Under a Different Sky

9 NOVEMBER 2019 

Archaeology Museum, Valletta - 9:00pm



Russian contemporary jazz virtuosi Leonid and Nick Vintskevich (piano; saxes) and Britishndouble-bassist Steve Kershaw present a multi-national feast of infectious groves, fearless improvisation, folk-inflected melodies, and beautiful lyricism delivered with passion, wit and humour. Tonight, they will draw mainly on the music from their highly acclaimed CD ‘Under a Different Sky’, which was one of Jazzviews albums of the year, and also one of the top 13 albums in the Europe Jazz Media Chart.

Programme Notes

Nick and Leonid Vintskevich have a long-standing creative relationship with Steve Kershaw. Just after the turn of the millennium Steve’s critically acclaimed Stekpanna trio found themselves jamming with the Vintskeviches at a Jazz Festival in Finland, and the deep mutual admiration of that night grew into the ensemble performing at the Three Palaces Festival


“A very attractive CD […] striking, clear and forceful, very melodic […] 

A most pleasing release” (Cadence, USA)


After his debut tour to Russia in 2001, Steve was invited onto the BBC World Service’s Jazzmatazz programme to talk about Russian jazz and his experiences on the road, while Leonid and Nick first visited England as part of Oxford Contemporary Music’s ground- breaking Russian Music: Past, Present and Future series. Since then various incarnations of the group have headlined the Hermitage Jazz Festival in Moscow, played in London’s Purcell Room and Steinway Hall, appeared at Yasnaya Polyana at the personal invitation of Count Vladimir Tolstoy, and sold out the historic Rachmaninov Hall of the Moscow P. I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory.


“A global jazz, but one that is part of the Afro-American tradition … played with

passion … inspiration … versatility and virtuosity” (MusicZoom, Italy)


Their first collaborative album, NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND, issued on Flat Five Records in

2002 was lauded as ‘contemporary jazz of the highest order’ (Jazz Views). The second release, SONGS FROM THE BLACK EARTH (2008), was recorded in Oxford at the beautiful Jacqueline du Pré Music Building and at the Holywell Music Room, whose exquisite acoustics have hosted ground-breaking music since Handel performed there.


“Sheer sonic seductiveness” (The Vortex).


The trio’s recent album UNDER A DIFFERENT SKY was one of Jazzviews’ Albums of the Year in 2016. The recording also entered the Europe Jazz Media Chart as one of the 13 albums most listened to in European Jazz publications’ editorial rooms in March 2017.


“Shameless passion … astounding imaginings … exhilarating music” (Jazzviews)


Between them Leonid, Steve and Nick have played with some of the world’s finest exponents of the jazz idiom (Lionel Hampton, Slide Hampton, Elvin Jones, Evan Parker, Jamie Cullum, Bill Champlin, Eric Marienthal, etc.), and at some of the most prestigious venues and festivals: the North Sea Jazz Festival – Holland; the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival – USA; Havana Jazz Festival – Cuba; London Jazz Festival – England; Ronnie Scott’s Club – England; Hermitage Jazz Festival - Russia; Jazz a Vienne – France; and many others.


“An unorthodox trio that does some wonderful work on originals … Impressive mix offreedom and form” (Jazz Weekly, USA)


Kershaw/Vintskevich collaborations have also been featured as ‘Gig of the Week’ four times in the British newspaper The Guardian. Leonid Vintskevich was twice Solo Pianist of the Year in the Soviet Union; Steve Kershaw graduated from the Bass Institute of Technology in Los Angeles as Outstanding Student of the Year in 1996; Nick Vintskevich was the winner of the 2014 Jazzrock TV Miles Award in the ‘World Fusion’ category for his two CDs Russian Ornament and Never Was A Doubt.

Artist Bios

Marvic Monreal - Mezzo Soprano

Maltese mezzo-soprano Marvic Monreal was on the Young Artists Programme at the National Opera Studio in London. Marvic obtained her MA in Voice with distinction, following by the Opera Course from the Royal Academy of Music. Before starting her studies in London, she completed a degree in Tourism Studies at the University of Malta.


Marvic was a Georg Solti Accademia scholar in summer 2018. She spent the summer of 2017 in Salzburg participating in the Young Singers Project: she had her debut at the Salzburg Festival with the role of Pisana in I Due Foscari opposite Placido Domingo and tenor Joseph Calleja in the title roles. Recent performances include Joseph Calleja’s annual summer concert in Malta, where Marvic had the opportunity to share the stage with the tenor himself as well as Sir Bryn Terfel. She

was the soloist in Mahler’s 2nd Symphony, conducted by Semyon Bychkov at the Royal Festival Hall, and a soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Brian Schembri for Europe Day Concert. Marvic was a Jerwood Young Artist at Glyndebourne Festival Opera in 2016. 


For Royal Academy Opera, she has had the pleasure to perform Bradamante in Alcina,

Venus Orphée aux enfers, Mrs. Peachum in Die Dreigroschenoper, Minkswoman in Flight and Carmen in La tragédie de Carmen. She is most grateful to the BOV Joseph Calleja Foundation for their continuing support. Marvic is also a Fellow at Independent Opera.

Nicholas Mulroy - Tenor

Born in Liverpool, Nicholas was a chorister at the city’s Metropolitan Cathedral before studying Modern Languages at Cambridge and voice at the RAM. He has since been in constant demand both in the UK and further afield in a wide range of concert, recital and opera engagements. He has sung at many of the world’s great concert halls: the Sydney Opera House, Boston Symphony Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Royal Albert Hall, Berlin Philharmonie and the Salzburg Festival.


Nicholas has particularly enjoyed prolonged collaborations with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and EBS, Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort, Lars-Ulrik Mortensen and Concerto Copenhagen, John Butt and the Dunedin Consort, Andrzej Kosendiak, Stephen Layton and Jordi Savall. He has also sung to critical acclaim with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the St Paul Chamber Orchestra, the OAE, the Brussels, Copenhagen, BBC, Wroclaw and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestras, Melbourne Symphony, Auckland Philharmonia, and Britten Sinfonia. On the opera stage he has appeared at houses including Paris (Palais Garnier and Opéra Comique), Glyndebourne, Copenhagen’s Kongelige Teater, Opéra de Lille,

and the Grand Capitole in Toulouse.


A committed recitalist, he has appeared regularly at the Wigmore Hall singing a wide

range of repertoire including Purcell, both Bach Passions, Schubert, and the complete Britten Canticles. He has sung Janacek’s Diary of One who Vanished for Glyndebourne Festival Opera, for the Philharmonia at the RFH, and as part of the Aurora Janacek Festival, and given recitals at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, and festivals in Maribor, Ludlow, Bath and Orkney. He continues to collaborate with regular partners John Reid, Joseph Middleton, Alisdair Hogarth and lutenist Elizabeth Kenny.

Albert Buttigieg - Bass

Albert Buttigieg began his musical education at the Johann Strauss School of Music.

He also studied vocal technique at the school, as well as at the Opera Studio under Professoressa Dobreva and is presently is under the guidance of Ms Juliette Bisazza Zanni. He has recently obtained his LTCL in Voice performance.


Buttigieg is a regular soloist in recitals and concerts. His performance experience

ranges from baroque to contemporary, opera to song. Notwithstanding his varied experiences, sacred music strikes the chord closest to Albert’s heart with the most memorable being Bach’s St Matthew Passion, the Requiem masses of Haydn, Mozart, Verdi, Faure and Durufle as well as Handel’s Messiah. His Operatic roles include Timur in Turandot, Tobias Mill in Il Cambiale di Matrimonio, Ferrando in Il Trovatore, Monterone in Rigoletto and The Father in Hansel and Gretel.


He is an active member of the Valletta Baroque Ensemble (ViBE), with the most notable performance to date being the Monteverdi Vespers of 1610.

Leonid Vintskevich

Leonid Vintskevich graduated as a concert pianist from the Kazan Academy of Music in

Russia. Although he was honoured several times as ‘Solo Pianist of the Year’ in the old Soviet Union for his performance of Classical music, he became interested in exploring contemporary jazz, although his style during performance is also rooted in the folklore of his central Russian home.


His duo with Estonian saxophonist Lembit Saarsalu was the first from ex-USSR to play in the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in the USA, and nowadays, thanks to performances with the likes of Lionel Hampton himself (who was a great champion of Vintskevich’s art), Elvin Jones, and Kevin Mahogany, Leonid’s name, and, more importantly, his brilliant technique, explosive style, impudent outlook, and emotional depth, is well known to jazz audiences in many countries.


For over two decades he has organised the International Festival Jazz Province, and in 2019,

as an acknowledgement of his consummate musicianship and achievements for promoting

jazz at an international level, he was awarded Russia’s Order of Friendship (Орден Дружбы,

Orden Druzhby). This state decoration of the Russian Federation was established to reward

Russian and foreign nationals for special merit in strengthening peace, friendship, cooperation and understanding between nations, for fruitful work on the convergence and mutual enrichment of cultures of nations and peoples.


“A beautiful Russian open-ended avant-garde where Errol Garner does not conflict with Cecil Taylor.” (Down Beat)


“Leonid’s touch on the piano makes every note sing.” (Jazzwise)

Steve Kershaw

British Bassist Steve Kershaw attended the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, USA, from which he graduated as Outstanding Student of the Year in 1996. Since then he has played with an eclectic host of luminaries ranging from the mainstream talents of singers Jamie Cullum and Stacey Kent, through the contemporary excellence of Andy Sheppard, to the avant-garde extremes of Evan Parker, as well as writing Improvisación: Una Guía Completa para el Músico de Rock, Blues y Jazz, (Ricordi Americana, Buenos Aires, 2003) and A New Tune a Day: Bass Guitar (Boston Music Company, 2007).


Among Steve’s large catalogue of recordings Standin’ Tall and Ouch! with the Anglo-

Scandinavian trio Stekpanna have both reached the top ten of the UK jazz charts, while their All For a Beautiful Life album was selected in the critics’ top ten records of the year by Jazzviews Magazine. The eponymous Latin From the North shared the same accolade, as did his most recent trio release Under a Different Sky, with Leonid and Nick Vintskevich.


“Quite apart from being one of the country’s best bass players, with a style both hugely propulsive and sensitively melodic when required, Steve has also become a musical catalyst, bringing together players and styles from all over the world.” (Jazzviews)


“Kershaw, though is often the key element […] noticeable when he isn’t there, providing

solid pillars of sound that hold the whole thing up.” (Jazz Review)

Nick Vintskevich

Nick, the son of Leonid Vintskevich, has worked with world jazz legends such as Lionel Hampton and his Orchestra, and with the likes of Claudio Roditti, Kenny Barron, and Slide



Nick appears on many albums, and together with his father he founded the international

Vintskevich Quartet, whose albums (Singularity 2009; Russian Ornament with the Folk Choir Rostan 2013) have earned excellent reviews from critics and music lovers around the world. In 2011 Nick released his first soul, R ‘n’ B, blues and smooth jazz solo album Vive L’Amour, whose title song – authored and performed by Kim Nazarian – was particularly successful in the USA. Following on from his 2014 release Never Was A Doubt, Nick has recently teamed up once again with Bill Champlin and a dazzling array of supporting players for another helping of gorgeous smooth jazz, this time on vinyl, with California Spirit. Nick also works regularly with European musicians like bassist Steve Kershaw with whom he has released three highly acclaimed albums Notes From Underground, Songs From The Black Earth and Under a Different Sky.


In 2014, Nick was the runner-up in the Internet Jazz Competition Made in NYC, performing

at the finalists’ Gala Concert with Randy Brecker. In Germany, Nick was awarded

JazzRockTV’s Miles Award for combining Folk, Jazz, Soul and Pop into a cross-cultural Fusion.


“Virtuosity, heart, and grace.” (All Music Guide)


“Lyricism of extraordinary beauty, diversity and unhurried subtlety.” (‘Audio Video’ Magazine, Russia)



Leonid Vintskevich


Alto and Soprano Saxophones

Nick Vintskevich

Double Bass

Steve Kershaw

© Festivals Malta - 2019