Held in collaboration with the Valletta Cultural Agency, the weekend-long festival, will consist of lessons, masterclasses and workshops with prestigious local and international double bass tutors, for all bass lovers. The festival may be followed by anyone, irrespective of age, from absolute beginners to professionals playing the double bass, mini bass or bass guitar. Those interested may register on maltabass.com.
The festival will also include free performances for the general public which will be premiered on Facebook. These concerts feature students and tutors themselves, as well as guest musicians. Tutors and performers include Diego Zacharies (Uruguay), Boguslaw Furtok (Poland), Jason Heath (USA), Simon Garcia (Spain), Jiri Hudec (Czech Republic), Rufus Reid (USA), Gjorgji Cincievski (Malta), and Michelle Scicluna (Malta).
The three-day programme will include a series of videos titled “Unique Valletta”, – historical musical postcard – with music from Cincievski’s recording and transcription of the “Goldberg Variations” combining one of the greatest Baroque works with Valletta – a UNESCO world heritage site. A short talk about the history and the importance of these sites will be given by the Valletta Cultural Agency CEO, Catherine Tabone.
In the series “Maltese Bass and Voice” – Gjorgji Cincievski and the MPO’s Principal Percussionist and Big Band Brothers singer, Daniel Cauchi, will perform traditional Maltese songs including “Karozzin”, “Lanċa Gejja” and “Tħażżiż”, arranged in fun versions for double bass and voice.
The first evening performance will be on Friday 6th – a highlights video of the world premiere of Simon Garcia’s “Ojos Negros” – Flamenco Musical Tale – World Premiere (Highlights), for two double basses and a Flamenco dancer, performed and recorded by Simon Garcia (Spain), Gjorgji Cincievski (Malta), Michelle Scicluna (Malta) and Deborah Falzon (Malta). This will be online at 7.30pm. “Ojos Negros”, was commissioned by the Festival and is the first known ballet in such formation of instruments.
Among the highlights of works to be performed during the three-day festival will be Piazzolla’s “Grand Tango”, Rufus Reid’s Jazz masterpiece “Come Rain or Come Shine”, Hertl’s “Prelude”, Popper’s “Requiem Op. 66”, arranged for three basses and piano, Bach’s “Goldberg Variations”, Adolf Misek’s “Concert Polonaise” as well as the first movement from Beethoven’s Sonata No.3 Op.69 in A Major.
The performance of Beethoven’s Op.69 is being held by Gjorgji Cincievski (Malta) and Francis Camilleri (Malta) at the Manoel Theatre and is part of the Beethoven 2020 World Music Celebration – 250 years since the great master’s birth. This performance will be aired on the 7th November and a short talk prior to this performance will be given by Teatru Manoel Artistic Director and Artistic Director of the Valletta International Baroque Festival, Kenneth Zammit Tabona.
Being it that the Malta International Double Bass Days in Valletta is a festival of educational character, each year the closing concert, in which the students perform and take the centre stage, is the main event and the highlight of the festival. This year’s performance of this event will be held on the 8th November and will feature a double bass choir / ensemble including all participating students and tutors from all around the world.
All audio and video recordings are being produced and directed by Alec Massa from Digital Malta. The extraordinary online edition of this year’s festival has been kindly supported by The Stubbs Foundation (UK), Teatru Manoel (Malta), Pirastro Strings (Germany), Discover Double Bass (UK), DPA Microphones (USA), Digital Magic (Malta), Cincievski Ensemble (Malta).
Artistic Director and organiser Gjorgji Cincievski was born in Skopje, Macedonia and has served as the Principal double bass player with Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, since 2010. He regularly performs with some of the most prestigious and world leading orchestras and musicians and has held numerous masterclasses and workshops in the Europe, Latin America and Asia.
In his constant strive into enriching the double bass repertoire, he has successfully transcribed several works for the double bass, including Bach’s “Goldberg Variations”, Rachmaninov’s, “Elegy Op.3 No.1”, Brahms’ Piano Trio Op.8, Popper’s “Requiem” Op.66 for three cellos and piano, Casadesus’ “ Concerto in the style of J.C. Bach” and others. These transcriptions are now published by Hofmeister Editions in Germany, and have been awarded, praised and performed worldwide. Cincievski is the first Maltese artist to be endorsed by the world’s most prestigious strings producer Pirastro Strings.
Michelle Scicluna is the festival’s Managing Director and Organiser. Born in Malta, she is the Sub Principal Double bass player at the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra. She is a fully qualified teacher and performer and takes active part in an educational project between Malta and the Philippines, teaching children the double bass. She also performs chamber music with a special interest in Baroque period performances.