Konstantin Ishkhanov: InClassica opening night performance by Martha Argerich

This April, the InClassica International Music Festival will open its doors with a grand opening concert featuring legendary Argentine-Swiss pianist, Martha Argerich

Maria Salozobova and Martha Argerich
Maria Salozobova and Martha Argerich

This April, the InClassica International Music Festival will open its doors with a grand opening concert featuring legendary Argentine-Swiss pianist, Martha Argerich, and Swiss violinist, Maria Solozobova.

This concert represents a rare opportunity to hear Argerich perform live in Malta, and lends an auspicious air to the opening of the InClassica festival, the largest of its kind to take place in Malta and the first large-scale festival of classical music to take place in Europe since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

From 17th April to 11th May this year, Malta will host the InClassica International Music Festival, an event featuring 25 consecutive days of evening concerts, the Malta Classical Music Academy and the Classic Piano International Piano Competition.

Welcoming prestigious soloists including Grigory Sokolov, Stella Chen, Danielle De Niese, Denis Matsuev and Maxim Vengerov, plus a staggering six international orchestras in addition to the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) and Malta Youth Orchestra (MYO), InClassica will begin its programme of concerts with a special performance featuring one of the most respected pianists in the world today, Martha Argerich.

Widely considered to be one of the most accomplished and important pianists in recent history, multiple Grammy Award-winning pianist, Martha Argerich, has developed a profoundly original and significant reputation, frequently performing to sold-out concert halls across the world and whose extensive discography includes recordings for EMI and Sony amongst many others.

Displaying prodigious talent from a young age in her native Argentina, where she started piano lessons at the age of five, Argerich later continued her studies in Europe following her move to the continent in 1955. Shortly after this relocation, Argerich competed successfully in the Bolzano and Geneva Piano Competitions in 1957, winning First Prize in both competitions before later securing first place in the coveted Warsaw International Chopin Competition in 1965.

She has been recognised by numerous institutions around the world, most notably being bestowed the “Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres'' by the French government in 2004, “The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette" by the Japanese government in 2005 and featuring in the 2016 Kennedy Center Honors list at a ceremony that included a tribute to her by none other than President Barack Obama.

For the festival’s opening concert on April 17th, Argerich will be joined by virtuoso violinist, Maria Solozobova, to perform Seascapes, a work by InClassica’s Composer-In-Residence, Alexey Shor, and Prokofiev’s Violin Sonata No.2 in D Major. Argerich and Solozobova have collaborated extensively and performed together on a variety of occasions in recent years.

Indeed, in addition to Argerich’s reputation as a soloist and concerto performer, she has devoted increasing time to chamber music, collaborating with renowned artists including Nelson Freire, Gidron Kremer and Daniel Barenboim.

The first work in the evening’s varied concert, an offering by Alexey Shor, depicts an imagined nautical voyage and features evocative imagery, sweeping melodies and the traditional classically-influenced harmonies that Shor has become associated with. Prokofiev’s famous violin sonata follows, a piece originally intended for flute before later being adapted for violin, the form in which it is now most well-known.

Displaying an almost wild character, the work exudes an energy and playful dynamism that marries perfectly with Prokofiev’s signature exploration of tension and release, both harmonically and melodically, and provides fertile ground for these prominent soloists to demonstrate their vast experience, musicality and virtuosity.

InClassica is organised by the European Foundation for Support of Culture (EUFSC) in collaboration with the MPO. The EUFSC is a Malta-based cultural foundation that works to support and promote cultural activities in Europe and around the world, its yearly activities including concerts, festivals, competitions and masterclasses with the InClassica festival the foundation’s flagship event and annual culmination of its work across the globe.

The partnership between the EUFSC and MPO represents the latest in a long and established history of cooperation between these two organisations, with past projects including MPO tours of the USA, Germany, Armenia, Russia and Israel, a full-scale original ballet production in 2018, various audio and video recordings, prominent performances at past editions of InClassica as well as numerous other concerts in Malta and Gozo.

Konstantin Ishkhanov, President of EUFSC
Konstantin Ishkhanov, President of EUFSC

“On behalf of myself and everyone at the EUFSC, I would like to convey our deep sense of gratitude to Martha Argerich for agreeing to perform in the opening concert of the InClassica Festival. To welcome an artist of her reputation, significance and sheer extraordinary talent is an honour for our organisation, and we look forward to welcoming her to the InClassica stage in just a few short months.” — Konstantin Ishkhanov, President of the EUFSC.

In a departure from the majority of the other InClassica performances, this first concert will take place at the Manoel Theatre in Valletta, with a performance by famous pianist, Grigory Sokolov, following on 9th May. The festival’s other 24 concerts will take place at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in a programme featuring world-renowned soloists and eight celebrated orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra.

Leading maestros Michael Francis, Gergely Madaras, Gianluca Marciano, Alexander Shelley, Sergey Smbatyan, Alexander Sladkovsky, Marius Stravinsky and Dmitry Yablonsky will conduct the orchestras throughout the festival, in a programme including symphonies, concertos, overtures, tone poems and other works.

Martha Argerich will perform with Maria Solozobova for the opening concert of the InClassica International Music Festival, ‘Dancing the Waves’, on April 17th at the Manoel Theatre, Valletta. For tickets and further information, visit www.inclassica.com

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