Well known conductor/composer Mro Joseph Vella passed away suddenly last Sunday evening. Mro Vella’s last appearance in public was on Saturday week when he was the special guest for the inauguration of the Joseph Vella Music Archive featuring surround-sound music, manuscripts, other documents and mementos donated by him to Il-Ħaġar Museum in Victoria.
Mro Vella, who was an associate professor of music at the University of Malta, was well known for his diversity of styles. His works have been widely performed in most European countries, the USA and Japan.
Mro Vella worked for many years with the Malta Choral Society and was the musical director of the Astra Opera Theatre. He was the first resident conductor of the National Orchestra of Malta and the artistic director of the Victoria International Arts Festival. He was director of the Count Roger band in Rabat for 40 years.
Commemorating the muse-um’s fifth anniversary, Saturday’s programme included the performance of Mro Vella’s Cantilena, together with a lecture about the earliest Maltese poem and the opening of an exhibition highlighting Mro Vella’s life. The programme also included a short square piano recital by Francis James Camilleri of Mro Vella’s Offerta Musicale Op. 87 .
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