Opening Orchestral Concert


R. Vaughan Williams (1872 – 1958)   The Wasps


E. Grieg (1843 – 1907)                          Piano Concerto in A Minor op. 16


A. Dvořák (1841 – 1904)                       Symphony no. 7 in D Minor op. 70


Francis Camilleri formally commenced his pianoforte studies with Lucia Micallef and continued his tuition with Karen Briscoe. He also took regular lessons with Prof. Vanessa Latarche at the Royal College of Music, London. Francis graduated with honours from the University of Malta in pianoforte performance under the tuition of Michael Laus, and has participated in master classes led by John Lill, Mikhail Pethukov, and Young-Choon Park, amongst others. He has performed in the most important venues in Malta and in prestigious festivals including the Victoria International Arts Festival, Valletta Baroque Festival, Three Palaces Festival, amongst others. Last September he made his debut as a soloist with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra. Francis was coached in harmony and counterpoint by Joseph Vella, Malta’s leading composer. Francis is a member of the Laudate Pueri Choir and the Victoria International Arts Festival.

Philip Walsh is a British conductor whose credits include his debut at La Fenice, Venice, conducting Pier Luigi Pizzi’s production of Thomas Ades’ opera Powder her Face.  Other appearances in Italy have included the Teatro Comunale di Bologna and the Lugo Opera Festival, and he is a regular guest conductor of the Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini, having appeared with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet in concerts in Parma, Modena, and Ferrara, and most recently with jazz legend Dee Dee Bridgewater in the Verona Jazz Festival.

Philip Walsh is the director of Le Festival Lyrique International de Belle-Île, in Brittany, France.  He has conducted over 150 performances for the Festival, including Rigoletto, Così fan tutte, Tosca, Falstaff, Don Giovanni, La Cenerentola, Madama Butterfly, La Bohème, Dido and Aeneas, Acis and Galatea, Die Zauberflöte, Otello, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Orphée et Eurydice, Don Pasquale, Le Nozze di Figaro, La Traviata, I Pagliacci and Gianni Schicchi as well as Bach’s St John Passion, Brahms’ Ein Deutches Requiem, Mozart’s Requiem and Haydn’s Creation

Born in Southampton, England, Philip Walsh studied piano and organ and went on to study music at Cambridge University.  After graduating he spent a number of years in New Zealand, where he was a regular guest conductor of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.  In Europe he has worked for L’Opéra de Metz, l’Opéra de Bordeaux, English Touring Opera, Almeida Opera, London, and the Aldeburgh Festival.  In 2007 he made his Spanish debut, conducting Don Giovanni for Opera en Vigo.  Orchestras he has conducted include the London Sinfonietta, the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong, Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice, Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, l’Orchestre National de Lorraine, RTS Symphony Orchestra, Belgrade, and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.  He conducted Teatru Manoel’s production of L’Elisir d’amore and Don Giovanni in past productions, and has also appeared with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra in this year’s Valletta International Baroque Festival.

The Malta Philharmonic 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 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.