Commemorating the Fifth Anniversary From Maestro Vella`s Demise

Time flies, five years have passed since Maestro Vella`s untimely demise on February 25th, 2018. As in previous years, Family Vella is commemorating this anniversary through a number of initiatives held locally and abroad.

Maestro Vella`s ‘Hyland Mass’ (Opus 130) – a one-hour long mass composed in 2013 – has just been performed in Pristina`s AMC Hall on the 16th February 2023, as part of the official calendar of events marking Kosovo`s 15th Anniversary Independence Celebrations. The Kosovo concert was under the baton of established Maestro David Hayes, Music Director of the New York Choral Society and Professor at Mannes Music Conservatory, New York, and featured the Kosovo Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir besides different soloists (boy soprano, soprano, alto, tenor and bass).

The concert was a great success and well received by the audience that included numerous dignitaries such as the President of Kosovo, the President of Albania, the Ambassador of the USA to Kosovo and the Bishop of Pristina.

The performance of the ‘Hyland Mass’ is another milestone in Family Vella`s endeavours to further promote the music of Maestro Vella. It follows other major works that have just been revived, including his two oratorios ‘Rewwixta’ and ‘Il-Belt Rebbieħa’, which were performed in late 2022 during Festivals Malta`s “Three Palaces Early Opera & Music Festival“, as part of Family Vella`s collaboration with Festivals Malta that will also include the post-mortem premiering of Maestro Vella`s opera “Valeriana” in 2024.

The ‘Hyland Mass’ was commissioned by New York entrepreneur Christopher Hyland, as a call to peace and unity for people throughout the world, and the Kosovo event is a fitting tribute to Maestro Vella, this week marking the fifth anniversary of his demise. This is the third performance of the Mass, having previously been premiered at St George`s Basilica, Victoria, Gozo in 2013 and subsequently receiving its international premiere at the prestigious St. Patrick’s Cathedral, located in the Midtown Manhattan neighbourhood of New York City, USA, in 2016.

Family Vella also collaborated with Fondazzjoni Paulus to commemorate Maestro Vella`s anniversary as part of the Rabat Agape Festival, this year in its tenth edition. The Agape Festival, held yearly in remembrance of St Paul`s Shipwreck, included an orchestral and choral concert on Friday 3rd February in which Maestro Vella`s ‘Music for a White Dove’ – Opus 115 – was performed. The concert was held at St Paul’s Proto Parish and Collegiate Church in Rabat, Malta, with the participation of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra.

This 14 minute orchestral work was commissioned by the Conservatorio di Musica Vincenzo Bellini of Palermo, Sicily, and composed by Maestro Vella in 2009. Six composers from as many countries (Italy, France, Greece, Lebanon, Egypt, Malta) were invited to musically highlight a specific episode in the life of Pope John Paul II, to commemorate the Fourth Anniversary of the Pope`s death. Mro Vella was requested to write a piece about the Pope’s final days, and his eventual death. Vella compared the Pope to a white dove, to resounding success. The work was premiered in the magnificent
Norman-Siculo Cathedral of Palermo and repeated the following day in the Duomo of Monreale. Both evenings were televised by several TV stations, including RAI 3.

Maestro Vella`s repertoire also extends to the composition of several band marches and in this regard, enthusiasts will also be able to enjoy an entire radio programme dedicated to Maestro Vella`s band marches. On the occasion of the 5th anniversary since his demise, NET FM will be focusing on Maestro Vella`s funeral marches: enthusiasts are invited to tune in on Sunday 5th March 2023 at 12.30pm, for the programme “Marci u Bandalori”, produced and presented by Joseph Chetcuti.

A special thanks to New York entrepreneur Christopher Hyland , Dr. Mark Fenech Vella and Mro. Chris Muscat from Fondazzjoni Paulus, besides radio presenter Joseph Chetcuti, for their kind cooperation.


Photo Credits:

1) and Mr. Christopher Hyland

2) Fondazzjoni Paulus, Mro.Chris Muscat, Dr. Mark Vella Fenech