As the curtain rises on the 10th Malta International Organ Festival (MIOF), lovers of art and classical music can again anticipate an eclectic programme of events across Malta and Gozo.

Over the years, the festival celebrated both local and international composers, bringing beloved classics and hidden gems to audiences. Notable among these was the festival’s dedication to Ludwig van Beethoven’s 250th birth anniversary in 2020, featuring his timeless masterpieces.

In 2019, the festival paid tribute to the renowned Maltese composer Charles Camilleri by performing his Missa Mundi. The organ festival was the sole festival in Malta to dedicate its concerts to celebrate the life and works of Camilleri and Beethoven on the occasion of their anniversaries.

The MIOF has also showcased exceptional talents, such as the Ukraine-based Kiev Baroque Consort female choir’s rendition of Vivaldi’s Gloria, faithfully following the original score conducted by Nancy Romano, and Wayne Marshall’s organ improvisations over the film Nosferatu and on Beethoven’s most famous themes in 2020.

An organ console at St Augustine parish in Valletta.An organ console at St Augustine parish in Valletta.

Additionally, Faure’s Requiem, presented in the 1889 version for a small orchestra, intertwined the majestic organ sound with the harmonious voices of the national choir, KorMalta, under the direction of Riccardo Bianchi.

Other noteworthy concerts from previous editions include the NDSF fifth Anniversary Concert, featuring most probably world premieres in Malta of Rheinberger’s Organ Concerto No. 2, Op. 177, and the 2018 performances of Poulenc’s Organ Concerto in G minor for Organ, Stringsand Timpani, followed by Telemann’s Christmas Cantata Göttlichs Kind, lass mit Entzücken and in 2019 Bach’s Cantata Ich Habe Genug BWV 82.

A unique aspect of the festival is the platform it provides for the winners of the festival competition, allowing them to shine during the festival’s concerts.

The 10th edition promises to live up to the rich tradition of the festival with a line-up of 10 concerts and a programme of seven educational events that are bound to captivate the senses.

The festival kicks off with the Painting Bach opening concert at St Paul’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral in Valletta on November 18, an interdisciplinary performance involving Bach’s organ music combined with visual arts.

A scene from a concert at St Paul’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral in Valletta during the festival in 2016. Photo: Mario CashaA scene from a concert at St Paul’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral in Valletta during the festival in 2016. Photo: Mario Casha

On November 22, an exciting fusion of organ and marimba awaits at the Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Paceville, featuring Harald and Sebastian Gokus from Germany.

Audiences will then be treated on November 24 to Viva Vivaldi, a concert at Bir Miftuħ Chapel in Gudja – a historical gem that traces its origins back to the 15th century. The synergy of organ and violin will grace St Theresa church in Cospicua on November 26.

On November 28, music lovers can immerse themselves in the sounds of the Solo Organ Concert at Għaxaq parish church, showcasing a repertoire of music pieces by Spanish composers performed by Augusto Belau.

Beyond the melodies and harmonies, the festival serves as a cultural tribute to our nation’s heritage

December 2 brings Sacred Arias, a vocal evening accompanied by the organ at Marsaxlokk parish church.

One can then head to Xewkija parish in Gozo on December 3 for a sublime solo organ concert by the Austrian Bernhard Gferer.

Next comes a concert featuring an organ and brass performance at St Sebastian chapel in Qormi on December 5, which is supported by the Kunsill Reġjun Nofsinhar as part of the Southern Region of Culture programme. It’s worth noting that the concerts taking place in Gudja, Għaxaq, Marsaxlokk and Qormi are all part of this programme.

On December 8, The Rising Stars Lunchtime Concert will take place at the Mosta basilica, featuring emerging talents.

The festival concludes on December 9 with a concert at St Augustine parish in Valletta, featuring music for the Christmas season.

Italian soprano Silvia Di Falco and Brendon Ball, a distinguished trumpet player from the UK and a member of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, will be part of this festive ensemble, together with the festival’s artistic director Joseph Lia, who will be accompanied on the organ by Andreas Meisner from Germany.

An organist playing at the festival last year.An organist playing at the festival last year.

Leading up to the closing concert, the festival will offer a series of enriching experiences, including marimba and violin masterclasses in collaboration with the Malta School of Music in Ħamrun and a flute masterclass at the Nicolò Isouard Band Club in Mosta.

Other masterclasses on the organ by Jernej Mazej and Bernhard Gferer on the Mascioni organ of the St Augustine church in Valletta, and informative lectures and workshops will be held at the Xewkija’s Rotunda in Gozo by Franco Cefai and at the Russian Cultural Centre in Valletta by Hugo Agius Muscat and Celine Portelli, providing a comprehensive and immersive musical journey and educational programme for all attendees.

Beyond the melodies and harmonies, the festival serves as a cultural tribute to our nation’s heritage as it takes place in some of Malta’s and Gozo’s most remarkable chapels, churches, basilicas and cathedrals. The unique settings allow festivalgoers to uncover the hidden treasures of Malta through the universal language of music.

The festival’s artistic director, baritone Joseph Lia, adds a unique dimension to the festival with his deep passion for music and extensive experience in the industry.

For a detailed programme and ticket information, visit Secure your tickets for the opening and closing concert through and be a part of this milestone celebration of art and music.


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