British conductor Wayne Marshall is Valletta 2018 artistic director

Celebrated organist, conductor will be artistic director for Malta's bid for 2018 Capital of Culture.

Marshall's international career and passion for culture and the arts make him ideal for Valletta's 2018 bid - foundation chairman David Felice.
Marshall's international career and passion for culture and the arts make him ideal for Valletta's 2018 bid - foundation chairman David Felice.

The Valletta 2018 Foundation has announced that internationally renowned conductor Wayne Marshall will be the artistic director for Valletta's bid for the title of European Capital of Culture, marking an important step in establishing of the team who will be leading Valletta towards 2018.

"My aim is to make sure that we win the bid in 2018," Marshall said during a press conference in Sliema today, which announced his new post. "We have the resources, the ability and the personnel to make it happen," Marshall, who has been living in Valletta for the past six years, said.

"I love Valletta because it reminds me of my childhood. And this is very important, because while the world out there is constantly changing, we need to make sure that we know what our roots are," Marshall said.

"Wayne Marshall's extraordinary achievements on a global level give Valletta's application for the title that cutting edge necessary for the delivery and implementation of a programme for this annual European event that can transform Valletta's and the country's cultural landscape from both a local and international perspective," Valletta 2018 Foundation chairman David Felice added.

"His international career and passion for culture and the arts, make him an ideal candidate for this important role which requires the setting and adherence to the highest artistic standards."

Marshall was born in the UK and, after musical studies there and in Vienna, swiftly established an international reputation as organist and pianist. He is now in great demand as a conductor and became Principal Guest Conductor of Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi in September 2007. He has been Organist-in Residence of Manchester's Bridgewater Hall since its opening in 1996.

His extensive guest conducting has included many orchestras, such as BBC Philharmonic and the London Philharmonic, and plans for the current season and beyond include returns to Vienna Radio Symphony, RAI Turin, Santa Cecilia, Liege Phil, Dresden Phil, Monte Carlo Phil, Orchestra del Teatro San Carlo, Naples as well as his regular concert and touring commitments with Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi.

For the past two years, Wayne Marshall has conducted the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra during the Malta Arts Festival.  His third appearance is planned to take place during the closing act of this year's Festival with a concert performance of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra.

The appointment follows a successful open call for interest which was advertised locally as well as internationally.

The criteria governing Marshall's appointment were the basis of his extensive international experience and demonstration of excellence in culture and the arts, international connections required to develop the profile of the event, and knowledge of the local cultural scene.

Felice also said Marshall's willingness to collaborate with the local cultural community and to assist in providing it with the new opportunities were key to his appointment.

Marshall's duties will include leading the design, planning, implementation of artistic projects and programme, many of which have been proposed by a large number of individuals and organisations over the past months, especially during the Imagine 18 event held recently.

Marshall will also ensure the development of the cultural programme and encourage artistic debate and allow for local capacity-building through cultural and artistic development, collaborating closely with a group of artistic programme directors - who are currently in the process of being appointed.

During the conference, Marshall also said that one of the immediate aims of the European Capital for Culture 2018 is to place Malta on the international map, in terms of its cultural output.

"I travel a lot to perform, and I get tired of people asking: where is Malta? One of the aims of this initiative is to make Malta visible... not just as a country, but as a cultural destination," Marshall said.

Valletta's final bid will be submitted to an international panel of evaluators later in October this year.

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Luke Camilleri
Thank God Valletta is being considered as2018 Capital of Culture, because if it was Paceville Mr. Wayne Marshall would be limited in entering "certain" clubs and establishments..... colourwise!