The first concert of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra’s Russian Masters Series focuses on two of the most prominent Russian composers, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Dmitri Shostakovich.

Highly-acclaimed Russian pianist Pavel Kolesnikov joins the orchestra to perform Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto, under the direction of French conductor Jean-Marc Burfin. Composed between November 1874 and February 1875 and subsequently revised in 1879 and 1888, it is not only one of Tchaikovsky’s most popular compositions, but also one of the best-known piano concertos.

A performance of Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony follows. The symphony was written at the height of Stalin’s oppressive reign in 1937, at a time when the composer himself was facing increasing pressures from the regime.

Nevertheless, Shostakovich succeeded in writing a composition which superficially pleased the authorities, whilst simultaneously providing the audience with an outlet for the suffering they were enduring.