The International Spring Orchestra Festival returns
The 15th edition of the International Spring Orchestra Festival (ISOF) will take place next month.
Inspired by German music described as “ degenerate ” and banned by the Nazi authorities between 1933 and 1945, the ISOF will host seven concerts over five days in various locations, mainly in Valletta. International guest artists – including familiar faces from the local classical music scene – come from all over Europe to join their Maltese counterparts to make music of the highest caliber.
“Despite the delay imposed by the pandemic, the International Spring Orchestra Festival remains a highlight of Malta’s cultural calendar,” says artistic director Karl Fiorini. “Year after year it attracts fresh blood in the form of new music to Malta, considered for decades as ‘modern repertoire’.”
The opening of the festival on June 15 is The Brikkuni team with Karl Fiorini at the Metanoia Theater in Luqa. The concert features the popular Maltese rock and folk band Brikkuni with string arrangements by the artistic director of ISOF.
On the second day of the festival, the Somogyi String Quartet will perform at the Malta Society of Arts (MSA) at 8:00 p.m. The Hungarian and regular ensemble of ISOF will perform the premiere of Albert Pace and Sebastian Themessl’s string quartets, as well as Leo Weiner’s String Quartet No.3 in G major, Op. 26.
On June 17 at 12:30 p.m., the MSA will host a concert by Annabelle Berthomé-Reynolds and Luka Okros. The French violinist and Georgian pianist will perform works by Grażyna Bacewicz and Paul Hindemith, with the effervescence of Stravinsky Italian Suite to end the recital in style. London-based Ukrainian pianist Dinara Klinton, professor at the Royal College of Music, will later give a recital with music from the infamous ex-USSR terrible children, Prokofiev and Stravinsky.
The following day, Polish duo Emilia Wiśniewska and Julia Miller will perform works by Milhaud, Lutoslawski, Prokofiev, Stravinsky and Mendelssohn at 12:30 p.m., while in the evening, concert cellist Sébastien Hurtaud and pianist Pamela Hurtado take the stage. The French duo, whose recording of Hindemith’s cello works has been released by Naxos, will give audiences a taste of memorable works by Mendelssohn, Bartok, Hindemith and Milhaud.
On June 19, the curtain will rise on this year’s festival with the one-act opera by Victor Ullmann, Emperor of Atlantis, which is based on a libretto by Peter Kien. Ullmann and Kien collaborated on the play during their internment at the Nazi concentration camp at Theresienstadt in 1943. In collaboration with the Cultural Agency of Valletta, Emperor of Atlantis will be semi-presented at St Paul’s Pro-Cathedral in Valletta. The spectators of the show will delight the famous Maltese singers Clare Ghigo, Louis Andrew Cassar, Ken Scicluna and Charles Vincenti, who will be joined by the Ensemble Télémaque de Marseille and its musical director Raoul Lay.
The current COVID-19 health crisis has forced the cancellation of many artistic and cultural plans and performances in 2020-2021. However, rather than being canceled, this year’s ISOF has been postponed to June. Nevertheless, strict precautions are always taken to ensure safe and enjoyable performances for all participating artists and audiences.
“Despite the restrictions related to Covid-19, and with less than a quarter of the theater space open to members of the public, I am delighted that live music and performances are starting to take place in Malta again,” says Mr. Fiorini. “Streaming and broadcasting performance online cannot be compared to listening to music live in person. Theater performances and concerts are two of the few cultural experiences that can be had right now, so why not make the most of them by attending one of our ISOF performances? “
For updates on the 15th ISO Festival and to book tickets, you can visit www.teatrumanoel.org.mt, call 2124 6389 or email [email protected] Tickets must be reserved in advance and cannot be purchased at the door.
The ISO Festival is supported by Arts Council Malta. All information is correct at time of going to press.
This content has been supplied by The International Spring Orchestra Festival