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Philharmonic Founder Remembered, Dark Malta Schedule, Rock the South 11, Anecdotes Of Maltese Early Jazz

Passing of Joseph Sammut: Composer and Founder of Malta Philharmonic Orchestra

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Joseph Sammut, the esteemed composer credited with founding the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, has passed away. Aged 97, he was among the nation's foremost orchestra conductors in the post-war era, and he breathed his last at Mater Dei hospital on Wednesday.

In one of his final artistic endeavors in 2020, amidst the peak of the pandemic, Sammut unveiled his composition "Adagio-Remembrance," a poignant piece dedicated to the memory of the countless lives lost. Born in Valletta in 1926, he commenced his musical education under the tutelage of his father, Vincenzo Sammut, a bassoonist at the Royal Opera House and a cellist with the Orchestra of the Commander in Chief of the Royal Navy.

Following in his father’s footsteps, Sammut initially joined the orchestra as a bassoonist in 1942. However, the majority of his career was devoted to conducting and composing. For 16 years, he served as the conductor of the Orchestra of the Commander in Chief of the Royal Navy, until its disbandment in 1968 following the country's independence.

Subsequently, he established the Manoel Theatre Orchestra, where he held the position of chief conductor until 1993. This orchestra later evolved into the National Symphony Orchestra and ultimately the esteemed Malta Philharmonic Orchestra. From 1970 to 2006, Sammut served as the musical director of the Societa' Filarmonica La Vallette, and in 1970, he conducted the Kyoto Symphony Orchestra in Japan.

His illustrious career also encompassed notable performances such as conducting the inaugural concert at the Aurora Opera House in Gozo in 1976, followed by the premiere opera performance in Gozo, "Madame Butterfly," in 1977.

In 2023, Sammut was actively involved in and conducted the Foundation Day Concert with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra. Despite residing at the care home Casa Antonia in his later years and battling illness, those close to him attested that he continued to immerse himself in music, both listening and composing, until his final days.

Sincere condolences to the Sammut family.

Countdown Begins: Dark Malta Festival 2024 Schedule Revealed

With just a few days remaining until the commencement of Dark Malta Festival 2024, excitement is at an all-time high. Following Keith Muscat’s illuminating article exploring the essence of Dark Malta, the festival is poised to kick off a summer brimming with cultural festivities and artistic expressions.

Keith’s thought-provoking piece can be found here: Ushering the Darkness: Dark Malta Festival 2024

As the anticipation mounts, we are thrilled to unveil the schedule and lineup order for this year's event. Prepare to immerse yourself in a captivating journey through the depths of music, art, and creativity as Dark Malta Festival 2024 sets the stage for an unforgettable experience.

Rock the South 11th Edition Powered by Vans / Urban Jungle

Rock the South Malta is gearing up to deliver its most explosive lineup to date as it celebrates its monumental 11th edition at Zion from May 3rd to May 5th, 2024. With a combination of thrilling performances and electrifying energy, this event promises to be a highlight of the summer season.

🎟️ Weekend + Single Day Tickets Available Now: Secure your spot at the epicenter of the action by purchasing tickets here.

🔈 Two Main Stages: Prepare to be immersed in a sea of sound as top-tier artists take to the main stages to deliver unforgettable performances.

🎧 Silent Disco Stage powered by White Noise: Dance the night away under the stars at the Silent Disco Stage, where beats curated by White Noise will keep you moving until the early hours.

Friday, May 3rd | 6PM onwards:

  • 🔈 Featuring: WaqWaq Kingdom (JP), JOON, Sam Christie, BUMB (UK), Bennie Blue, Sean Borg

  • 🎧 Showdown: DEPTH VS Trackage Scheme, Hearts Beating in Time, TINA, Tonio Pace

Saturday, May 4th | 6PM onwards:

  • 🔈 Featuring: Dolls for Idols, BRIKKUNI, Areola Treat, Eyes to Argus, Esteban Medusa, Karmaġenn

  • 🎧 Showdown: Spots & Stripes VS RTS Crew, Alien Montesin, Alias 1, Gringo & Big Mouse

Sunday, May 5th | 2:30PM onwards:

  • 🔈 Featuring: Petbrick (UK), BILA, Forsaken, Minivan (DE), Lady Lizard, Makyo (LU), Morsrot, Double Standard, Kill The Action, 400PPM, Halcyon, Geistmaschine, Skorch

  • 🎧 Showdown: Black Plague VS BASSTEK, Kerosene, Gh⊕s††, Naqara, Michael Bugeja, ĦANEK

Art + Mascot (HAT BRO first seen in RTS10) by Samwel Mallia: Experience the visual feast curated by artist Samwel Mallia, featuring the iconic mascot that has become synonymous with Rock the South.

Proudly sponsored by Vans, Urban Jungle, Rock n' Malta, Festivals Malta, Visit Malta, Cisk, Jägermeister, Amrita, Yuva By Clinton, Ziggi Rolling Papers, Kewn Records, White Noise.

Exploring Musical Horizons: The Malta Spring Festival Journey

Established in 2005 by artistic director Karl Fiorini, The Malta Spring Festival is an annual event celebrated for its inventive programming and dedication to showcasing new orchestral and chamber works. Held across various venues in Valletta, the festival adopts a thematic approach each year, delving into a wide range of repertoire from classical to contemporary, seldom heard in Malta. This exploration aims to offer audiences a cultural, psychological, and personal journey of discovery.

In addition to evening concerts and recitals, the festival hosts the Rising Stars Concert Series, providing emerging local artists with a platform to refine their talents and broaden their perspectives beyond regional boundaries.

The festival kicked off with a performance by Dimitry Sitkovertsy & the Purcell School Chamber Soloists at St Paul's Anglican Pro-Cathedral on April 2nd and continues with ‘Anecdotes Of Maltese Early Jazz’ at Teatru Manoel on April 12th. This unique concert intertwines live music with film, presenting captivating stories researched by Ġużè Camilleri and produced by Nix Mangiari, in collaboration with Sugu. Featuring original compositions by Maltese jazz pioneers, arranged for quintet by Dominic Galea, these anecdotes offer a glimpse into the upcoming documentary "Strait Street to Abbey Road," directed by Cedric Vella.

Selected numbers from the concert will be available in vinyl format for purchase, with pre-orders accessible via The festival concludes with a closing concert by the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra at Teatru Manoel on April 13th. Led by esteemed Danish conductor Anne Marie Granau, the orchestra will present a grand finale program featuring renowned masterpieces from the mid-19th to the early 20th centuries, commemorating the centenary of Giacomo Puccini’s passing.

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