Malta International Music Festival



15 June - 11 July 2022


Malta Philharmonic Orchestra

Conrad van Alphen(The Netherlands)

Yeol Eum Sonpiano(South Korea)

Mediterranean Conference Centre

Conrad van Alphen

Conrad van Alphen is known as much for entrepreneurial spirit and depth of preparation for performances that combine exceptional sensitivity, vision and freshness. The South African born conductor has gained tremendous popularity with orchestras and audiences alike for his clear and efficient, yet kind and communicative rehearsal and performance style. For four years Conrad van Alphen was chief conductor of the Russian State Safonov Philharmonic Orchestra. As Artist of the Moscow Philharmonic Society he has regularly conducted the major Moscow orchestras in the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory and the legendary Tchaikovsky Hall. Furthermore, he enjoys a close relationship with Mikhail Pletnev and the Russian National Orchestra, with whom he has toured through Russia, Estonia, Switzerland, Italy Colombia and China.

At the turn of the millennium Conrad founded Sinfonia Rotterdam, of which he remains chief conductor and artistic director. With the classical period as foundation and performance mantra for repertoire of the later genres, the orchestra presents successful concert series at de Doelen in Rotterdam, Amare in The Hague and at the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Under Conrad’s energetic leadership Sinfonia Rotterdam is regularly invited to perform in venues and festivals around Europe and intercontinentally tours to Mexico, Brazil, Columbia, Chile, China and Russia.

Equally at ease with the classical genre as with large symphonic repertoire Conrad van Alphen boasts an impressive array of appearances with orchestras such as the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Berliner Symphoniker, Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, Bochumer Symphoniker, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, Russian National Orchestra, Svetlanov Symphony Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Brussels Philharmonic, Residentie Orchestra The Hague, Bogota Philharmonic, Enescu Philharmonic Bucharest, Budapest Symphony Orchestra Mav, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu and many more.

Conrad is proud of his distinguished recorded history with releases on prestigious labels such as Channel Classics, Telarc, Talent Records, Cybele, ARS Produktion and Brilliant Classics. The label Sinfonia Live and Conrad’s YouTube releases offer pure unedited experiences to one and all.

Soloists of the highest calibre hail Conrad for his masterful concerto accompaniments, to mention only a few: Mikhail Pletnev, Nikolai Lugansky, Ronald Brautigam, Alexei Volodin, Simone Lamsma, Alena Baeva, Benjamin Schmid, Nikita Boriso-Glebsky and Alban Gerhardt.

Conrad van Alphen was born and bred in South Africa. After moving to The Netherlands at the age of 26 he joined the double bass section of the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Beethoven Academie Antwerp, whilst continuing his conducting studies with Eri Klas and Roberto Benzi.

Yeol Eum Son


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 (MPO) has been Malta’s foremost musical institution.  The orchestra was founded in April 1968, when musicians from the defunct “Commander-in-Chief” (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 the name National Orchestra of Malta. The orchestra became the MPO in 2008 when it expanded into a full-size symphony orchestra, bringing together musicians from Malta, 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, John Galea, Michael Laus, and Brian Schembri. In 2019, the MPO has appointed Sergey Smbatyan as Principal Conductor, joining Resident Conductor Michael Laus as part of the orchestra’s Artistic Team. The MPO also works with local and international guest artists including Lawrence Renes, Diana Damrau, José Cura, Mikhail Pletnev, Gil Shaham, Joseph Calleja, Gautier Capuçon, Daniel Lozakovich and Enrico Dindo.


As Malta’s leading musical ensemble, 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. During the past seasons, the MPO embarked on a Digital Transformation reaching over 32 million people worldwide through its Online Programme in 2021.

The orchestra has performed in leading venues across the globe, including in the United States, Russia, Dubai, Germany, Austria, China, Italy, and Belgium, and presently 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 regularly give concerts across Malta, the MPO is also responsible for the training and professional development of the next generation of Maltese musicians.


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