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Bachelor of Music (Honours)


Dr Philip Ciantar                                                                                

B.Ed. (Hons.), M.A. (Dunelm), Ph.D. (Sheff.), LLCM.

Philip Ciantar is Senior Lecturer in music at the Music Department of the School of Performing Arts, University of Malta. Ciantar_philip He teaches courses in ethnomusicology, World Music, oral music traditions of the Mediterranean, semiotics of music and research techniques in music.  Following his first degree from the University of Malta he furthered his musical studies at the University of Durham (UK) where he graduated with an MA in music (ethnomusicology). In 2006, he graduated with a PhD from the University of Sheffield with a thesis focused on the Arab Andalusian music of Libya (ma’lūf). 

He contributed with entries on Maltese traditional music for the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and on Malta and Libya for the Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World. His current research interests include Maltese popular music, North African music, Libyan music, learning styles of the world’s musicians and World Music analysis. In addition to his work in ethnomusicology he is also active as a composer with works for voice, symphonic orchestras, brass ensembles, concert bands and string orchestras.

Selected Publications

  • 2018. 'Beyond the Music and Spectacle: Interdisciplinary Teamwork, Ethnomusicology, and the Study of a Maltese Wind Band Performance', in Stefan Aquilina and Malaika Sarco-Thomas (eds.), Interdisciplinarity in the Performing Arts: Contemporary Perspectives. Malta: Malta University Press, pp. 61-80. 
  • 2016. 'The Singer as Individual: Pop Singers, Music and Political Propaganda in Contemporary Maltese Electoral Campaigns', Music & Politics, 10(1): 1-15. Click here
  • 2015. ‘The Musical Tradition of Ma'lūf in Libya: Rethinking Memories from the Field.' Libyan Studies 46: 145-150. 
  • 2014. ‘The Maltese Composer Charles Camilleri: His Life and Musical Style’, in Henry Frendo (ed.), Towards Independence and Beyond, The Central Bank of Malta Symposium-January 2014, Valletta: Central Bank of Malta, pp. 57-63.
  • 2013. ‘The Process of Musical Translation: Composing a Maltese Festa Band March from Libyan Ma’lūf Music’, Ethnomusicology, 57(1): 1-33.
  • 2012. The Ma'lūf in Contemporary Libya: An Arab Andalusian Musical Tradition. Burlington, VT: Ashgate. Click here
  • 2012. Journal of Mediterranean Studies, Vol. 21/2. Jointly edited with Franco Fabbri. Click here
  • 2010. ‘North African Music.’ Classroom Music, summer term 1 issue, 2009/10. London: Rhinegold. Click here
  • 2006. ‘Nostalgia, History and Sheikhs in the Libyan Ma’lūf: Contemporary Listening in the Shadows of the Past,’ in Muwashshah: Proceedings of the Conference on Arabic and Hebrew Strophic Poetry and its Romance Parallels, School of Oriental & African Studies, London, 8-10 October 2003, ed. Ed. Emery (London: SOAS), 55-70.
  • 2005. ‘Tripoli’s Musical Soundscape: Experiences and Meanings.’ Libyan Studies 36:79-88.
  • 2005. ‘Malta.’ Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World. 8: 258-262. New York: Continuum.
  • 2005. ‘Libya.’ Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World. 6: 67-70. New York: Continuum.
  • 2003. ‘Continuity and Change in the Libyan Ma’lūf Musical Tradition.’ Libyan Studies 34: 137-146.
  • 2001.  ‘Malta [Traditional].’ The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd ed. 12: 233-241. London: Macmillan.
  • 2000. ‘From the Bar to the Stage: Socio-cultural Processes in the Maltese Spirtu Pront.’ Music and Anthropology in the Mediterranean. Click here

Selected Performed Compositions

• 2017. Deformation. First Performance by the University of Malta Wind Ensemble October 2017. Duration: 3 minutes.

• 2014. Doqquli n-Noti Tqal. A triptych for baritone voice and clarinet (with optional percussion) on words by Oliver Friggieri. First Performance June 2014. Duration: 10 minutes.  

• 2009. Fil-Bar tal-Kantuniera. A classical song for soprano and piano on words by Oliver Friggieri. First performance December 2009. Duration: 6 minutes.

• 2008. Fanfare for Orchestra. First performance by the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra January 2009. Duration: 4 minutes.

• 2006. Adhān.  A free-standing composition for solo alto saxophone. First performance July 2006. Duration: 3 minutes.

• 2001. Għar Dalam. A suite in three movements for concert band. CD Jessop JP08-03 (issued 2009). First performance November 2002. Duration: 12 minutes.

• 1997. A Song for Sunset. A free-standing composition for string orchestra. First performance May 1998. Duration: 4 minutes.

Contact Details


Dr Frederick Aquilina

B.A. Gen., B.A. Hons. (Melit.), M. Mus., Ph. D. (Liverpool), Graduate Teacher's Certificate (Education Division), L.R.S.M. 

Senior Lecturer, Music Studies, School of Performing Arts Dr Frederick

Frederick Aquilina specializes in Editorial Techniques, Analysis, and the life and music of Benigno Zerafa (1726-1804). He lectures in Fundamentals of Music, History of Music, Maltese Music of the 18th and 19th centuries, Editorial Techniques, Analysis, and Keyboard Proficiency. He is committed to promoting the music of the Maltese composers both locally and abroad, and has also given a number of papers on the subject at conferences in the UK.

Research Interests: 18th-Century Neapolitan and Maltese Music. 

Critical Editions and Performances

2018: Valletta International Baroque Festival - Benigno Zerafa (1726- 1804): Concert. Programme notes (Dixit Dominus and Messa a due cori, 1756) and Critical Edition of Messa a due cori. Performed by Jean-Marc Labylle (Director) and Collegium Orpheus of Brittany, France. 

2015: Valletta International Baroque Festival - Girolamo Abos (1715-1760): Tercentenary Concert.  Programme Notes and Critical Editions of: (i) Magnificat (a 4 voci), (ii) Benedictus Dominus (a 5 voci) and (iii) Messa a due cori (2xSSATB). Performed by Die Kölner Akademie choir and orchestra, conductor Michael A Willens (21 January 2015).

2013: Valletta International Baroque Festival - Benigno Zerafa (1726-1804): Concert. Critical Edition: ‘Cum Sancto Spiritu-Amen’, from Messa a due cori in D (1743).  Performed by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, conductor James Burton (Oxford).

2013: Valletta International Baroque Festival - Girolamo Abos (1715-60), Concert. Critical Edition: Pelopide (Opera, 1747), Act I, ‘Overtura’ in D; and Act III, Sc. V, ‘Padre addio’, duet in A. Performed by the Jeune Orchestre Atlantique, conductor Stéphanie-Marie Degand.

2004: Benigno Zerafa (1726-1804), Concert. Critical Edition: Dixit Dominus a due cori in D (Z1, 1743).  Performed by the Collegium Orpheus, conductor Jean-Marc Labylle, at the church of Saint-Germain des Pres, Paris, France.

1998: Benigno Zerafa (1726-1804), Concert. Critical Edition: Messa a due cori in D (Z2, 1743).  Performed by the Collegium Orpheus with the ‘Finis Terræ’ and ‘Aquilonia’, conductor Jean-Marc Labylle, in Brittany (Quimper, Morlaix, Lorient and Brest), France.

Books, Papers and Publications

2018: 'The Archive of the Cathedral of Malta as a Leading Centre for Music Research', in Stanley Fiorini and William Zammit (eds.), Ecclesiastical Archives in Malta: Crossroads of Cultures and Religion 1968 - 2018 (Mdina: Cathedral Archives Publication), pp. 43-66.  

2016: Benigno Zerafa (1726-1804) and the Neapolitan Galant Style (Boydell, 2016).

2016: 'Music Performance Spaces in Maltese Churches during the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, and their relevance Today' in The Journal of Baroque Studies, 4/1 (University of Malta, 2016).

2014: ‘Music performance spaces in Maltese churches and their relevance today’. Paper presented at the public conference, ‘The Performing Arts in 20th Century Malta: Heritage, Transmission, Relevance’ (School of Performing Arts, 28-29 March 2014).

2008: ‘Sacred Music and the Liturgy in Malta during the 17th and 18th centuries’. Paper presented at the Thirteenth Biennial International Conference on Baroque Music (University of Leeds, UK, 2-6 July 2008).

2007: ‘A Short Biography of Benigno Zerafa (1726-1804): A Mid-Eighteenth-Century Maltese Composer of Sacred Music’, in Eighteenth-Century Music, 4/1 (Cambridge University Press, March, 2007), 107-118.

2000: ‘A Comparative Study of the Music of Benigno Zerafa (With Special Reference to Works by Pergolesi, Durante, Feo, Gristi, Abos and Azopardi)’. Paper presented at the Conference on Baroque Music (University of Liverpool, 2000).

 Contact Details


Dott. John Galea                                                                           

After his early training as a pianist obtaining the Fellowship of Trinity College London and the Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music (London) in pianoforte performance, John Galea graduated with honours at Durham University (UK) studying composition with James Ellis and John Gardner. He has also pursued post-graduate studies in musicology and graduated at the Università degli Studi di Pavia (Italy). John Galea studied contemporary composition with Charles Camilleri, furthering his studies wjohn_GaleaJPGith Franco Donatoni at the Fondazione Romanini in Brescia, Italy. His compositions have been performed in Malta, Greece, France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and the United Kingdom.

He has been invited various times to sit on the adjudicating panel of the prestigious Valentino Bucchi Composition Competition in Rome and the Mikulas Schneider-Trnavsky Vocal Competition in Slovakia. His prowess for critical judgement earned him the prestigious role of President of the Jury for choirs’ section of the said international competition in Rome.
Since 1978, John Galea had been a regular guest conductor of the Manoel Theatre Orchestra. During 1998-2000 he was appointed Principal Conductor of the National Orchestra of Malta. Since then he has appeared regularly as guest conductor of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra. As musical director of Opera Studio in Malta (1990-93) he collaborated with Prof. Dobreva in realising various operatic productions at the Manoel Theatre. Galea has also been instrumental in introducing children’s opera at the Manoel Theatre, conducting the Royal Academy Ensemble (London) in John Gardner’s Bel and the Dragon. John Galea is the long-standing musical director of the Chorus Urbanus since 1979. He has conducted the choir during its choral tours of Italy, Switzerland, UK, Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria, Greece and France.  

During 1999, John Galea was commissioned to prepare a performing and critical edition of Nicolò Isouard’s Messa Leggiera, which had been successfully revived during the first edition of the Manoel Theatre Opera Festival. This work was recorded on the Mega Music label and launched on CD, meeting wide critical acclaim. This was followed shortly by the symphonic poem Ġgantija, featuring the Sofia Symphony Orchestra and the Chorus Urbanus under his direction. Another major work composed by John Galea, the oratorio Il-Qalb ta’ Kristu and its Italian version Il Cuore di Cristo, has been recorded at the Bulgarian National Radio Studios. EMI Publishing Milano published the work recorded during March 2005 on a double CD featuring the Sofia Collegium Symphony Orchestra and Chorus Urbanus during June 2005.
During May 2006, John Galea’s compositions alongside other Maltese works were published on a CD entitled Unleash Your Senses, released on the Savina Creations label.

During August 2008, the oratorio Laurentius, another major work commissioned to mark the 1750th anniversary of Saint Laurence, the Deacon Martyr was premiered during August 2008. Recently his Missa In Fractione Panis, premiered in June 2009 at the Gozo Cathedral was chosen by the Vatican Liturgical Commission to be performed during Pope Benedict XVI’s mass at the Floriana Granaries next April.

John Galea has written a study on the music of Charles Camilleri published by Roberton Publications (UK). During November 2006, he was invited to participate and read papers in an international meeting of choir conductors and composers from the Mediterranean organised by the ‘Moviment Coral Catalunya’ in Barcelona.

As from October 2009, Dr John Galea has been appointed head of the Music Studies Department at the University of Malta whilst assuming also lecturing duties in composition and musicology.

1.    Charles Camilleri: Mediterranean Crossroads; B.Mus. (Hons.) dissertation, University of Durham, UK, 1991
2.    The Clarinet in Contemporary Mediterranean Music; paper presented Clarinet Day, Concorso Valentino Bucchi, Rome, Nov. 1992
3.    Mediterranean Piano, CD featuring Michael Laus, Booklet notes, 1995
4.    Charles Camilleri: Ten Piano Sonatinas – Taqsim for two pianos – A study on their Mediterranean Genetics; Roberton Publications, UK, 2001
5.    The Emancipation of Chaotic Structures in Camilleri; Paper presented at the Universit  degli Studi di Catania, Italy, 2002
6.    Gesti for Solo Harp by Charles Camilleri (An Introspective Study); World Harp Congress – Dublin, 2005
7.    Unearthing the genesis of Giuseppe Giardini Vella’s Inno ‘A San Giorgio Martire’; The Sunday Times of Malta, 1 October, 2006
8.    I Concorsi di Composizione e di esecuzione: esperienze pedagogiche o scrutinio artistico; Concorso Valentino Bucchi, Rome, Nov. 2007
9.    Nicolò Isouard, Messa (Malta 1795): Studio ed edizione critica, D.Mus. thesis, Università degli Studi di Pavia, 2009
10.    The genesis and compositional process of Menok I Xrat and Scambi; Paper presented at IP Mediterranean Sounds Festival, Conservatorio di Musica Antonio Scontrino, Trapani, May 2011
11.    Opera: Of Conventions and Innovation up to 1950; 2011
12.    La Musica Mediterranea: re-definizione degli spazi musicali I and II, Papers read at the Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto Marcello, Venezia 2012

1.    Discover Malta: Camilleri, Galea, Pulvirenti; featuring Slovak Radio New Philharmonic Orchestra, conductor: Michael Laus,  Discover International, DICD920163, 1994
2.    Brass and Voices; featuring Thoresby Colliery Band and Chorus Urbanus, conductor: John Galea CU 101, 1996
3.    Ggantija featuring Sofia Symphony Orchestra, Chorus Urbanus, conductor: John Galea, CU 102, Mega Music, Sofia, 1999
4.    Nicolò Isouard: Messa Leggiera and Joconde Overture featuring Sofia Symphony Orchestra, Chorus Urbanus, conductor: John Galea, Manoel Theatre Opera Festival, Mega Music, Sofia, 1999
5.    Anthology of Maltese Music; Enemalta Centenary CD Publication, 2003
6.    Il-Qalb ta’ Kristu; featuring Chorus Urbanus, Sofia Collegium Symphony Orchestra, conductor: John Galea, BMG Sofia, EMI (Milano), 2005
7.    Il Cuore di Cristo; Chorus Urbanus, Sofia Collegium Symphony Orchestra, conductor: John Galea, Balkan Multimedia Group, Sofia, published EMI (Milano), 2005
8.    Soundscapes of a Mediterranean Culture; featuring Sofia Collegium Symphony Orchestra, conductor: John Galea, SV01, Balkan Multimedia Group, Sofia, published EMI (Milano), 2006
9.    Mal-Kant tal-Baħar – Songs and Dances from Malta; Sophia Grech, soprano, John Galea (piano), published by HSBC Malta.

Benedettu XVI f’Malta; live performance of Missa In Fractione Panis conducted by John Galea, Public Broadcasting Services, Archdiocese of Malta, April 2010

Piano Music from Malta, Lions Club St. Paul’s Bay Publication

Kinder Garden, BOV Publication

A Tribute to Mozart, MIA Publication

Contact Details

Prof. Michael Laus

Michael Laus, Music Director of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, has guest-conducted a number of prestigious orchestras such as the Bournemouth Symphony, the Primavera Ensemble, the Slovak Philharmonic, the New Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Belgrade Philharmonic, the Orquesta Sinfonica de Asturias, Berne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica di Pesaro, Sibiu Philharmonic Orchestra and the Moldavian Symphony Orchestra. Under his direction, the MPO has acquired a considerable Michael-Lausrepertoire ranging from the eighteenth century to first performances of works by young contempMichael-Lausorary composers. He has also toured with the orchestra to Rome, Arezzo, Pesaro, Brussels and Lugano. 

He performs regularly as a pianist/harpsichord player and conductor and has appeared as Music Director of a number of operatic productions in Malta (Don Giovanni, Le Nozze di Figaro, Cosi` fan Tutte, Die Zauberflöte, L’Elisir D’Amore, Rigoletto, La Traviata, La Boheme, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Gianni Schicchi, Pagliacci, Werther, L’Amico Fritz, The Maltese Cross, Il Matrimonio Segreto, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, La Cenerentola, Nino Rota’s La Notte di un Nevrastenico  Charles Camilleri’s Compostella and The Maltese Cross) at the Berne State Theatre (Madama Butterfly, Adriana Lecouvreur, Otello) and in Oviedo (L’Amico Fritz). He has also conducted performances of Mozart’s Requiem (Benevento Cathedral), Verdi’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Choral Symphony and Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace (Mediterranean Conference Centre, Malta). 

Michael Laus has appeared on Rai 3, France 3 and Mezzo television channels. As a recording artist, he has recorded works for piano and orchestra as well as orchestral music on CD, which have been released on Discover International, Unicorn-Khanchana, Cameo Classics and Gega labels. These include the album Mediterranean Piano and CDs with orchestral works by contemporary Maltese composers. 

Contact Details 


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Last Updated: 4 September 2018

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