Today’s concert within the Malta International Organ Festival is one for organ and brass, being held in Valletta.
Featuring Daniel Zaretsky on the organ with the participation of the Malta Philharmonic (MPO) Brass Ensemble and conducted by Geoffrey Alvarez, the programme includes pieces by Johnson, Bach, Mozart, Dubois, Vierne and Alvarez.
Zaretsky graduated from the Leningrad Conservatoire as an organist and pianist in addition to completing a post-graduate degree at the Kazan State Conservatoire and studying at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland.
He is a prize winner at the All-Russian Open Competition of Organists and the International Competition of Organists in Germany. Having performed since 1986, Zaretsky has appeared in recital throughout the former USSR as well as Europe, the US, Israel, Australia and South America.
He has recorded seven CDs and is a jury member at several prestigious international competitions. He has been head of the Faculty of Organ and Harpsichord at the St Petersburg State Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatoire since 2011. The musician has been awarded the title of Honoured Artist of Russia.
Álvarez is a British/Nicaraguan composer, conductor and writer. His Gravesian Analysis applies Robert Graves’s technique of poetic criticism to music. His review of Joseph Vella Bondin’s The Great Maltese Composers: Historical Context, Lives and Works is to appear in the winter 2016 edition of the Musical Times.
In company with Simon Rattle, he is one of the few musicians to be accepted for the advanced conductors’ course at the Royal Academy of Music as an undergraduate, bypassing the preliminary course.
His organ works have been premiered by organists of the stature of David Briggs and Kevin Bowyer. With his orchestra, the Álvarez Chamber Orchestra, he has conducted many eminent musicians including clarinettist Michael Collins and pianist Zygmunt Krauze.
Álvarez was a prize winner in the 2006 Tansman Composers’ Competiton in Poland and subsequently became part of the adjudication panel for similar competitions in both England and Malta.
The MPO Brass Ensemble is made up of Marcos Garridos on horn, Isaac Lucas, Kevin Abela, Daniel Vella and Nathan Abela on trumpet, Roderick Bugeja, Dennis Camilleri, Aurelio Belli and Jesmond Azzopardi on trombone and Paul Borg on tuba.
■ The concert is being held at St Paul’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral in Valletta at 7.30pm. Tickets are available from www.ticketline. com.mt. The festival runs until December 9 with concerts taking place in various cathedrals, basilicas and churches across the Maltese islands. Full programme details can be obtained from www.MaltaInternationalOrganFestival.com. This space will cover the individual concerts on the day.