20.00hrs MARCELLINE AGIUS (Violin)
NADIA DE BONO (Viola)
MICHAEL LAUS (Piano) – (Malta)
Ministry for Gozo Hall, Victoria
Three of Malta’s most eminent musicians, Malta Philharmonic Resident Conductor Michael Laus, MPO Leader Marcelline Agius and Viola Leader Nadia De Bono teamed up to present a varied programme of trio music. Their journey, which included works by Lachner, Kreisler and Shostakovich, was met with rapturous applause at the end of the concert, by the attentive audience which packed the Ministry Hall.
Marcelline, an ATCL, LTCL and FLCM holder, studied violin under Guido Mamo, Mario Bisazza, and her late uncle Joseph Galea. She furthered her studies under Joachim Atanassov, and attended master classes with Ursula Gorniak and Richard Deacon.
In 1984 she became a full-time member with the Manoel Theatre Orchestra and was appointed its leader in 1993. She has since held this position with the Malta National Orchestra and, more recently, the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO). In this capacity, she has had the privilege to perform with various conductors of international repute, and has led the MPO in performances in conjunction with various foreign orchestras in Brno, Pesaro, Brussels, Rome, Spain, Palermo, Tunisia, and lately on tour in China. She also appeared in Tunisia, where she performed with the newly-formed Philharmonic String Quartet, and way back in 2006 she was invited to perform in Paris with the World Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of the acclaimed Japanese conductor Yutaka Sado.
She is also a member of the Valletta Baroque Ensemble, which incorporates master classes with Catherine Martin. Marcelline regularly attends Baroque classes at Marnaves, France, under the tutelage of Maggie Faultless.
Apart from performing and recording orchestral works both in Malta and abroad, Marcelline has been very active as a chamber musician and soloist. She has appeared as soloist in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, Bach’s Concerto for two violins, the Brandenburg Concertos, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Bottesini’s Gran Duo Concertante, Vaughan Williams’s Lark Ascending, to mention a few. She also has premiered Paulino Vassallo’s Andante for Violin and Orchestra, Joseph Vella’s Duo Conertante for Violin and Viola, as well as Andrè Paul Huber’s Ghanja tal-Milied in Milan.
For the past 18 months, Nadia has held the post of principal viola with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) following 12 years as its co-leader, and has travelled with the MPO to Belgium, the Czech Republic, Italy, Switzerland and Tunisia. In 1995 and 1996, Nadia was selected by the Orchestre des Jeunes de la Méditerranée to participate in workshops and tours in European and Mediterranean countries. In 2002, she was twice invited to join the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland where she performed in a concert given by world renowned violinist Maxim Vengerov, and another featuring Wagner’s Ring Cycle.
She is also an active soloist, performing a range of works from the baroque to the contemporary, including major works by Bach, Corelli, Vivaldi, Locatelli, Geminiani, Mozart, Schnittke, and Piazzolla.
Moreover, Debono is a member of the New Century Baroque (NCB) Orchestra, an acclaimed international period instrument baroque orchestra that performs in renowned festivals such as that of Ambronay, that was established by members of the 2009 European Union Baroque Orchestra (EUBO). Nadia is also a member of VIBE, the resident ensemble of the Valletta International Baroque Festival.
In the aforementioned roles she has played under the direction/leadership of: Chiara Banchini; Bojan Cicic; Maxim Vengerov; Margaret Faultless; Leonardo Garcia Alarcon; Mira Glodeanu; Edward Higginbottom; Catherine Martin; Petra Müllejans; Enrico Onofri; Peter Stark; Anton Steck; Michel Tabachnik and Lars Ulrik Mortensen amongst others.
Debono is also a keen chamber musician; she is a member of the MPO string quartet and also co-founded the Anon String Quartet, which has recently been integrated into the Goldberg Ensemble Malta. She has toured as a chamber musician giving performances in England, France, Italy, Scotland, and Tunisia.
Nadia Debono has several recordings, in her various capacities, to her credit.
Michael graduated in piano, harpsichord, composition, and conducting from the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi, Milan in 1982, after which he participated in master classes in conducting given by George Manahan in the United States and by Vladimir Delman in Bologna. Principal Conductor of Malta’s national orchestra for 25 years and now its Resident Conductor, he has conducted several other prestigious orchestras such as the Bournemouth Symphony, 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.
He regularly appears in the double role of pianist/harpsichordist and conductor in a concerto repertoire ranging from baroque to 20th century works. In this double role, he has won international critical acclaim for his recording of Cyril Scott’s Harpsichord Concerto, about which Robert Bamett wrote in Music web-international “everything here is most professionally delivered with executant skills of the highest order”. Michael Laus has appeared as Music Director of a large number of operatic productions in Malta, at the Berne State Theatre and in Oviedo.
He has recorded piano and orchestral works on CD, for Discover International, Unicorn-Khanchana, Talent and Cameo Classics labels. He has appeared on Rai 3, France 3 and Mezzo television channels. He is Associate Professor in Music Performance at the University of Malta, and is the founder and director of the Goldberg Ensemble, a choral and instrumental group specializing in the performance of baroque music.