Gunning for ‘arts tourism’ through classical music | Peter Manning

Teodor Reljic speaks to the internationally acclaimed violinist, concertmaster and conductor Peter Manning, who will now be taking the reins of the Three Palaces Festival – a classical music event taking place in various historically significant buildings across the island, from November 4 to 13

Peter Manning
Peter Manning

How did you feel upon being given the chance to serve as Artistic Director for the Three Palaces Festival? What were your initial thoughts about the potential it had?

I was naturally excited and honoured that I was asked to contribute and make Malta a leading music and performance art destination for Europe and importantly to work with a terrific team throughout all the seasons of the year. I bring my experience of programming geographically from the Edinburgh festival right over to the planning of events in China and I have thought most deeply about getting the message out to a huge number of people. We are ready to engage at the highest level and it is this which I find particularly thrilling. I am also so pleased that the President supports this festival.

Do you think that Malta is particularly suited to bring the best out of events like Three Palaces Festival? 

Of course… the palaces and the varied spaces that we will now use are of exquisite beauty and are significant historic and new spaces for all on Malta. Indeed, all our arts tourist visitor numbers, which are growing year on year expect the world’s stars and I plan to openly invite the best of arts providers, audiences and finest transport links to Malta to mix with this.  

We have a world audience because of the ‘net’ and Malta is the perfect destination. I have spent my life performing, conducting and devising exciting new collaborations between old and new audiences in new and old spaces and I want to show the world that Malta is the newest go-to destination... it’s such a refreshingly vital country… it has so much to offer.

What was your thought process like when choosing the musicians forming part of this year’s edition of the Festival? Was there a particular blend you were going for?

I simply wanted the chemistry to be right between the performers, the spaces and the audience and of course. I asked major artists – both younger and more established – who know the importance of not only performing like stars but also the importance of giving something back while showing us all the thrill of their art for the widest 21st century spectrum.

Audiences and new performers will love Malta… it’s such a varied country… and I also need my artists to help and promote arts and creativity for the new generation on Malta.

What kind of audience do you hope that the festival will attract, and are you confident that it will consist of people from more than just the usual cluster of social ‘bubbles’ who tend to patronise cultural events in Malta?

We are working with a varied group of agencies and individuals and creatives and I hope to build through careful but exciting programming, new media and PR, new generation audiences alongside the bigger ‘buzz’ and more established audiences out there, which also now uses the social media and which wants to find vital venues and top class events to more widely add to their list of choices.

Finally: what can audiences expect from the festival as a whole? 

The festival will increase the contact between artist and audience, it has to engage both with relevant content and the spark of live ‘eventing’. We will in time become known for our innovation, fun, playfulness and significantly our deep love for the musical arts alongside putting Malta at the centre of arts tourism with a particular emphasis on vital live performance and access for the younger generation.

For more information and a full programme, log on to The Three Palaces Festival is organised by Arts Council Malta