On 27th October 2021, the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO), in partnership with the European Foundation for Support of Culture (EUFSC), held the official launch of the MPO Academy, a new initiative aimed at providing important and much-needed enhancements to classical music training available in Malta.
In recent years, the MPO has consistently gone from strength, with notable activities in recent years including a tour of the USA, Germany and Austria in 2018, a tour of Russia in 2019 and appearances at the Malta International Music Festival and InClassica International Music Festival in 2021. However, despite these successes and the expanding profile of the orchestra, a key challenge for the MPO remains the amount of national representation within its ranks.
The MPO Academy aims to address this issue by providing a new exciting framework by which young musicians interested in pursuing an orchestral career with the MPO can improve and expand their orchestral experience.
The opening of the initiative was attended by various members of the press and key stakeholders within the arts and culture sectors. The panel presenting the Academy included Konstantin Ishkhanov, President of the EUFSC, as well as Minister for Culture Jose Herrera and former Minister for Education, Justyne Caruana. The MPO’s CEO Sigmund Mifsud, who chaired the panel, spoke of his excitement at this new venture, “...that specialises in helping our young musicians to focus on being a professional orchestral musician.”
The Academy will be led by the renowned British conductor and professor, Peter Stark, who joined the discussion via video link. Mr Stark currently occupies the position of Professor of Conducting at the Royal College of Music in London and is Rehearsal Director of the European Union Youth Orchestra, and, as such, is perfectly placed to deliver meaningful value and experience to students of the MPO Academy. In addition to the involvement of Mr Stark, the Academy will also feature three full-time tutors.