugely successful debut with Aurora orchestra earlier in 2019, Yeol Eum was instantly re-invited and features as a soloist on their March 2020 tour under Nick Collon (Mozart Piano Concerto No.23) with concerts taking place at King’s Place in London as well as at St George’s concert hall in Bristol and at the Apex concert hall in Bury St Edmunds. Yeol Eum subsequently makes her debut with Aurora Orchestra at the opening of the Heidelberger Frühling festival.

A distinguished Mozart interpreter, in the recent concert seasons, Yeol Eum made major UK debuts with the CBSO in Birmingham (Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 21) and at London’s Cadogan Hall with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields (Mozart’s Piano Concerti No’s 8 & 21). Her London debut coincided with Onyx CD release of a highly acclaimed all-Mozart recording featuring Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.21 with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields under Sir Neville Marriner for whom it was the very last recording. According to The Times Yeol Eum Son is a model of clarity and fleetness whilst Gramophone called the recording an uncommonly fine Mozartian debut. 

Further concerti debuts across the 19/20 season and beyond include collaborations with Budapest Festival Orchestra (Rachmaninov No. 2);  West Australian Symphony Orchestra (Mozart No. 21); New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (Mozart No. 27); St Paul Chamber Orchestra (play-direct of Beethoven No.4); Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (Beethoven No.4);  Liège Philharmonic (Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue and Variations on I got Rhythm); Helsinki Philharmonic (Yashiro Piano Concerto); WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne at the RadiRo Festival in Bucharest (Rachmaninov No. 2); Philharmonie de Paris debut with Orchestre National d'Île-de-France (Rachmaninov No.2); RTVE Symphony Orchestra (Szymanowski Sinfonia Concertante) and a tour of Belgium with the Flanders Symphony Orchestra (Liszt No.1). Following her previous successful collaborations, Yeol Eum returns to Gävle Symphony Orchestra (Chopin No.2), Bergen Philharmonic (Rachmaninov No.2), Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne (Prokofiev No.2) and Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken (Prokofiev No.3). 

A sensitive, emotional and powerful recitalist, Yeol Eum gives frequent solo and chamber performances across the globe. Most recent recitals include debuts with San Francisco Chamber Music Society, The Phillips Collection in Washington DC, Helsingborg Piano Festival, International Piano Series Fribourg, Istanbul Recitalleri, Moscow's House of Music, Welsh debut at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and Scottish recital debut at the East Neuk Festival for which The Scotsman presides Yeol Eum for having found that vital emotional connection with the music and physically embracing its raw energy and dynamic extremes with ferocious virtuosity. In  the 19/20 season and beyond Yeol Eum makes recital debuts in Luzerne's KKLSaal, Bern's Paul Klee Centre, Porto's Casa da Música, Belgrade's Kolarac Concert Hall and at the Tallin Piano Festival. 

An avid chamber musician, in 2018 Yeol Eum was appointed Artistic Director of Music in PyeongChang, the biggest  music festival in her native Korea. Yeol Eum is responsible for programming both summer and winter festivals at the Olympic site in PyeongChang. Further chamber highlights in 2020 include appearances at Philharmonie Cologne for collaborations with the principle players from WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne (Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 arranged for Piano and String Quintet) and with Quatuor Modigliani.  

Yeol Eum’s new releases include two DECCA albums: recital CD Modern Times- featuring solo piano music written between 1910-1920 by Berg, Prokofiev, Stravinsky and Ravel, and Schumann and Brahms CD with violinist Clara-Jumi Kang. Previous albums include debut CD of complete Chopin Etudes (2004); Chopin Nocturnes for Piano and Strings (2008); prize-winning Cliburn Competition live performance (2009) and a multi-channel SACD O’ New World Music (2012).

Yeol Eum is Honorary Ambassador of the Seoul Arts Center and her home city of Wonju. A double Second Prize winner at the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in 2011 and at the 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2009, Yeol Eum Son was a student of Arie Vardi at the Hochschule für Musik Theater und Medien Hannover in Germany, where she now lives. She holds a degree from the Korean National University of Arts.

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

Coming soon...

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