Malta Philharmonic Orchestra

22 November-7 December 2022

Conductor: Sergey Smbatyan

Soloist: Maxim Vengerov (Violin)

The tour is organised together with the European Foundation for Support of Culture (

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.

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Sergey Smbatyan, conductor

Armenian conductor Sergey Smbatyan is the Founding Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra and Principal Conductor of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra.

Smbatyan has presented the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra and the Malta Philharmonic throughout Europe, Russia and the United States. Performances include Vienna’s Musikverein, the Berlin Philharmonie, Salzburg’s Großes Festspielhaus, London’s Barbican Centre, the Gasteig Munich, Rudolfinum in Prague, Grand Hall of the Moscow State Conservatory and New York’s Carnegie Hall where he made his debut at the age of 28.

A winner of multiple European conducting and violin competitions, Smbatyan has developed an international reputation that includes guest conducting engagements at the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Russian National Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, Sinfonia Varsovia, and many others.

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Maxim Vengerov, violin

Universally hailed as one of the world’s finest musicians, and often referred to as the greatest living string player in the world today, Grammy award winner Maxim Vengerov also enjoys international acclaim as a conductor and is one of the most in-demand soloists.

Born in 1974, he began his career as a solo violinist at the age of five, won the Wieniawski and Carl Flesch international competitions at ages 10 and 15 respectively, studied with Galina Tourchaninova and Zakhar Bron, made his first recording at the age of 10, and went on to record extensively for high-profile labels including Melodia, Teldec and EMI, earning among others, Grammy and Gramophone artist of the year awards.

In 2007 he followed in the footsteps of his mentor, the late Mstislav Rostropovich, and turned his attention to conducting and in 2010 was appointed the first chief conductor of the Gstaad Festival Orchestra. June 2014 saw Mr Vengerov graduate with a Diploma of Excellence from the Moscow Institute of Ippolitov-Ivanov with Professor Yuri Simonov and he has since finished a further 2-year program of opera conducting.

In the last few seasons Maxim Vengerov has performed as soloist and/or conductor with all major orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, Chicago, Montreal and Toronto Symphony Orchestras and toured extensively around the world in Recital.

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European Foundation for Support of Culture

The European Foundation for Support of Culture (EUFSC) is a non-profit organisation founded in Malta to initiate and promote cultural and educational projects in Europe and all around the world.

A key objective of the Foundation is to introduce broad public access in different countries to the most prominent facets of world musical and cultural heritage. To this end, the EUFSC holds numerous festivals, competitions, exhibitions, conferences, presentations, master-classes, workshops, concerts and other events seeking to support and promote culture, to inspire interest in various types of modern art and to support young talented musicians and gifted youngsters. Another important role of the EUFSC is to highlight and promote Maltese composers, musicians, ensembles and orchestras. 

Since its inception, the Foundation’s portfolio of cultural events has become impressive, with notable past events including the sponsorship of the 40th Jubilee Gramophone Classical Music Awards ceremony; the hosting of the debut performance of the new Crystal Palace ballet in Malta in collaboration with the Bolshoi Theatre; and the celebration of the 2018 Malta International Music Festival which coincided with the same year that Valletta was named as the European Capital of Culture. The Foundation is a sponsor of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and in 2018-2019 organised the MPO’s first ever international tour, with further tours following in 2021 and 2022. After a year of disruption due to the Covid pandemic, 2021 saw the Foundation bounce back with a series of ambitious projects around the world, including the Grand Finale to the ‘14 Ways to Dubai’ International Piano Competition, the inauguration of the first Middle East Classical Music Academy, and the 10th anniversary of the Foundation’s flagship InClassica International Classical Music Festival, which was held in Dubai and marked the biggest and most ambitious classical music event in the region’s history.