Sergey Smbatyan: ‘I truly believe in what I do and managed to unite quite a large number of people around one vision’

Principal Conductor of Malta Philharmonic Orchestra Sergey Smbatyan tells all in our Q&A

Music’s power to unite, heal and inspire has driven and sustained the founder of the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra and Principal Conductor of Malta Philharmonic Orchestra – Sergey Smbatyan since early childhood. His mature artistic vision combines lessons learned from the finest traditions of music-making and a profound personal commitment to transforming lives through the shared experience of performing and listening.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

I think about what I should conduct today.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Live without compromises.

What do you never leave the house without?

My mobile and my scores.

Pick three words that describe yourself

Loud, resistant and direct.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

I truly believe in what I do and I managed to unite quite a large number of people around one vision.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Too much coffee.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

To be patient.

Property and cars aside what’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?

My violins.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

I’m still learning.

Who’s your inspiration?

My son – Alexander.

What has been your biggest challenge?

I would say conducting.

If you weren’t a conductor, what would you be doing?

I would be a film director.

Do you believe in God?

Yes, I do.

If you could have dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would it be?

Leonardo da Vinci.

What’s your worst habit?

Definitely being late.

What are you like when you’re drunk?

Fully enjoy the moment and be present.

Who would you have play you in a film?

Young Al Pacino.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

An undisciplined attitude - this often hinders the individual's personal and professional development. 

What music would you have played at your funeral?

Gustav Mahler – Symphony No 9.

What is your most treasured material possession?

My musical library.

What is your earliest memory?

My violin concert with my grandmother.

When did you last cry, and why?

During my grandmother’s funeral.

Who would you most like to meet?

Al Pacino, in order to discuss the details of playing my role.

What’s your favourite food?


Who’s your favourite person on social media right now?

I almost don’t use social media.

If you could travel in time, where would you go?

I’d love to go to the beginning of the 20th century.

What book are you reading right now?

The Karamazov Brothers, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

To be physically present in different places simultaneously.

What’s one thing you want to do before you die?

To have a good rest and fly to space.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

Johannes Brahms - Violin Concerto D Major.

In the shower or when you’re working out, what do you sing/listen to?

During the mentioned activities I prefer silence.