Rewwixta Symposium
25th November 2020 | 10:30 - 12:45
Rewwixta Symposium

A symposium about Joseph Vella the Composer, Conductor and Academic -  A career insight and his musical personality.  The symposium will also look at Vella’s composition , diversity of style and sound  -Oratorio “Ir-Rewwixta” by Joseph Vella and Oliver Friggieri -  a detailed overview on the composer’s  orchestration, choral and vocal work .

Programme :


Greeting speech by Alan Vella

Talk by Christopher Muscat: “ In search of a composer’s sound .”


Talk by Joseph Debrincat: “ Ir-Rewwixta “ Op.54 by Joseph Vella.  An analytical & critical overview.


Talk by Colin Attard: “ Joseph Vella - From Gozo to Malta ...and  beyond.”

Christopher Muscat_Photo by Joe

In search of a composer’s sound By Christopher Muscat

Whether it is a short chamber work or a large-scale composition such as an Oratorio or an Opera, a composer has to revert to his composition tool box that not only helps in creating the necessary building blocks for a composition but, perhaps more importantly, is also responsible for creating the composer’s ‘sound' – that  which clearly distinguishes one composer from the other. Composer and conductor Christopher Muscat opens up Joseph Vella's tool box and analyses the wide array of composition techniques used by Joseph Vella with particular reference to his Oratorio Ir-Rewwixta.

Christopher Muscat Bio

Christopher Muscat is one of the most individual voices among the younger generation of composers with works performed in important music centres across Europe, Africa, China and the USA. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in music studies from the University of Malta as well as a Master of Music degree (with distinction) from the University of Surrey. For many years Muscat has taught music at the University of Malta and sacred music at the Archbishop's Seminary. Between 2011 and 2017 he occupied the posts of Artistic Director and Chairman of the Malta International Choir Festival and is a member of the World Choir Council. Muscat is the Director of Music of the Archdiocese of Malta and Maestro di Cappella of the Metropolitan Cathedral.


Ir-Rewwixta “ Op.54 by Joseph Vella 

An analytical & critical overview By Joseph Debrincat

Joseph Debrincat, who will be conducting the performance of Rewwixta, will give a talk focusing on Vella as a composer with particular reference to his big choral / vocal works and also to his interest in the Maltese language. Then the talk will move on to a detailed harmonic, rhythmic, melodic and formal analysis illustrated with numerous examples from the score. Another aspect in this analysis will be the refined orchestration that is one of Vella’s forte. Concurrently, reference is also made to the storyline of Friggieri’s poetic drama.

Joseph Debrincat Bio

Born in Gozo, Malta, Joseph Debrincat graduated in music (BA. Hons) from the University of Malta in 1998, studying with Malta’s leading composers Charles Camilleri and Joseph Vella. Besides, he studied conducting with Maltese conductor Michael Laus and even pursued his studies abroad, attending master classes in Milan. In 2005 Debrincat has been awarded the M.Phil degree from the University of Malta.


He occupies the post of maestro di cappella at the Gozo Cathedral and the Sannat Parish Church. Due to these positions, Debrincat has a small number of compositions to his credit.


In 2001 Debrincat founded the Classique Foundation and organized and conducted several acclaimed concerts, most of them with the participation of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and international operatic singers. Debrincat was invited by the National Orchestra of Malta and the Manoel Theatre to conduct two revival-performances of Charles Camilleri’s opera Il-Wegħda. In this project Debrincat was also involved in the revision of this opera, working side-by-side with the composer. His international debut occurred in 2017 when he conducted the Radio and Television Orchestra of Albania in Tirana.


As from 2018, he is the artistic director of an international festival, MUSIC+.


Joseph Debrincat is a music teacher at the Gozo Visual and Performing Arts School.

Colin - photo Manon.jpg

Joseph Vella - From Gozo to Malta ...and  beyond 

By Colin Attard

Colin Attard – Vella's eldest and close nephew and mentee, and himself one of Malta's most active musical personalities – gives a quite personal insight into Vella's life, especially his early years and the gradual development of his career – whether as conductor, composer or academic.

Also mentioning some interesting anecdotes, Attard outlines how, throughout, Vella bypassed the big limitations of the doubly-insular Gozo, and, while never discarding his Gozitan roots, actually, made the most of the resilience which necessarily frames a Gozitan.  


Attard also tries to illustrate how Vella's personality comes across in his artistic activity, the latter being very much a reflection of the former. Similarly, Vella’s iconic figure is juxtaposed with his otherwise very affable character.

Colin Attard Bio

Colin Attard’s artistic development and creative impulse were very much moulded within the parameters of his native Gozo; crucially contributing to the revitalisation of the island’s concert activity since the 1980's.

He is the founder-director the Gaulitanus Choir, artistic director of Gaulitana: A Festival of Music, resident conductor of the Teatru ta' l-Opra Aurora and the Leone Philharmonic Society.

A pivotal personality in Gozitan operatic development, he has also been acknowledged by the renowned international magazine Opera Now.

A composer, and for long years also involved in the academic field and church music, Attard regularly features abroad in various roles.


25 November 2020

Cathedral Museum, Mdina

10:30 - 12:45


No Intervals

All necessary measures to ensure the health and safety of patrons, speakers and crew are being taken. Masks must be worn throughout the entire performance and social distancing must be observed. Seating for this Symposium is limited and Pre-Booking is required