Brass with a Bang | Paul Borg

Paul Borg, principal MPO tuba player, reveals the details on his Brass Quintet and their upcoming concert to DENISE AZZOPARDI

The MPO Brass Quintet (left to right): Kevin Abela, Paul Borg, Dennis Camilleri, Stephen Murphy, and Marco Cola
The MPO Brass Quintet (left to right): Kevin Abela, Paul Borg, Dennis Camilleri, Stephen Murphy, and Marco Cola

by Denise Azzopardi

For how long have you been principal tuba player with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, and since when have you been teaching members of its brass section?

I’ve been a member of the MPO for more than 25 years now (it was not yet known as the Philharmonic when I joined – in fact, it was originally known as the Manoel Theatre Orchestra), and have always been the only tuba player in the orchestra. Some of the orchestra’s brass members were my students when they were adolescents, and it is gives me much satisfaction to see how well they are establishing themselves.

Can you give me a short background to the MPO Brass Quintet? Are all the performers featuring in the upcoming brass concert on April 3 your students?

This brass ensemble consists of two trumpets, a horn, trombone and tuba. One of the trumpet players – Kevin, the trumpet principal – and the trombone player – Dennis – were my students.

What will the concert programme consist of?

The musical programme is very varied. We’ll be performing Paul Abraham Dukas’ Fanfare, arranged by Wayne Barrington; Giovanni Gabrieli’s Canzon per sonare, transcribed by Graeme Page; Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, arr. by Kris Dorsey; Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik, arr. by Jeff Tomberg; Reuben Pace’s Mini Suite for Brass No. 1; Ruben Zahra’s Loghba; and Joseph Vella’s Pezzo per Quintetto d'Ottoni Op. 55. We’ll further entertain our audience with two encore pieces: Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, arr. by Luther Henderson; and George Bizet’s Toreador Song from Carmen, arr. by Walter Barne.

How did you come up with this particular programme?

We have chosen the pieces consensually as a band, and in so doing were attentive in coming up with a programme that is pleasing to all types of audiences. We have some popular pieces such as the Eine kleine Nachtmusik, The Four Seasons, and the Toreador Song. These are all well-known among the general public and I’m sure that everyone will enjoy every minute of the concert, as all the other pieces are also very catchy. Music to all ears, in the true sense of the word!

The MPO Brass Quintet is made up of members Kevin Abela and Stephen Murphy (trumpet), Marco Cola (Frenchhorn), Dennis Camilleri (trombone) and Paul Borg (tuba).

The MPO Brass Chamber Concert is being held at Robert Samut Hall, Floriana, on April 3 at 6pm. Tickets at €8 are available from, or phone 2124 4473. For further information, visit