Classical music is set to take centre stage once again as the Violin and Friends International Music Festival (VFIMF) kicks off this month with a series of performances, an educational programme and competitions for students.

The programme is the brainchild of VFIMF director Volodymyr Baran, who has held a number of positions as a leader of international symphony and chamber orchestras, besides having performed in Europe, Asia and the US.

“Music is a unique language that everyone can understand and Malta is a perfect place for cultural exchanges and educational programmes,” Baran said.

Once again, this year the festival will bring together various professional artists and teachers who boast an international reputation in the sphere. There will also be the participation of some of the world’s most talented students, who will carry out two weeks of intensive performance and study in Malta.

“Every year we invite some of the top professionals and students to take part in the festival. VFIMF recognises the importance of a worldwide effort by international educators to increase awareness about different cultures and societies outside of each student’s national boundaries,” Baran explained.

Throughout past years, the festival has attracted participants from some 25 countries. The festival also seeks to showcase Malta’s spectacular venues, with past performances, master-classes and courses held in some of Malta’s most prestigious locations, including the Manoel Theatre, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the University of Malta, the Mediterranean Institute, St Aloysius’ College, St Paul’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral and St Augustine parish church among others.

Applications for violin, piano, cello, double bass, guitar, clarinet, saxophone, tuba, chamber music ensemble, improvisation and composition master classes, which will be held between March 23 and April 2, are being accepted.

This year will also once again see the Malta International Music Competition taking place between April 2 and 6. The aim of the competition is to assist emerging pianists, violinists and chamber music ensembles in their artistic development, encouraging them to pursue a musical career while providing a forum for their music. The jury will be composed of established music professors and artists of different nationalities. The competition includes a special prize for the most promising Maltese pianist, violinist or chamber music ensemble.

The finals of the Malta International Music Competition, the gala concert and the prize-giving ceremony will take place at Palazzo de La Salle, 219 Republic Street, Valletta, on April 6. A full programme of events is available on

The Violin and Friends International Music Festival will take place between March 23 and April 6.

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