OVERVIEW OF A NEW FESTIVAL
"MALTA INTERNATIONAL PIANO FESTIVAL - 2022"
is organised by
MALTA PIANO ACADEMY
Dr MILICA LAWRENCE
Director and Festival artistic Director
In collaboration with
IL-QALA LOCAL COUNCIL.
COUNCIL HALL, il-QALA.
"This was the very first piano festival ever held in Gozo. It is the intention of Milica Lawrence to make this festival a regular, annual event. This lady now domiciled in Gozo, and growing stronger and stronger roots there, runs a busy piano academy with students from both Malta and Gozo.
The collaboration of tutors living in Malta enables the academy to function smoothly in both islands.
Two weeks ago, Milica Lawrence who is a harpsichordist and concert pianist as well as very accomplished accompanist, asked me if I could launch this festival. I accepted with pleasure and the festival set off with a most Interesting recital of a programme performed by Bojana Sovij. It entirely consisted of music by Norwegian composers. This Serb-born pianist who lives in Norway, has carried out extensive research on native Norwegian composers. She said something about each composer and the work chosen. The result was an enlightening one. Except for Grieg, the other composers were generally all or nearly all obscure. This recital illustrated clearly how Norwegian composers moved away from a music world dominated by the Romantic movement. From Kjerulf (1815-68) to Agatha Ursula Backer-Grøndahl, (1847-1907), Grieg (1843-1907) with his tremendously powerful unique Ballade, and down to David Monrad Johansen (1888-1974). A distinctive national Norwegian school emerged and continues flourishing. The second day of the festival saw the distribution of certificates to students ranging in age from 5 to 16 who took part in a competition and were awarded various prize placings. The hall was full to the brim because of teachers, parents and relatives (some from Malta) were also present. The students performed short pieces which differed in difficulty as regards technique and interpretation, all according to their age.
One must say that the general overall impression was a good one. One must add that if they were to carry on studying hard and learn more, some of these students have the makings of fine future pianists. The level of talent in some of them was really high. The second concert of the festival featured the only local pianist to take part. This was Francis Camilleri who is from Gozo and growing fast in musical and professional stature. He performed five delightful Preludes by Debussy: three from Boook I and two from Book 2. He then proceeded to enter a different sound world by splendidly performing one of the most evocative and great piano masterpieces of all time: Mussorgsky's Pictures at an exhibition. Another pianist from Serbia was Jovana Vakić. The nature of her choice required a smooth transition from one idiom and style to another. She managed to do that by beginning with J.S. Bach's Toccata, BWV 914, followed by an Intermezzo, Op. 118, n.2, by Brahms. Four movements from Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite n.1 preceded the final two works: Étude-tableaux Op.39, n.2 and Op. 33, n.6. Jovana Vakić also gave background information about her chosen pieces which is something which slways enhances rapport between performer and audience. The closing concert of the festival was a programme of works by contemporary composers. Each work had its distinctive style and this was very evident. Four of the works were by composers from these islands. These were Antoine Mercieca, (whose Piano Piece is dedicated to Milica Lawrence), Alan Cassar, Reuben Pace and Mariella Cassar Cordina, l the latter of whom were present. Composers from abroad whose works were performed were Dragan Karolic, Nimrod Borenstein,David Francis Urrows (whose Five pieces was having its world premiere), Dejan Despic, Irena Popovic, Andrew M. Wilson and Armando Ghidoni. The latter's Storyboard iss also dedicated to this very versatile pianist. At the end of the concert, Dr. Lawrence thanked everybody for helping to make this Festival a success. She thanked teachers, parents, judges and pianists for their co-operation. However nothing could have been achieved without the full collaboration of il-Qala Mayor, Mr Paul Buttiģieģ. He is always found found to the forefront where cultural activities and environmental issues are concerned.
A word of thanks was also extended to Brincat Pianos for their collaboration."