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Joanne Camilleri

Musical past and present in one brief sentence: From tinkling a few notes aged 4 years & 329 days, I gradually moved on to more complex solo piano works, going on to study at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester for 6 wonderful years where while in the UK I gained much experience performing as a recitalist, concerto soloist, chamber musician and orchestral pianist, as well as in pedagogy - the stepping stones for what my musical life is made up of now, after having completed my formal studies with a Doctorate from the University of Malta.


How were you introduced to your instrument?

I was asked by my parents whether I wanted to start piano lessons and I was taken to a local teacher very soon after.  I remember being very keen to learn.


Who are some of your favourite composers, musicians and bands from the past and present?

Oh dear.. I guess I tend to say that my favourite composer is the one I would be playing at the moment! But..

Composers that immediately come to mind: Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Corelli, Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, Ennio Morricone…

Musicians that immediately come to mind: Andreas Schiff (pianist), Krystian Zimerman (pianist), Yo Yo Ma (cellist), Itzhak Perlman (violinist), Alison Balsom (trumpet), Rachmaninov (playing Rachmaninov)

Bands: I’m afraid I have to pass on this one..                   


Is there a particular song or musical passage that never fails to move you emotionally?

Chopin Piano Concerto No.1, 2nd movement - a very moving experience playing it with MPO directed by Mro Michael Laus at the Manoel Theatre. I was moved to tears while playing during performance, due to many experiences happening at the time.


What has been your most memorable musical experience?

For me every concert (including rehearsals!) is a memorable musical experience, each concert being an important chapter to file under “the learning curve”.

But when performing with top musicians whose priority is to share the music in the most professional, sincere, loving manner – that’s when I get the tingles.

Some examples:

Performing (after weeks of intense preparation) the Messiah last January with the Goldberg Ensemble – was washed by an amazing feeling at the end of the performance;

Performing Chopin Piano Concerto No.1 with MPO, directed by Mro Michael Laus

Performing A Time for Peace with MPO, directed by Karl Jenkins himself

Travelling around Sweden with my Trio

And many more…!


What’s a typical day like for you?

Punch the alarm clock off, big bucket of tea & light breakfast, morning of intense practice / rehearsals with MPO, light lunch, check emails, a few minutes of quiet time to re-charge for the 2nd part of the day, afternoon teaching at the School of Music, dinner, read & lights out.


How would you describe your perfect day?

Wake up to blue skies & coolish weather

Bucket of tea (important)

Practice & rehearsal

Relaxed Lunch – Fish or Rice …or picnic! – ftira with omelette, ham, cheese

Tea with friends

Go listen to a good orchestral concert

Evening stroll near the sea

Read a good book – forensic murders preferably

Lights out

 - this is very close to a typical day actually


What would your friends say they appreciate the most about you?

I think that I listen to them with a sincerity and a feeling of understanding.


What is your most valued material possession?

They are very little things which trigger many memories.. e.g. a little note written by my chamber music tutor at RNCM who has now passed on – an amazing musician; but mostly memories rather than material possessions I think..


Who were you, or would you be nervous to meet?

Voldemort – and the Voldemorts of the Earth


If you could blink your eyes and be in a favourite place right now, where would that place be?

Anywhere that is filled with peace & harmony, where the family is close & healthy, where the music bubbles openly & genuinely, where there is a lot of opportunity to perform with professionals who are also friends, where there is respect for everybody, where you can see the sea as you travel in the car…


Is there something you would like to do more of in the future?

Travel more with my music


Outside of music, tell us about one of your favourite things to do.

Curled up reading, soaked in another world


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