Malta’s Little Piano Star

The recent Malta International Music Festival saw the participation of one of Malta’s youngest promising pianists, nine-year-old Amy Borg, who was one of two Maltese students to be awarded a scholarship to participate in the forthcoming ClaviCologne International Piano Festival and Competition. Well ahead of her visit to Cologne in March 2014, Amy shares something of her musical experience and of her delight in being one of the two students awarded this scholarship.

I started learning the piano three years ago, and I love all music, but most especially Mozart and Bach. I have passed five exams with distinction and won the prize for highest overall mark amongst all Maltese candidates in grades 2 and 5. I go to the Johann Strauss School of Music in Valletta, and my teacher is Ms. Irina Fedčenko Carbonaro who is from Lithuania but who lives in Malta.” Amy explains how this teacher has a very down-to-earth approach, is very knowledgeable and experienced. Being a professional pianist herself, she is also a role model for Amy. Her teacher is now actively working with her to improve her playing technique, and on expanding her repertoire.

Amy explains more about her participation in the festival . “I became aware of this festival after meeting Andriana Yordanova, a Bulgarian soprano and voice technique teacher, during a performance at the music school. Ms. Yordanova was amongst the organizers of the festival, and after listening to me playing, invited me to participate.”

The Malta International Music Festival, the first and only international music festival of its kind in Malta, aims to provide the best learning experience for everyone involved, by combining an intensive educational program with a series of outstanding concerts presented by world-class musicians. In this context, Amy was asked to rehearse a number of musical pieces, which she played and refined during Master Classes with music professors Yuri Didenko, Vasily Scherbakov and Alexander Zolotarev. Eventually she also recited these pieces in different locations across Malta.

This has not been Amy’s first experience of the kind. Apart from performing in diverse concerts around Malta over the past years, in 2012 she performed at the International Summer School and Festival for Pianists at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, attending Master Classes hosted by the internationally renowned British concert pianist Murray McLachlan and by Professor of Piano and Composition Douglas Finch. More recently, she was invited to attend a prestigious Master Class by Hugh Tinney, one of Ireland’s foremost concert pianists, at the Embassy of Ireland in Malta.

I ask Amy about her most exciting and satisfying moment in this experience. “It was when I was asked to open the final Gala Concert in Sala Isouard, at the Manoel Theatre, in Valletta. Certainly this little girl has the kind of ‘get up and go’ that can get her places. She is one of the names to keep in mind for future cultural events around the island and possibly beyond.