Konstantin Ishkhanov is a businessman and philanthropist, as well as being the Founder and President of the European Foundation for Support of Culture (EUFSC) and the Chieti Classica International Music Festival.
Early years and career
Konstantin Ishkhanov was born in Baku, USSR, on January 23rd 1970. His parents were Armenian and very fond of music and the arts, surrounding themselves with artists and musicians. His mother, a doctor, would often perform classical music.
In the late 1980s, Ishkhanov entered the Azerbaijan Institute of Oil and Chemistry, named after M. Azizbekov (currently known as the Azerbaijan State Oil and Industry University). However, shortly after enrolling he was conscripted into the Soviet military.
The eventual dissolution of the USSR and rapidly intensifying anti-Armenian sentiment in Baku — later escalating into the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict — eventually forced Ishkhanov to relocate permanently to Moscow. There he continued his education at the National University of Oil and Gas “Gubkin University”, graduating successfully in 1993.
Upon receiving his diploma, Ishkhanov focused on research work dedicated to low-waste and resource-saving oil production. He eventually accepted the position of Deputy General Director in RANKO, a Russian-American oil and gas company. In 2005, Ishkhanov founded the Industrial Technologies of Electrical Engineering company group. He later decided to quit the oil and gas industry to focus on the creation and implementation of cultural projects.
Konstantin Ishkhanov currently resides in Malta with his wife and children, and is actively involved in the strengthening of international cultural relations and the development of education. He supports talented local and European musicians and works to strengthen ties between Armenia and Malta. He is committed to developing the cultural landscape of Armenia and popularising the country’s culture beyond its borders.
European Foundation for Support of Culture
In 2015, Ishkhanov founded the European Foundation for Support of Culture (EUFSC) — a non-commercial organisation which he currently leads as its president. The foundation aims to develop and implement cultural and educational projects in Europe, Asia, and America. In particular, it organises events celebrating Armenian culture, including festivals of classic music and concert tours featuring Armenian musicians. The foundation also actively promotes Maltese musicians, composers, orchestras, and ensembles, frequently collaborating with the embassies of Russia, Belgium, Italy, Austria, and other European countries. Every year it holds exhibitions, workshops, and other events in order to support young talented musicians and gifted children.
As the head of EUFSC, Ishkhanov created the ‘Days of Armenian Culture in Malta’ project. He first formulated the idea during the 5th Malta International Music Festival while attending a concert performance involving famous Armenian musicians, recognising the attendees’ interest in Armenian culture.
Konstantin Ishkhanov pays special attention to the development of cultural relations between Armenia and Malta. Initially, he introduced Maltese artists to Armenian art directly by inviting Maltese musicians, conductors, and orchestra leaders to Armenia, revealing local sights and landmarks and recounting stories from the country’s history. These actions strengthened Maltese interest in the Republic, and in 2017 the governments of Armenia and Malta signed an agreement detailing a formation of artistic collaboration between the two countries. Discussing the agreement, Ishkhanov asserts:
“Culture comes before politics and the economy. If cultural ties between the two countries are well established, all the other relations will be formed properly”.
In the same year, Ishkhanov’s foundation sponsored the 40th Jubilee of the Gramophone Classical Music Awards in London. In November 2017, the EUFSC also organised a celebratory event dedicated to the 50th Jubilee of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and Malta. It was attended by Russian conductor Felix Korobov and Maltese violinist Carmine Lauri amongst others. They performed both Maltese and Russian compositions.
The year 2018 marked another Jubilee, celebrating 25 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Malta. In April of the same year, the ‘Days of Armenian Culture’ event, sponsored by the EUFSC, was held in Malta. Its programme focused primarily on classical music concerts, with attendees also given the opportunity to visit exhibitions dedicated to Armenia and the great Armenian composers, Aram Khachaturian and Komitas.
A year later, in 2019, Malta hosted the first ice show in the Republic’s history. Jester’s Wedding was staged by Russian figure skater, Ilya Averbukh, with the support of his production company and the EUFSC.
Since founding the European Foundation for Support of Culture, Konstantin Ishkhanov has initiated a number of projects aimed at sponsoring various cultural and musical institutions, including:
- the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra;
- the State Symphony Orchestra of Armenia;
- the Symphony Orchestra “Kiev Virtuosos”;
- Orchestra Filarmonica Nissena Siciliana;
- the St. Petersburg State Academic Capella;
- the Symphony Orchestra of the Karelia State etc.
In November 2019, two major landmark events were held in Armenia under the patronage of the EUFSC: the ‘Modern Classics’ International Music Festival and the Crystal Palace ballet.
Konstantin Ishkhanov has been the recipient of several honorary awards.
In 2019, the philanthropist became the only foreign citizen to receive the highest national award in the category of ‘Exceptional Contribution to the Cultural Life of Malta’.
In December of the same year, he was awarded a medal for his contribution to the development of musical culture. The Armenian entrepreneur received his award from Valery Vorona, the rector of the State Music and Pedagogical Institute named after Ippolitov-Ivanov.