The 12th edition of the Bir Miftuh International Music Festival organized annually by Din l-Art Helwa begins on Friday 23rd May and ends on Saturday 14th June. This prestigious musical event this year consists of four concerts which take place at the 15th Century church of Santa Marija ta Bir Miftuh, which, with its medieval frescoes and perfect acoustics, makes a delightful backdrop for the unique repertoires and talented national and international performers that each year find their way to Malta. All concerts start at 8.00 p.m, and all funds raised are dedicated by Din l-Art Helwa to the many restoration projects undertaken by the heritage organization. This year’s programme is as follows:

1st Concert – Friday 23rd May 2008 – Flute and Percussion Concert by Giorgia Santoro (Flute) and Vito de Lorenzi (Percussion) made possible by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura.

Giorgia Santoro graduated in Flute and Jazz from the Conservatorio T. Schipa di Lecce and then specialised in Ottavino and in Jazz at the Conservatorio N. Rota di Monopoli. She attended master classes in flute, in jazz improvisation and as soloist with orchestras with eminent professors both in Italy and abroad. Santoro won several national and international competitions and scholarships including a scholarship from Berklee College of Music in Boston. She has collaborated with world famous personalities like Mro. Ricardo Muti, José Carreras, Andrea Boccelli, Katia Riccarelli and composers M. Dall’Ongaro and R. Bellafronte. She has given high profile concerts in Italy and all over Europe.

Vito De Lorenzi started his career as a self- taught percussion player, then furthered his studies under the guidance of Mro. F. Accardi and Mro. G. Maggi. He has conducted numerous workshops at national and European level. He undertook advanced studies in Oriental drums under the tuition of Israeli and Indian professors. De Lorenzi is involved in the research of ethnic music. He participates in numerous festivals in Italy and abroad and collaborates with reputable ensembles and orchestras. He lectures at prestigious academies in Italy. Their programme falls within the project La Cantiga de la Serena which aims at giving a new breath of life to the Mediterranean music of the Middle Ages. The repertoire revives ancient medieval dances, the chants and devotions of the Christian pilgrims while travelling to the monastery of Montserrat and during the night vigils in churches when they chanted and danced to simple Spanish folk music mixed with intricate and elegant folk music from Italy and France. It also evokes the music of the Sephardi Jews who, through their voyages for hundreds of years along the Mediterranean coasts, managed to capture into their music the influences of Spain and Portugal, the hypnotic rhythms of the nomads, the fine Islamic technique and the uneven tempo of Greek and Balkan music. .


2nd Concert – Saturday 31st May 2008 – Violin and Harpsichord Recital by Sarah Spiteri (Violin) and Alexander Vella Gregory (Harpsichord) made possible with the support of the Embassy of Germany.

Sarah Spiteri started her musical studies in Malta where she obtained her Licentiate of Trinty College, London. In 1990, having won the Bice Mizzi Vassallo Competition she continued her studies in Lyon, France. She followed international master classes and courses in violin technique and in computer music. Sarah Spiteri holds a B.A. (Hons) in Theatre Studies and a post graduate in Dramatherapy from the University of Surrey, Roehampton. She has a number of CDs to her credit. She is currently responsible for music projects at St. James Cavalier, Centre for Creativity and for organising various series of concerts held at diverse places around Malta. She is the leader of the ‘St. James Consort’,a thirteen piece string ensemble with an eclectic repertoire of Baroque and Contemporary works.

Alexander Vella Gregory studied piano and music theory under the guidance of Dr D. Buhagiar and Mro. P. Borg and later obtained the ALCM diploma under the tuition of Mro. L. Borg. In 2002, after winning the Ian Tomlin Napier /Malta Music Scholarship, he pursued a B.Mus. (Hons) degree in Composition at the Ian Tomlin School of Music, Napier University, Edinburgh, where he graduated in 2006. He is active both as a composer and as a pianist. Current projects include an opera based on the diaries of Anne Frank, a set of Lacrymae for choir and a set of songs for soprano and ensemble. Their repertoire features Tartini’s Violin Sonata in G minor, a very dynamic and technically demanding work for violin, Prokofiev’s Sonata for violin solo op115, a composition by Bach and a new work specifically written for this concert by Alexander Vella Gregory for violin and harpsichord.


3rd Concert – Friday 6th June 2008 – Violin, Viola and Cello recital by the Wiener Solisten Quartett composed of Wolfgang Göllner (violin), Sandra Lackner (Violin), Endre Guran (Viola) and Klaus Steinberger (Cello). This concert has been made possible with the support of the Malta International Airport who have given support over the years to this heritage site and is, this year, also sponsoring the restoration of the medieval frescoes in the chapel.

Wolfgang Göllner studied at the Wiener Musikhochschule and later graduated from the Royal College of Music London. He has performed in prestigious concert halls all over Austria and has given prominent recitals as soloist worldwide.Sandra Lackner studied violin at the Joseph Haydn Conservatoire and at the Wiener Musikhochschule and then furthered her studies in Cambridge for two years. She has been a member of the Wiener Mozart Akademie for many years and is also one of the co-founders of the Wiener VIP-Trio. Swiss born, Endre Guran was already a member of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra while still a student. He followed master classes in Detmold, Germany and in Siena with Bruno Guiranna. He continued his career as a soloist viola player with the Tonhalle Orchester Zurich and has performed widely as soloist and chamber musician. He has lectured at the Conservatoires in Zurich, Heidelberg-Mannheim and Lucerne Klaus Steinberger studied at the Conservatoires in Graz and Vienna. He was awarded scholarships at the Franz Liszt Hochschule and at Yale University. He has performed as solo cellist with the Wiener Struass Kammerorchester and has given concerts in Europe, Japan and South Africa with esteemed personalities like Yehudi Menuhin. He has collaborated with renowned orchestras such as the International Bartók Chamber Orchestra, the L. Spohr-Sinfonietta, the Wiener Philharmoniker and the Wiener Symphoniker. He is director of the school of music in Kindberg, Austria and has lectured at academies in Graz and Vienna.

The Wiener Solisten Quartett was founded by Wolfgang Göllner and the section leaders of the Wiener Mozart Akademie in 1982. They have given many impressive concerts in Vienna and abroad and have been highly acclaimed by the press. During the concert they will present us with an entertaining musical journey through four centuries, with highlights of great works by Bach, Pachelbel, Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, Dvorak, Lanner and Scott Joplin.


4th Concert – Saturday 14th June 2008 – Classic Guitar Recital by Simon Schembri

Simon Schembri, the highly talented Maltese guitarist, residing in France, was already giving concerts at the age of nine. At fourteen he obtained the coveted Concert Artists’s degree from the Royal College of Music London. Under the tuition of Alexandre Lagoya, he was awarded the Premier Prix d’Interprétation de Paris. He received gold medals from the Yehudi Menuhin and the George Cziffra Foundations and is also a laureate of the ‘Guitar Foundation of America’, a lifetime member of the Academie Albert Einstein and a member of the international foundation ‘Young Concert Artists’. He has given around six hundred concerts worldwide. The clarity of his playing, his technical prowess and perfection and the immense sensitivity of his interpretations have been described as ‘pure magic’. During the concert he will entertain the audience with works by Bach, Sor, Tarrega, Villa Lobos, Barrios and Piazzolla.

Din l-Art Helwa conveys its thanks to the French Ambassador H.E. M. Jean-Marc Rives and to the Cultural Counsellor and Director of the Alliance Française, Mme. Anne Louise Debeusscher for sponsoring this concert and for their continuous cooperation.


Tickets for each concert cost €20.00 per person, including refreshments after the performance. In view of the popularity of these concerts and as the number of seats is limited, tickets will be issued on a first come first served basis. Tickets are available from Din l-Art Helwa, 133 Melita Street, Valletta. For further information contact Din l-Art Helwa office tel. nos. 21220358 or 21225952, Monday to Friday between 9.00a.m and noon. The Church of Santa Marija of Bir Miftuh is to be found by taking the left fork at the round about before reaching Luqa Airport.