Kris Spiteri: 'Diligent, sarcastic and I guess, krispi'

Music director Kris Spiteri is best known for Porn, The musical, which he co-wrote, winning Best New Musical at the Off West End Theatre Awards and critic’s choice in Time Out London. He has also musically directed FM Productions adaptations of Hairspray, Fiddler on the Roof and numerous pantomimes. In 2012 and 2015 Spiteri directed and wrote the band arrangements for the national concerts of Animae gospel choir. In 2019, Spiteri musically directed We Will Rock You

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Check my email and messages… it’s sad but true.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

“If others have done it, you can do it” –  by my dad. I don’t necessarily agree fully with it but it’s a good kick-starter.

What do you never leave the house without?

House keys, phone, wallet and sunglasses.

Pick three words that describe yourself

Diligent, sarcastic and I guess, krispi…

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

As a composer, the first thing that comes to mind is composing Porn The Musical alongside Boris Cezek and Malcolm Galea. We performed it in Scotland at the Fringe and won best new musical after we performed it in London. Kafena, my duo project with Daniel Cauchi and playing at the prestigious Malta Jazz Festival with my trio Noir are also in the list. One project that is really at heart is Daqsxejn ta’ Requiem lil Leli for which I worked alongside three giants in the local artistic sector: Paul Portelli, Vince Briffa and the originator of the project, Immanuel Mifsud. Directing Fiddler On The Roof and My Fair Lady with FM Theatre will always have a special space in my memory chip.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Watching movies.   

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

That not everything turns out as planned.

Property and cars aside what’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?

My home piano.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

A foresight which showed me that living in the moment and enjoying one’s age is fine.

Who’s your inspiration?

In life, my wife. I have no idea how she manages to do so much in one day! Artistically there are too many to mention.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Fighting cancer.

If you weren’t a musical director, what would you be doing?

I never planned to become a musical director. My goal was always to compose music, write lyrics and perform. So I guess I would have concentrated more on that.

Do you believe in God?  

I am an agnostic.

If you could have dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would it be?

David Bowie.

What’s your worst habit?

Overthinking.

What are you like when you’re drunk?

A downer.

Who would you have play you in a film?

Wall-E.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Double-faced people… well, liars in general.

What music would you have played at your funeral?

Songs I wrote ... to have one final gig.  

What is your most treasured material possession?

I keep memorabilia of stuff I passed through. It’s a small collection but I do treasure it.

What is your earliest memory?

My parents’ first house in Cospicua.

When did you last cry, and why?

Not ashamed to say that it happens often but a recent one was the day my wife and I picked our son from the orphanage in India. Watching other kids stranded and reading about the history of the orphanage was difficult.

Who would you most like to meet?

Brad Mehldau.

What’s your favourite food?

Nero di Sepia (with linguine.)

Who’s your favourite person on social media right now?

If you mean someone popular or influencers my answer is nobody.

If you could travel in time, where would you go?

Beethoven’s Concert of the 22nd of December 1808. A four-hour concert in which he premiered his 5th and 6th Symphonies. I was lucky enough to watch a re-enactment in Vienna with original instruments, but I would like to go back in time to watch the audience’s reaction. One must remember that these people’s ears were more sensible to key changes and nuances to which we are used to nowadays. Their way of listening to music was in a concert or at home if somebody played an instrument.

What book are you reading right now?

I recently finished The World of Yesterday by Stefan Zwieg. I recommend it big-time.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

I am a bad traveller so anything which can materialise me anywhere I want.

What’s one thing you want to do before you die?

Watch my kids grow and have a family of their own.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

Now I am working on We Will Rock You and that is what I am listening to the most.

In the shower or when you’re working out, what do you sing/listen to?

This is subject to my mood but generally it’s a mix of jazz albums.

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