Joseph Calleja launched European Central Bank’s European Cultural Days

Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja performs in Frankfurt with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra to launch the European Cultural Days 2015 event

Joseph Calleja and conductor Brian Schembri after yesterday’s concert in Frankfurt
Joseph Calleja and conductor Brian Schembri after yesterday’s concert in Frankfurt

The European Cultural Days 2015 programme, which will be performed over a number of weeks, was launched on 3 November in an opening concert also featuring the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra.

Malta’s cultural scene was propelled into the international spotlight last night as it launched its programme for this year’s European Cultural Days initiative, jointly organised by the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Central Bank of Malta in Frankfurt.

The audience was entertained at the opening concert, which starred Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja and the Malta Philarmonic Orchestra, under the direction of conductor Brian Schembri, at the famous Alte Oper Theatre in the heart of the city. It marked the start of a programme of prestigious events that will run between now and February 2016.

Hosted annually by the ECB, the European Cultural Days initiative highlights the rich and varied array of cultures by focusing on a different EU country’s cultural scene every year. Malta was chosen for 2015, and follows on from Bulgaria in 2014, Latvia in 2013 and France in 2012. 

The ECB has worked in conjunction with the relevant country’s national central bank.

“The coming months will be an exciting time for us as we promote Malta as a centre for the arts in the Mediterranean,” says Prof. Josef Bonnici, the Governor of the Central Bank of Malta.

“In line with the motto of this year’s European Cultural Days – Vibrant Malta – we are looking forward to presenting a very vibrant calendar of events in Frankfurt over the next few weeks and months. It is a programme that also reflects the cultural impetus provided by Valletta’s selection as the European Capital of Culture for 2018.”

The calendar will include a variety of events showcasing Maltese talent to a European audience. There will be a number of musical performances, including ones by sopranos Lydia Caruana, Claire Ghigo and Gillian Zammit, violinist Carmine Lauri, sound artist and performer Renzo Spiteri, concerts by the Cosmos Wind Ensemble, the Big Band Brothers and the Dominic Galea Jazztet, and a party hosted by top DJ Miss Roberta.

Beyond this, the programme also includes highlights from other artistic media, including national contemporary dance company ŻfinMalta, exhibitions from photographer Daniel Cilia and stone sculptor Joe Xuereb, a play directed by Albert Marshall, and talks by historians Professor Anthony Bonanno, Professor Keith Sciberras and Professor Denis de Lucca. 

Now that the programme has been launched in earnest, Professor Bonnici said that he hopes each of the artistic elements featured will enable the citizens of Frankfurt and their myriad international visitors to learn more about what our islands have to offer, and perhaps even visit us in the near future.

“We may be the smallest country in the Union but we should be proud of the endless cultural treasures that we have to showcase, and we should do everything we can to promote these treasures to a global audience. This is exactly what will be achieved by this year’s European Cultural Days,” concludes Professor Bonnici.