The St Paul Chamber Ensemble has given a series of concerts in Poland under the direction of its director, Maestro Mark Agius.
During its week-long tour the orchestra conducted an orchestral workshop for students with special needs, at the School for Students with Special Needs in Slupia. Here, the orchestra played selections from musicals and films, and explanations were given about the families of instruments making up an orchestra. During the presentation, all the students were given an opportunity to take part by playing instruments, joining the percussion section and even directing the orchestra.
The week-long tour saw the 44-piece orchestra, together with soprano Karen Gatt Darmenia, mezzo soprano Miriam Camilleri, Tenor Joseph Aquilina and baritone Louis Andrew Cassar, committed to intensive rehearsals and daily concerts.
In collaboration with the Rotondo Choir of Poznan, the tour included three orchestra recitals, two of which in the church of St Martin in Kepno and in the parish church of St Padre Pio of Petralcina in Poznan respectively, where the latest composition by Maestro Agius, the Messa de Requiem, was played. This vocal and orchestral work, originally performed at St John’s Co-Cathedral in March, was welcomed by appreciative audiences in both locations.
In his address at the official opening of this series of concerts in Kepno, Malta’s Ambassador to Poland Dr John Paul Grech expressed his appreciation for this initiative and for the collaboration between the respective entities towards its success. After being called up to receive commemorative tokens at the end of the evening, Dr Grech had words of praise for Maestro Agius for the emotional intensity and the composition and sensitive interpretation by the orchestra, choir and soloists, and augured that this would be just one of many such initiatives.
The third concert was one of sacred music at the Kalisz Centre for Art and Culture. The three performances of a very high calibre were concluded with an appreciative audience on its feet and sustained applause.
St Paul Chamber Ensemble was set up in 2015 under the direction of Mro Agius, and brings together some of the island’s top musicians and singers, establishing itself as one of Malta’s prominent orchestras. With a number of prestigious performances under its belt, the orchestra repertoire includes works by classical composers as well as by Maltese composers, ranging from sacred pieces to light excerpts from musicals and films.
This tour was organised on the initiative of the Maltese Embassy in Warsaw, in collaboration with the Slupia School for Students with Special Needs, the Apertus Association, the parish of San Pio di Petralcina in Poznan and the Medina Foundation for music of which the orchestra forms part, as part of celebrations on the 100th anniversary of Poland’s independence and the 100th Anniversary of the Grand Polish Revolution.
The orchestra’s participation in these celebrations was partly dictated by the fact that Valletta is the 2018 European Culture Capital. The initiative was supported by the Malta Arts Council, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion, the Malta Tourism Authority, the Malta Curia and the Valletta 2018 Foundation.