The University Vocal Ensemble in Italy The University Vocal Ensemble is part of the Music Studies Programme of the Mediterranean Institute of the University of Malta.  It is composed mainly of students of that same department, even though quite a number of students from other faculties opt to take the vocal ensemble as part of their optional credits.  This year, in fact, many foreign students signed for this ensemble.

Apart from their visit to Italy, this yearís main concerts included a Christmas concert at St. Johnís Co-Cathedral as well as an Passion/Eastertide concert which included the Requiem by Gabriel Faureí. Anybody interested in joining should simply speak to the Co-ordinator of the Music Studies Programme, Dr. Mro. Dion Buhagiar.

The "MusicAteneo 2004" was organized by the University of Bologna, Italy.  This year it was dedicated to groups from the countries which have just joined EU.  In this XIV edition, the University Vocal Ensemble (together with their director and lecturer Dr. Mro. Dion Buhagiar) was invited to join the choir from the University of Bologna together with those coming from Kaunas (Lithuania) and Prague (Czech Republic) as well as the orchestra from the University of Budapest (Hungary).

Each choir took part in two performances individually (one secular and one sacred).  The third concert was a rendering of the Stabat Mater of Dvorak, wherein all groups joined forces and were under the direction of Marco Angius.  The international soloists for the evening (Soprano: Teodora Tchoukourska; MezzoSoprano: Alisa Zinovjeva; Tenor: Kim Ki Hyun and Bass: Luciano Batinic) were all studying at the Conservatorio Alla Scala di Milano.

The secular concert was held in Rimini S. Giuliano at Piazza della Marina, on the same stage were Lucio Dalla had to perform the following evening.  All choirs sang a cappella and included works by their national composers.  The University Vocal Ensemble was conducted by Dion Buhagiar.  The 10-strong ensemble was at times even singing in SSAATBB form. Their programme consisted of negro spirituals as well as Maltese music, such as Tfajla Samra, composed by their director.  At the end of the concert, all choirs sang together the Gaudeamus Igitur.

The next concert was held at SS. Annunziata Church in Bologna.  It was sacred in nature. The repertoire included Gregorian chant, early polyphony (Palestrina, and Croce) as well as works by Heanley Willan and Dion Buhagiar.  The "O Bone Jesu", also by Buhagiar, was sung by the University Vocal Ensemble together with the Bologna University Choir, under the baton of Mro. Buhagiar.  Here again, the vocal ensemble opted to choose repertoire without accompaniment.

The climax of this singing tour was reached on the 1st of June where musicians from Bologna, Budapest, Lithuania, Prague, and MALTA sang the Stabat Mater of Dvorak at the Aula Magna di S. Lucia of the University of Bologna.  It was an incredible experience for all - a beautiful rendering given to a solid packed auditorium.

The students from the University of Malta together with the Music Studies Co-Ordinator, left a good reputation behind them in Italy. Only just two weeks from their return, the University Vocal Ensemble has been once again invited to take part in yet another music festival organized by the Bologna University this December.

The University Vocal Ensemble together with some of the organisers