Three Palaces Festival

1 - 10 NOVEMBER 2019

Under the artistic direction of DR MICHELLE CASTELLETTI

Dr Michelle Castelletti has just been appointed Artistic Director of The Three Palaces Festival from her post as Artistic Director of the Malta International Arts Festival, where she was appointed by Arts Council Malta with a remit to lead the festival towards European Capital of Culture.  Previously Artistic Director of the Royal Northern College of Music, Michelle is a conductor, composer and curator with a passion for cross-Art and site-specific curation. She is also a Soprano and loves lyrical dramatic roles.

Michelle is resident conductor of Queen Mary University of London Chamber Choir.  Some of her latest conducting performances include Carmina Burana with QMUL and Barts & London Music Societies, commemorating the prestigious 1950th cathedral anniversary celebrations with Charles Camilleri’s oratorio at Mdina Cathedral, and interdisciplinary evenings with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, MPO a cappella choir and newly choreographed dance by Francesca Tranter.  Other past “personal favourites” include conducting at Birmingham Symphony Hall, Richard Strauss and Mahler in Canterbury Cathedral, Respighi at the Manoel Theatre in Valletta, conducting soloist Carmine Lauri [co-leader of the London Symphony Orchestra] at the Valletta International Baroque Festival, the privilege of conducting the Canterbury Cathedral choristers, conducting Arvo Pärt’s music for Arvo Pärt himself, Stravinsky’s Firebird, and even a production of Sweeney Todd.  One of her latest Britten arrangements conducted by Sir Andrew Davis was performed in the memorial concert for Michael Kennedy.  This concert received a five star review on The Telegraph and is now out on CD.

Before moving to Manchester, Michelle held a lecturing position covering subjects such as Harmony, Analysis, Aural Awareness, Conducting and Orchestration and was one of the principal conductors and directors of the major ensembles at university.  She also founded the Canterbury Chamber Orchestra.   Responsible for outward-facing musical activity, Michelle feels privileged to have lead on Jubilee Celebrations in Canterbury Cathedral, graduation ceremonies, conferments of honorary awards [including former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, H.E.  Justice of the Supreme Court, The Rt Hon the Lord Mance, broadcaster Moira Stuart OBE, and author and illustrator of children's books, Anthony Browne].

Michelle has chaired panels and examined students at Conservatoire level for Concerto Competitions, International Artist Diplomas Final Recitals, and the Masters Conductors’ final exams with Manchester Camerata.  She also sat on the audition panels for the RNCM for entrance to the College, as well as for the prestigious Gold Medal Competition. 

Michelle has created and developed significant national and international partnerships and has also been on several jury panels, including the British Composer Awards, European Capital of Culture (Valletta2018) and Venice Biennale.  She has been invited as speaker or delegate for several national and international conferences, debates and symposia, as well as TV and Radio stations. She was one of the organisers and workshop leaders for the BBC/BASCA one-day pan-industry conference on diversity and inclusion in the Arts; and, in February 2019, she will be one of 15 international contemporary music professionals invited by Music Finland to Arctic Paradise Contemporary in Helsinki.

Michelle’s performances, projects, curations and festivals have received 5* reviews and awards, one of the most prestigious being winner of the Times Higher Education Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts 2015. Michelle has been privileged to work with some exceptional artists in her life. She has also curated Study Days at Wigmore Hall and taken performances to the Southbank Centre. Other projects she was involved in include BBC R3 Young Artists Day, BBC R3 live In Tune and Music Matters programmes and BBC Proms Portraits.  She recently welcomed Krzysztof Penderecki as resident composer/conductor, culminating in the UK premiere of his monumentalSeven Gates of Jerusalem, which received a five star review on The Guardian. Michelle feels privileged to have nominated and presented Penderecki with an honorary degree.  In July 2016, Arvo Pärt was her featured and guest composer for the Malta International Arts Festival, while MIAF2017 saw a residency with London Sinfonietta.  

Michelle is on the Board of Directors of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, Trustee of the ISM Trust and of ORA Singers, Governor on the Board of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.  She is published by Universal Edition Vienna, has been broadcast on several channels (including the digital World Concert Hall), and is recorded by BIS RECORDS and ARS PRODUKTION.

Michelle is thrilled to have just finished reading for a part-time Masters of Studies in Literature and Arts at Oxford University, based on interdisciplinarity between the Arts. She has recently moved to Oxford to take up her new post as Director of Oxford Festival of the Arts.