Well-known Gozitan conductor Joseph Vella passes away

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Well-known Gozitan conductor Joseph Vella passes awayThe La Stella Philharmonic Society has paid tribute to the treasured memory of Maestro Joseph Vella, who passed away suddenly on Sunday evening.

Prof. Vella, composer and conductor, had been Musical Director of the La Stella Philharmonic Society and the Astra Theatre since 1970, as well as Artistic Director of the Victoria International Arts Festival.

Maestro Joseph was born in 1942. He studied with his father, was admitted a Fellow of the London College of Music in 1967, graduated in music from the University of Durham, UK, and continued his studies with Franco Donadoni in Composition and Franco Ferrara in Conducting in Siena, Italy. In 1994 he was appointed Associate Professor of Music at the University of Malta.Well-known Gozitan conductor Joseph Vella passes away

Photograph: MGOZ/George Scerri

On Saturday evening, as part of the 5th anniversary celebrations of Il-Hagar Museum in Victoria, the inauguration took place of the Joseph Vella Music Archive, by the Minister for Gozo. It includes surround-sound music, documents and memorabilia

This morning Dr Caruana expressed her sorrow for the loss of Professor Vella, who she said, “will always be remembered for the love, dedication and his great musical knowledge, and will surely continue to be considered among the best of Maltese contemporary composers.” The Minister offered condolences to his family.

Joseph Calleja paid tribute on his facebook page saying, “dedicated to #maestrojosephvella who passed away suddenly yesterday night. He was a giant of musical integrity and full of love for his beloved Gozo. He will be missed by all and his community is rightly so devastated. A really brilliant composer, his music was as original and his brilliant “il kebbies tal fanali” is a favourite in my various recitals around the world. Finally condolences to all his family and friends.”

The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, also on facebook said, “Malta has just lost one of its monumental musicians. Mro Joseph Vella was a pioneer in the history of the MPO, having held positions of resident conductor and composer in residence for many years.

“On behalf of the MPO Board of Directors, Management, and all the musicians who have worked closely with him, we pay tribute to the memory of Malta’s musical giant and give our sincere condolences to his family. Mro Joseph Vella, your music will live with us forever!

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    3 Responses

    1. Lino DeBono says:

      Maestro Vella’s demise was a surprise especially as I have just seen him passing St George’s Square a few days ago, showing no signs of illness. Joseph made a name for himself and also for Gozo. Joseph was self made starting his musical lessons under his father’s teaching. His achievements are well known by one and all.

      He never ever abandoned Gozo even if living in Malta with his family. He made Gozo proud.

      My condolences to his wife, family and friends. May he rest in peace.

    2. Fr George Attard says:

      I share your thought Mr Debono, He made Malta and Gozo proud, although he was a very humble person.

      May the Lord grant him eternal peace,

    3. Kerry says:

      Such a talent, with so much energy, how he devoted so much time to the VIAF every year and still ran his other projects I could never understand. And such a humble man, always ready with a cheery hello when passing on the street. Such a loss.

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