VIAF 2024 Closing Orchestral Concert


E. Elgar (1857 – 1934)                          Serenade for Strings in E Minor op. 20

                                                              Allegro; Larghetto; Allegretto

J. Vella (1942 – 2018)                            Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra op. 121

                                                              Allegro non troppo; Adagio ma non molto; Allegretto molto moderato

Godfrey Mifsud: Clarinet

F. Mendelssohn (1809 – 1847)            Symphony no. 4 in A Major op. post. 90 (Italian)               

                                                              Allegro vivace; Andante con moto; Con moto moderato;

                                                             Presto and Finale: Saltarello

Godfrey Mifsud is considered to be one of Malta’s most refined solo and chamber musicians. He started his musical studies in Malta at an early age under Ronnie Debattista and furthered his clarinet studies in UK. He made his public debut with the Malta Na onal Orchestra in 1997 performing Charles Camilleri’s Concer no. Since then, Godfrey has performed as a soloist both locally and interna onally with various orchestras and chamber groups. Godfrey graduated in Music Education from the University of Malta and Master of Music from Christchurch University in Canterbury (UK), majoring in clarinet performance under the guidance of British virtuoso David Campbell with whom he performed at the World Clarinet Congress (Oostende) and recorded for Meridien Records. As a professional educator, Godfrey enjoys working with young, talented, and motivated musicians, helping them to further improve their musical skills and careers. He holds the post of clarinet tutor at the Malta School of Music and is a visiting lecturer in Performance Studies at the University of Malta. Being a passionate chamber musician and fluent on most instruments of the clarinet family, Godfrey is sought after as a versatile musician and performs with various groups and formations. 

Philip Walsh is a British conductor who this year completes his 24th and final season as the artistic director of the French opera festival Lyrique-en-mer this summer. For the festival he has conducted over 200 performances, including Rigoletto, Tosca, Falstaff, La Cenerentola, Madama Butterfly, La Bohème, Lucia di Lammermoor, Die Zauberflöte, Otello, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Don Pasquale, La Traviata, I Pagliacci and Gianni Schicchi as well as Bach Johannes-Passion, Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem, Mozart’s Requiem, and Haydn’s Die Schöpfung

His credits include his debut at La Fenice, Venice, conducting Pier Luigi Pizzi’s production of Thomas Ades’ Powder her Face. Other appearances in Italy have included the Teatro Comunale di Bologna and the Lugo Opera Festival, as well as the Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini, having appeared with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet in concerts in Parma, Modena, and Ferrara, and with jazz legend Dee Dee Bridgewater in the Verona Jazz Festival.

A frequent performer in Malta, he has conducted Teatru Manoel’s productions of L’Elisir d’amore, Orphée et Euridice, and the Mozart/Da Ponte trilogy of Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte. He has been conducting the opening and closing concerts of the Victoria International Arts Festival since 2018.

Born in Southampton, England, Philip studied piano and organ and went on to read music as organ scholar at Queens’ College, Cambridge University, studying with the renowned Bach specialist Peter Hurford. After graduating he spent several years in New Zealand, where he was Director of Music at Wellington Cathedral and conductor of the symphonic chorus the Orpheus Choir

In Europe he has worked for L’Opéra de Metz, l’Opéra de Bordeaux, English Touring Opera, Almeida Opera, London, and the Aldeburgh Festival. He made his Spanish debut conducting Don Giovanni for Opera en Vigo.  Orchestras he has conducted include the London Sinfonietta, the City Chamber Orchestra, Hong Kong, Orchestra della Teatro La Fenice, Orchestra della Teatro Comunale, Bologna, l’Orchestre National de Lorraine, RTS Symphony Orchestra, Belgrade, and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

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.