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Konstantin Ishkhanov: 'Phenomenal' Korean classical music stars shine brightly at InClassica

From 17 April – 11 May, Malta will host the InClassica International Music Festival, a three week programme of classical music featuring world-renowned soloists, leading international orchestras and celebrated conductors.

InClassica will be hosted at Malta’s historic Mediterranean Conference Centre (MCC), a 16th century building benefitting from recent award-winning renovation in the capital city of Valletta, in addition to the iconic Manoel Theatre which will host the festival’s opening concert featuring piano legend, Martha Argerich.

The festival is proud to announce guest appearances by some of the most well-known and respected classical musicians in the world, including Rudolf Buchbinder, Gautier Capuçon, Danielle De Niese, Daniel Hope, Gidon Kremer, Denis Matsuev, Akiko Ebi, Andreas Ottensammer, Grigory Sokolov and Maxim Vengerov. InClassica also welcomes celebrated Korean pianists Yekwon Sunwoo and Yeol Eum Son. The full list of soloists is available here.

In addition to the national Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and Malta Youth Orchestra, InClassica will invite six leading ensembles to perform, including the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra (Israel), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (UK), Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège (Belgium), Russian National Orchestra, Armenian State Symphony Orchestra and Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz (Germany). These orchestras will present a wide range of works including symphonies, concertos, overtures and tone poems.

Maestros Dmitry Yablonsky, Michael Francis, Marius Stravinsky, Gergely Madaras, Alexander Sladkovsky, Gianluca Marciano, Alexander Shelley, and Sergey Smbatyan will take to the stand as they lead these orchestras through a thrilling 25 days of consecutive evening concerts, in a festival programme celebrating the very best of classical music.

InClassica is proud to welcome back its Composer-In-Residence, Alexey Shor. The festival will present a range of works by Shor, including his Crystal Palace ballet suite as played at the 40th anniversary edition of the Gramophone Awards ceremony in London 2017. Other performances of his works include a premiere of his new Violin Concerto by the young virtuoso, Daniel Lozakovich, in the festival’s Grand Finale concert on the 11th May, as well as a performance of his Images from the Great Siege, a large-scale orchestral work in thirteen movements recently recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra on the Naxos label.

The festival is organised by the European Foundation for Support of Culture (EUFSC), a Malta-based organisation which works to promote cultural and education projects in Europe and around the world. Each year the Foundation organises concerts, festivals, masterclasses, competitions, lectures and other events in pursuance of this aim, as it seeks to engage with communities across the globe and foster increased cultural and artistic engagement. InClassica is the EUFSC’s flagship event, and the annual culmination of its many activities around the world.

“As we stand at the beginning of 2021 and with only a few short months until InClassica begins, I would like to take this opportunity to convey how thrilled we all are at the EUFSC to be welcoming so many incredible soloists, orchestras and conductors to Malta from all over the world, including two phenomenal pianists from Korea. It is no exaggeration to say that the last year has been an incredibly difficult one for the arts, and it gives me great pleasure to support this vitally important return to cultural activities and to welcome our valued audiences back to the concert hall.” – Konstantin Ishkhanov, President of the EUFSC.

As well as InClassica’s extensive concert programme, the festival will additionally host the Classic Piano International Competition, an event two years in the making that will see 70 talented young participants from around the world bring their musicality, technical skill and concert experience to bear as they compete across four rounds for a total prize fund of 300,000 EUR. This competition marks the culmination of 14 Ways to Malta, a series of piano competitions which, aside from their role as independent competitions in their own right, also serve as preceding rounds for the Classic Piano Competition, with the five top-ranked competitors of each event travelling to Malta for the final stage this year. The last two rounds of Classic Piano will feature performances with the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gianluca Marciano.

The EUFSC is also proud to announce the Malta Classical Music Academy (MCMA), a three-week programme of educational events divided into three one-week courses, each including masterclasses, lectures and open lessons. Tuition is offered in the schools of piano, wind, strings and voice studies. Daily lunchtime concerts will accompany the programme of tuition, and will offer the opportunity to talented students to perform in this series of concerts. To find out more and to apply, please visit the website.

To find out more about InClassica or to book tickets please visit the website.

By James Cummings