The Phoenicia Malta, who have been supporting the local Arts for over 70 years, sat down with Malta’s national symphony orchestra, the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) Executive Chairman Sigmund Mifsud, to find out what’s happening at the MPO and how sponsors such as The Phoenicia Malta are playing a role in the development of the MPO’s longterm vision.
Sigmund explains that the MPO has performed with distinguished conductors and musicians in both concerts and operas. Soloists who have performed with the orchestra include a ‘Who’s-Who’ of leading international and local performers including Joseph Calleja, Andrea Bocelli, José Carreras and Guy Braunstein. Having some of the world’s best musical talent identified with the MPO has led to the creation of a number of operational thematic strands with a view rendering the MPO a world-class institution on its own right.
The orchestra’s calendar of events consists mainly of symphonic concerts at the Manoel Theatre, the Mediterranean Conference Centre and other venues, as well as opera productions in Malta and Gozo together with an international touring programme which has become more extensive over the years. Here sponsors like The Phoenicia Malta play a significant role by hosting top visiting international musicians while introducing them to Maltese hospitality, food and culture.
The Phoenicia Malta epitomises the best of what Malta has to offer which is reflected in the hotel’s support of cultural entities like the MPO, building on previous years of MPO sponsorship. As a luxury hotel next to a UNESCO World Heritage City, The Phoenicia Malta’s management recognise that the Arts are a powerful tool to help society and tourism, connect across cultures, as well as enrich international visitors. The Phoenicia Malta have ardently supported the development of the Arts sector, promoting local culture by helping with financial and non-financial support, and enjoys deepening its partnership with the MPO, the performers, and a loyal fan base.
The role of the sponsors is very much at the forefront of the Executive Chairman’s approach to seeking collaboration with the community, “The MPO is indebted to enlightened companies like The Phoenicia Malta and our other sponsors for their continued sponsorship. They provide essential support for our visiting conductors, soloists and guest musicians. Without their support we could not operate in the way we do.”
The Phoenicia Malta’s General Manager Brice Kemper added, “We are extremely pleased and excited to be part of such a worthwhile project with one of Malta’s premier cultural attractions, and even more, we are thrilled to help expand the MPO’s global footprint and collaborate with the MPO in providing the best possible hospitality for world-class visiting musicians.”
Sigmund articulates how the Board has started a process aiming to create a pool of exceptional Maltese professional musicians. “We are working with sound engineers and experts in the field – they are crucial to attain great recordings”. Malta should be inspired by European orchestra and there is always space to be more innovative. Our newly-appointed French Artistic Director, Raoul Lay, and Principal Conductor, Sergey Smbatyan, are working hard to inspire the orchestra’s creative and growth process.”
The MPO is a leading exponent of Maltese composers with the ambition of promoting Maltese composers to a wider international audience. The MPO Academy and the MYO nurture a sense of professionalism in Malta’s young musicians, through regular rehearsals, workshops, masterclasses and performances with local and international music tutors. “This cross-pollination further helps to boost our international image as a place for talented musicians, and the MYO been working with a variety of prominent local and international conductors, including Peter Stark, Robert Hodge, Kelly Kuo and Michalis Economou, amongst others. The orchestra conducts education programmes for children, involving them in workshops and creative talks on topics that cover the whole spectrum of music-making.”