Modern Music Days (MMD) is committed to promote the performance and understanding of 20th century repertoire and contemporary music in Malta. Accessibility is at the heart of this project. MMD aims to motivate existing audiences and draw in new ones through adventurous programming and informed presentation. MMD also aims to connect composers and musicians with other artists to foster interdisciplinary expression. Another important strand within the framework of MMD is to support the collaboration between local musicians and international artists and institutions.
Modern Music Days is part of the Valletta 2018 Cultural Programme in the run up to the European Capital of Culture year. Modern Music Days is organised by Teatru Manoel and the Malta Association for Contemporary Music with the support of the Ministry for Finance.
Photo by Stephen Buhagiar
Maltese composer Ruben Zahra has been invited to present his work in major festivals all over Europe as well as in Egypt, Tunisia, USA, India and Hong Kong. The music of Ruben Zahra carries fragments from a variety of musical cultures. Influences from classical, rock, jazz and ethnic music are interwoven within the tapestry of his contemporary work. In 1994 Ruben Zahra graduated from the University of Malta in Music & Theatre Studies and was awarded a scholarship by the Italian Cultural Institute to further his studies in composition with Azio Corghi at the National Music Academy of Santa Cecilia in Rome. While in Italy he studied electronic music with Giorgio Nottoli and film music with Ennio Morricone. In 2000 he moved to the USA for a Masters in composition at Mills College in Oakland, California. In 2002 he moved to Los Angeles and spent two years working for the Hollywood film industry as a soundtrack composer. In 2006 he established the organisation ‘Soundscapes’ which develops cross-border co-operation projects between cultural operators and institutions in the Euro-Mediterranean region. Ruben Zahra is the president of the ‘Malta Association of Contemporary Music’.
Built in 1731 by Grand Master Antonio Manoel de Vilhena to provide “Honest Entertainment to the Public”, Teatru Manoel is one of the finest examples of baroque architecture and one of the oldest working theatres in the world. The Theatre has gone through a lot of changes in its history and is today considered to be a magnificent jewel, existing humbly in the very centre of Valletta, Malta’s Capital city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Teatru Manoel is also Malta’s National Theatre and a main contributor to the development of culture. Its mission is to entertain, inform and educate, thereby enriching the cultural life of the audience as well as to provide a platform for artists to excel in their talents.
The Malta Association for Contemporary Music (MACM) is committed to establish new heights in its goal to promote the performance and understanding of contemporary music in Malta. The objectives of MACM are: to promote contemporary music; to connect composers and musicians to promote the performance of contemporary music – especially the music of living composers; to organise concerts, conferences, workshops and events of any other kind designed to promote contemporary music; to facilitate Malta’s involvement in the international music scene; to facilitate exchanges and cooperation with national and international groups or organisations; to compile and disseminate information within and outside Malta.
Modern Music Days promotes the performance and appreciation of twentieth century repertoire and contemporary music in Malta. Through bold programming and expert presentation, Modern Music Days seeks to stimulate existing audiences while attracting new crowds. The project seeks to build a network of connections between composers and musicians with other artists, thus creating an interdisciplinary approach to music.
Modern Music Days is also dedicated to building a relationship between local musicians and international artists and organisations where local talent is given the opportunity to move beyond the local music scene with the help of collaborations with other international acts. Modern Music Days forms part of the 'Islands' thematic areas as part of the Valletta 2018 Cultural programme. Through projects of the sort, Valletta 2018 connects artists and performers taking inspiration from the sea to create new narratives and rekindle old ones that have a cultural resonance today.
The programme includes concerts featuring compositions and performances by Maltese musicians and composers coupled with an international repertoire.