Remembering Piazzola | Fiorella Camilleri

TEODOR RELJIC speaks to flutist Fiorella Camilleri ahead of Diablo y Angel, an upcoming concert performed by her newly-formed Tango Nuevo Quintet, which will serve as a tribute to the enduring mastery of landmark tango composer Astor Piazzolla

The newly-formed Tango Nuevo Quintet, led by flutist Fiorella Camilleri, includes accordionist Giancarlo Palena, guitarist Karl Galea, double bassist Marco Agnetti and pianist Joe Debono
The newly-formed Tango Nuevo Quintet, led by flutist Fiorella Camilleri, includes accordionist Giancarlo Palena, guitarist Karl Galea, double bassist Marco Agnetti and pianist Joe Debono

Astor Piazzolla has become something of a staple of the world music scene. What do you think lies behind his wide and enduring appeal, and how do you hope to individually honour his legacy with this concert?

Our concert is a tribute to his artistry, so we selected some of his tango masterpieces, which contributed to his international fame. Piazzolla revolutionised and transformed the traditional tango to tango nuevo – a transformation of the sounds that symbolise the history of Argentina and its mix of cultural influences arising from migration.

The music is all about rhythm, expression and passion with a mix of jazz, classical and tango music. In our concert, the violin is substituted by the flute, and as a musician I have to give my interpretation another colour to stay faithful to the original extended violin techniques. However, this also recalls the elements of the original ensemble, which was constituted of a flute, violin and guitar.

How would you define the dynamic you have with your fellow musicians who’ll be joining you for this concert? How would you say they channel their own passion for Piazzolla’s work, and what do they each bring to the table?

Although this will be our debut as a quintet, I have had the pleasure of performing with all musicians in an individual capacity. The choice of the musicians, who are all fantastic players, was based on the sound I wanted to create with the quintet. In fact, two are jazz musicians and three of us are classical musicians – this in itself reflects the original intention in the formation of Piazzolla. The musicianship of the individual players is exceptional, however when we come together as a group during rehearsals the energy of tango takes over. Together, we are sharing musical ideas and developing the ensemble, staying faithful to Piazzolla’s original music while bringing a unique musical flair to the proceedings.

What do you hope local music lovers will get from this concert, and what do you hope they’ll remember from it?

The concert will provide a unique evening not only to music lovers but also to those interested in dance since we will also be joined by Moveo Dance Company for some of the numbers. Anyone who shares the passion for incredible music will live the magic, authenticity and passion of every single note composed by Piazzolla. The repertoire, other than the most popular work, is not often performed in Malta and hearing the Bandoneon as one of the instruments will be a treat for audiences.  

What do you make of the local musical scene? What would you change about it?

There are definitely a number of opportunities to create and organise projects, however funding is always a challenge. Once you believe in an idea, all you have to do is to believe in it and make it happen in one way or another. So perseverance is key to realise your dreams.

New talent is always on the increase and although public funding is limited and sometimes very challenging to tap into, one may have to look at alternatives to make it happen. A good approach would be to encourage private investors and companies to invest in talent, concerts and cultural events to give new opportunities to young talent who are normally constrained by finance.

What’s next for you?

As a musician with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra I am looking forward to this season. I will be developing further the Tango Nuevo Quintet, and I hope to record an album in the near future and tour with the quintet presenting Piazzolla’s music and the concept of Cultural Diplomacy and international music. I am also launching an album in November called Catal Duo flute and guitar with Ahmed Dickinson Cardenas, one of the finest performers of the Cuban Classical Guitar School and a critically acclaimed recording artist and producer. I am also very excited to be on tour in India this December and Cuba in  January 2020.

Diablo y Angel by Tango Nuevo Quintet featuring Moveo Dance Company will be held at Robert Samut Hall, Floriana on October 24 and 25 at 8pm. The project is supported by Culture Venture. Bookings: