The Gaulitanus Choir, officially founded in 1990 as Gozo’s only choir not affiliated to a parish or theatre, is a mixed choir with members hailing from all over the island. After having regularly organised and appeared in numerous concerts in Gozo and Malta – a few of which are also recorded on CD – and featured on TV and radio, in 2007 the choir started organizing an annual Easter-time international festival Gaulitana: A Festival of Music, now firmly ingrained within the country’s cultural calendar and a recipient of the prestigious EFFE label. The Sunday Times of Malta (30/3/2014) has dubbed it as “the main classical music festival in Gozo”, whereas the Times of Malta (24/4/2014) has described it as being “at the cutting edge of musical culture” while highlighting its important contribution to the branding of Victoria as “that super city of culture”. A milestone was indeed reached in 2014 when a full-scale operatic production started being included in the festival’s programme.
The choir has also ventured very successfully abroad, performing in England (1995), Germany (1997), the Netherlands (1999), Greece (2001), Corsica (2001, 2002 and 2007), and Italy (2010, 2015 and 2016). Moreover, the Gaulitanus Choir has issued three CDs, namely Sacred in Opera, Maria – A Celebration of Marian Hymns, and Gaulitanus at Christmas in 2008.
The choir has performed an extensive repertoire – whether secular or sacred – which, significantly, also includes more popular works. It has presented several large-scale serious works – also including ones by Maltese composers Carmelo Pace, Colin Attard and Joseph Vella – as well as innumerable small-scale serious works, many of which have also been arranged specifically for the choir. Yet the Gaulitanus Choir has also been quite innovative in presenting various light and semi-classical works ranging from Neapolitan songs to Maltese folk, and from operettas to musical theatre, something which was very much well-received by their audiences.
For all these efforts, the choir has also often been lauded by the critics. Significant is the review on one of its musical theatre concerts, which opined that “light music is taken just as seriously in its preparation and execution as the more serious genres. There is no lack of attention to detail. The projection of dynamics, the crispness in phrasing, the individual piece’s section balance and the emphasis on maintaining a smooth homogeneous sound are all given equal importance.” (The Sunday Times – 19/12/2010)
The choir has also proved to be very fertile ground for soloists. Members of the choir with an aptitude for solo singing, often a mix of new and more experienced faces, are frequently and regularly given space – not least with singing opportunities abroad.
The Gaulitanus Choir is directed by its founder, Colin Attard, one of Malta’s most active musicians and a key person in the revitilisation of concert activity in Gozo in the last three decades. The choir’s resident accompanist is Stephen Attard, himself a composer and a household name in our islands.
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