Musician and Composer

Giuseppe, born in Floriana, was the son of Carlo Abdilla and Marianna née Borg. He was a student of Giuseppe E. Bonavia* and Paolino Vassallo*.

Giuseppe was a relative of the musical dynasty of Bugeja. In fact, Riccardo Bugeja married Elena Abdilla, Giuseppe’s sister.

Their marriage entailed the possibility of progeny, because such a happy event would have important implications for the future of the family Cappella.  When Riccardo was 66 years old, it was necessary for him to take further steps to ensure the preservation of the Cappella. Fortunately he found a musician he could trust – his brother-in-law Giuseppe, an able and talented musician who was willing to share the workload involved.

When Riccardo composed his Motu proprio Mass, Abdilla was 21 years old and, through his sister he had become a valued member of the dynasty Bugeja. Abdilla’s merit increased when Riccardo’s health started to fail. He died at his residence in Floriana on 28 February 1926 at the age of eighty-one years. In the meantime, the Cappella Bugeja remained under the control of Abdilla until 1934.

Abdilla directed music service in several town and village feasts instead of Maestro Riccardo Bugeja when the latter was sick and retired.

In December 1923, Giuseppe Abdilla was one of the members elected to form part of the Camera Degli Autori e Compositori di Musica Maltese. He was also a member of the Society of Christian Doctrine.   

Giuseppe composed a symphonic work which won the second prize at an international competition organised by the Società Santa Cecilia, Bologna. Maestro Abdilla’s such symphonic work was afterwards performed at the Theatre Royal of Valletta.

He was tutor to his nephew ÄŠensinu Bugeja*, Wistin Camilleri*, Giuseppe Camilleri*, Lorenzo Galea* and many others.

Giuseppe Abdilla had several of his compositions which appeared under other composers’ names.

Giuseppe died in Victoria, Gozo.

This biography is part of the collection created by Michael Schiavone over a 30-year period. Read more about Schiavone and his initiative here.

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