“Conductor and musician Colin Attard, with his wild, curly hair, is a familiar figure on the local music scene, especially in his native Gozo. His energy is as boundless and dynamic as his hair, and I know few local musicians who are as energetic as he is”. (Albert Storace, The Sunday Times of Malta, 03/03/2014).
Born (in 1962) in a highly musical family from Victoria, inevitably, he grew up in a rather musical environment. As he grew older he continued his advanced musical studies under the tuition of his uncle, Prof. Joseph Vella, while at the same he read for a degree in accountancy from the University of Malta. Soon after graduating he took up a full-time career in music, when he was asked to move over to the Gozo School of Music – now integrated within the Visual & Performing Arts School – when it was inaugurated in 1988. Since 2010 he has been the editor of the school’s magazine The Buzz.
Since the early 1980’s he has been musically very active, indeed a leading personality in revitalising concert activity in Gozo. In 1990 he became associated with the Teatru ta’ l-Opra Aurora and its parent organisation, the Leone Philharmonic Society. Since then he became an integral part of Gozitan operatic productions, which have made huge leaps forward and today are very highly rated even overseas. Throughout these Aurora productions – where he is not just the man behind the baton, besides the choir master of the Aurora Opera Chorus – Attard has worked with world-renowned international artists such as sopranos Maria Guleghina, Eva Marton and Michèle Crider, mezzo-soprano Mzia Nioradze, tenors Neil Shicoff, Nicola Martinucci, Gianfranco Cècchele, Stuart Neill and Franco Farina, and baritone Juan Pons, and conducted the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra as well some foreign orchestras such as the Nova Amadeus of Rome (Italy), the Filarmonica di Palermo (Italy), the Filarmonica G. Verdi of Sicily (Italy), and the Orchestra Filarmonica F. Cilea of Reggio Calabria (Italy).
His extensive work with the Leone Band has piloted the band to new heights as regards concert activity. Aware of the constant need to keep up with change, he has been at the front in presenting the ever-increasing Gozitan audiences with contemporary, challenging and rather ‘unfamiliar’ classics as well as more trendy, popular music – the latter also resulting in the highly rated Leone Goes Pop series. Drifting away from the ubiquitous, tried and tested music has managed to bring back the big audiences to the Leone Band’s concerts and has set new parameters for others to follow.
As a matter of fact, versatility and varied repertoires are very much part and parcel of Attard’s musical do. This is perhaps most notable in the annual Easter-time international festival Gaulitana: A Festival of Music which he artistically directs for the Gaulitanus Choir, which he formed in 1990. Indeed, the festival – which was awarded the prestigious Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe (EFFE) label – presents a multifarious programme of events with an outreach perspective, in a variety of genres ranging from opera to musical theatre, sacred to secular, choral to chamber.
Colin is a also composer (with a fellowship diploma in composition from the London College of Music and quite a few compositions to his credit), maestro di cappella at the Gozo Cathedral and some other churches, and the director of the Gozo Cathedral’s resident choir, the Chorus Ecclesiae Cathedralis. His interest in Gozo’s musical heritage has also led to the editing of several forgotten compositions, which have also been revived.
Arranging is another of Attard’s penchants. Particularly significant are the various musical arrangements he did for the Rencontres Musicales de Mediterranée in Corsica (France), to where he returns in a fortnight after having participated in several past editions in different roles. Attard has indeed appeared abroad several other times in various capacities. An important forthcoming foreign engagement is conducting Craiova’s Oltenia Philharmonic Orchestra (Romania) during its high-profile special 2015-16 European Season featuring 28 orchestral concerts with the participation of artists from each of the EU’s member states.
A very proud Gozitan and a key player in the development and promotion of Gozitan culture, Attard is very pleased to be giving his share to establish a well-coordinated Gozitan cultural programme based on quality events, also aimed towards the international market – thus making Gozo a niche for cultural tourism.