Renowned composer and conductor Joseph Vella dies

Gozitan-born Vella, an important figure on the local music scene, was the first resident director of the National Philharmonic Orchestra

Major local composer and conductor Professor Joseph Vella has died aged 76
Major local composer and conductor Professor Joseph Vella has died aged 76

Professor Joseph Vella, a major figure on the local music scene, died on Sunday at the age of 76.

Born in Gozo, the well known composer and conductor was band master of the La Stella Philharmonic Society in Gozo for 48 years, up to his death.

He was also artistic director of the Astra Theatre, where he directed the national orchestra through several classical pieces.

Vella was the first resident director of the National Philharmonic Orchesta, and served for 40 years as the director of the Count Roger Band Club in Rabat, Malta. In 1994 he was appointed Associate Professor of Music at the University of Malta.

Offering her condolences to Vella’s family, Gozo minister Justyne Caruana described Vella as a “musical icon, both on a local and international level”. She said he would be remembered for his love and vast knowledge of music, and his dedication to it, adding that he would remain known as one of Malta’s best contemporary composers.

Vella’s last public appearance was last Saturday, when he presented his entire musical archive to the ‘Il-Hagar’ museum in his birth town, Victoria.

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