The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra was founded on 1st April 1968 and was originally known as the Manoel Theatre Orchestra. It comprised a number of musicians who previously formed part of a chamber orchestra in the employ of the Commander-in-Chief of the British Navy (Malta), better known as the C-in-C Orchestra that was disbanded one day earlier. It was the orchestra in residence at the homonymous theatre and regularly performed operas and symphonic concerts under the direction of its resident conductors Joseph Sammut (1968-1992) and Michael Laus (1992-1997). In September 1997 the orchestra became an independent body and was officially named as the National Orchestra of Malta. Ten years later, in December 2007, the Orchestra started the process to augment its musicians complement to Philharmonic levels launching itself as The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra on the 12th January, 2008.
The predominant influences of the various cultures in the Mediterranean Region has not only affected the Maltese way of living but left indelible marks on the development of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra. The demanding repertoires by Italian, English, German, French, Austrian and Russian composers among others, so much imbedded in local music tastes, has often seen the Orchestra performing as a large symphony orchestra thanks to the excellent co-operation that the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra enjoys with important Orchestras in Europe. The Orchestra's extensive calendar of events consists mainly of symphonic concerts at Teatru Manoel, the Mediterranean Conference Centre and other venues apart from opera productions in Malta and Gozo as well as abroad.