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A Musical Observatory: These 14 Classical Stars Are Gracing the InClassica Stage This Spring

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Malta is just months away from hosting one of the most well-respected and renowned classical music festivals in the world.

InClassica is almost here, and so are the eight orchestras and 34 soloists who will be featuring across the almost-month long festival held at the Mediterranean Conference Centre.

If you’re a classical music connoisseur, then you’ll be very familiar with the orchestras gracing the stage between 17th April and 11th May.

But you’ll be even more excited to find out which soloists will be bringing their talent to our shores, and it includes some of the very best out there.

1. Martha Argerich

Martha Argerich needs no introduction, but her accolades and accomplishments deserve to be listed whenever she is brought into conversation.

Argerich is widely considered one of the greatest pianists of all time, making her debut at just eight years old.

The Argentine-Swiss has performed to audiences worldwide, is the recipient of three Grammy Awards, and was honoured by none other than Barack Obama at the 2016 Kennedy Center Honors list.

She’ll be performing in InClassica’s grand opening concert with violinist Maria Solozobova at the Manoel Theatre on April 17th, and alongside the Jerusalem Symphonic Orchestra directed by Russian maestro Dmitry Yablonsky on April 18th.

2. Danielle de Niese

If you’re looking for opera’s “coolest soprano” (NY Times Magazine), then you’ve found her.

Danielle de Niese has gained widespread recognition for her spectacular stagecraft, confident singing and prolific work, including an Emmy Award and a 2009 Classical Brit Award nomination for Female Artist of the Year.

The Australian-American opera singer has graced some of the most prestigious stages across the world including a performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London as part of the world-famous BBC Proms singing opposite Jonas Kaufmann.

She’s travelled to all four corners of the earth to share her talent. Soon enough she’ll be able to remove Malta from her travel bucket list.

3. Yeol Eum Son

Hailing from South Korea, and now based in Germany, Yeol Eum Son is a classical pianist with a graceful but fierce presence on stage personified by her thrilling and breathtaking performances.

What stands out the most about Son’s musical history is the ensemble of acts that she’s performed with, including the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern among many more under the batons of some of the best composers and conductors around.

Her many achievements include a Silver Medal at the 2011 International Tchaikovsky Competition, Second Prize in the 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2011, as well as her BBC Proms debut at the Royal Albert Hall with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in 2019.

4. Carmine Lauri

For concertmaster Carmine Lauri, InClassica is also a return home.

The renowned Maltese violinist has won prestigious awards but his most notable achievement is co-leading the London Symphony Orchestra, something he has done since 2001.

In doing so, Lauri has been at the forefront of the soundtracks of some of the most iconic blockbuster films of our time, including Star Wars, Harry Potter and The King’s Speech.

When he’s not busy leading the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Lauri is either taking the reins at the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra or performing abroad, making guest features with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra too.

5. Daniel Lozakovich

One of the young and rising stars in the classical world, Daniel Lozakovich is bound to turn some heads at this year’s InClassica festival.

The 19-year-old violin prodigy has stunned critics with his exceptional and technical playing, earning him spots with some of the world’s eminent conductors including Ádám Fischer, Semyon Bychkov, Neeme Järvi and Esa Pekka Salonen to name a few.

Lozakovich has accomplished a lot for his young age and holds the accolade of being the youngest artist ever to sign with Deutsche Grammophon, one of the world’s premier classical music labels.

6. Rudolf Buchbinder

With a career spanning over 60 years, Rudolf Buchbinder only gets better and better.

But more than just a master, Buchbinder is considered to be a creative genius and is renowned for his spontaneity with the instrument, taking traditional pieces and giving them his own flare and touch. He is notable as the only soloist to receive the coveted Golden Badge of Honor by the Staatskapelle Dresden.

Buchbinder is considered an authority on Beethoven’s works for piano, and in March 2020 released ‘The Diabelli Project’ on the Deutsche Grammophon label in celebration of the celebrated composer’s 250th birthday. Rather than reading what he can do, it’s time to witness it yourself at InClassica.

7. Daniel Hope

Born in South Africa but of Irish-German descent, Daniel Hope is a violinist with a wealth of experience including 30 years touring the world performing his eloquent music.

He’s the winner of the 2015 European Cultural Prize for Music, joining an exclusive club of renowned musicians including Daniel Barenboim, as well as the Prix Caecilia, the ECHO-Klassik Award and numerous Grammy nominations.

Hope started his professional career as the violinist of the beaux Arts Trio but moved on to become the Artistic Director of the Frauenkirche Cathedral in Dresden in 2019.

He’s also considered one of the most prolific classical recording artists, with over 25 albums to his name.

8. Gautier Capuçon

Gautier Capuçon stands out from the crowd being the only soloist cellist to perform at InClassica.

A multiple award winner, including a few Echo Classics, Capuçon performs an extensive array of work and often collaborates with high profile musicians, such as Lisa Batiashvili, and orchestras to release expressive and exuberant material.

Most notably, Capuçon was once an exclusive recording artist for Virgin Classics and in 2015 recorded for Erato, a division of Warner Music Group.

A pioneer in his field, Capuçon is committed to exploring and expanding the cello repertoire, earning him recitals and studio work with a network of respected names.

9. Stella Chen

“Her performance sounded fresh and spontaneous, yet emotionally profound and intellectually well-structured,” the Jerusalem Post said about the American violinist.

Winner of the International Queen Elisabeth Grand Prize, Chen is known as a mature but spontaneous musician whose unique performances have earned her audiences at the Kennedy Centre and the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago.

She’s toured Cuba, Colombia, Jordan, Bhutan and is about to add Malta to that list.

10. Andreas Ottensamer

Andreas Ottensamer is an Austrian clarinettist who has performed as a soloist across major concert halls around the world and alongside the likes of the Berlin Philharmoniker, Vienna Philharmonic and many more.

In 2005, Ottensamer founded the clarinet trio known as The Clarinotts along with his father and brother. In 2013, he became the first-ever solo clarinettist to sign an exclusive agreement with prestigious classical music label Deutsche Grammophon.

Since 2011 he has held the chair of principal clarinettist with the Berliner Philharmoniker, and serves as Artistic Director for the Bürgenstock Festival in Switzerland and the Artström Festival in Berlin. Ottensamer received an ECHO Klassik Award for “Instrumentalist of the year” in 2015. He will be performing at this year’s InClassica for the second time in the festival’s history.

11. Grigory Sokolov

This year’s InClassica sees the legendary pianist return to the festival for the third time. 

Grigory Sokolov is a technician behind the piano and takes pride in the mechanisms and physics that make the instrument what it is.

His technical prowess translates into poetry when his fingers touch the keys and the renowned pianist is known for drawing audiences in and developing an intimate relationship between them and the music.

His uniqueness and sheer musical brilliance are a force to be reckoned with — don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear the piano genius at work this year at InClassica

12. Maxim Vengerov

Maxim Vengerov has been dubbed “one of the greatest violinists in the world” (Classic FM) and is also the first classical musician to be appointed as an International Goodwill Ambassador by UNICEF.

Beginning his solo career at the age of five, he went on to win the Wieniawski Competition at the age of 10 before later winning the Carl Flesch Competition at the age of 15. He has since won a Grammy Award, two Gramophone Awards, a Classical Brit Award, five Edison Classical Music Awards, two ECHO Awards, a World Economic Forum Crystal Award and the Order of Cultural Merit from the Palace Monte Carlo in 2019.

He’ll be right at home at MCC, a certified UNICEF Heritage site, and his prodigious musical abilities are not to be missed. This year’s InClassica is a welcome return for Maxim Vengerov, the festival in 2021 would be his second appearance in the event’s history.

13. Carmen Giannnattasio

A soprano with a chameleon voice able to adapt to any situation and make your hairs stand on end.

Carmen Giannattasio has left her mark on stages across the world with a resume that most operatic singers might only dream of.

From the Royal Opera House to the Wiener Staatsoper, Giannattasio has also performed the works of composers like Monteverdi, Mozart, Gluck, Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Puccini, and Mascagni.

14. Denis Matsuev

Last but not least is Denis Matsuev, a virtuoso of the piano who has established himself as one of his generation’s most prominent soloists.

Matsuev rose to prominence in 1998 when he won the 11th International Tchaikovsky Competition in Russia. Ever since, he’s performed with some of the best orchestras on the block including the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra and Pittsburgh Symphony.

He’s also a frequent guest of world-famous music festivals such as Verbier Festival and Lucerne Music Festival in Switzerland and the BBC Proms and Edinburgh International Festival in Great Britain.

It’s clear to see that InClassica attracts the cream of the crop, both in musical talent and in guests too.

These astounding aforementioned soloists will be joined by eight eclectic and respected orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (UK), Liège Royal Philharmonic (Belgium), State Philharmonic Orchestra Of Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany), Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra (Israel), and Russian National Orchestra that will perform for the very first time in Malta together with the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra, and, of course, the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) and Malta Youth Orchestra.

The festival is organised by the European Foundation for Support of Culture (EUFSC) in collaboration with the MPO.

“It’s the place to be if you’re a music lover, especially after the year the world has been through. InClassica is a momentous celebration of incredible music and our shared cultural heritage and is not to be missed.” — Konstantin Ishkhanov, President of the EUFSC.

In addition to the 25 days of evening performances, InClassica will also include free daytime concerts.

Purchase your tickets now to enjoy one of the most exciting events to land in Malta in 2021.

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When JP's not too busy working on polyrhythmic beats, you'll probably find him out and about walking his dog.

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