Date of Birth: 13th June, 1979
Star Sign: Gemini
Main occupation: Singer, artistic director, educator, creative broker
Baritone Joseph Lia graduated in Music from the University of Malta. He then furthered his vocal training at the famous St Petersburg State Conservatoire under the tuition of Prof. Sergei Riazantsev, where he obtained a Masters degree in Chamber Singing, Opera Singing, and Voice Pedagogy. With the support of the MGSS Scholarship, Joseph read for a Doctor of Arts at the same conservatoire.
Joseph is fast making a name for himself, winning competitions both in Russia and Finland and taking part in opera productions in Italy, Russia and his native Malta. He’s also an accomplished recitalist, mastering the lieder and oratorio repertoire. He’s given various solo recitals, and has taken part in various international festivals including the Tallinn Bach Festival and Universe of Music in Moscow. Lia has performed in venues of note, namely the Rachmaninov Hall, the St Petersburg Capella, the Glazunov Hall, the Manoel Theatre, Wienersaal and others.
He’s also served as a judge in various competitions in St. Petersburg, coached several singers and choirs, and invited to give presentations at the Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatoire and Johann School of Music. Joseph currently works for the Arts Council Malta as a creative broker. He is also the founder and artistic director of the Malta International Organ Festival, a visiting lecturer at the University of Malta, and teaches voice at the Malta Society of Arts.
Do you think classical music is something someone either loves or hates?
Although what someone may perceive as beautiful is subjective and depends very much on their upbringing, culture and tastes, when it comes to classical music, one cannot deny that it’s more complex than pop music. Due to this complexity, one may take longer to properly digest and appreciate classical music to the full. There is not only one style or genre of classical music. One may love Mozart, but doesn’t understand Wagner for example, or have a preference to romantic music over baroque, or a symphony over opera. The world of classical music is vast. It’s up to you to explore.
If any of my readers were interested in pursuing a career in opera, what would you recommend them to start with?
Everybody is born with his/her voice colour. I was born as a baritone. I would recommend to first fall in love with the music, start listening to very good singers in order to understand the aesthetics of classical singing, and than start having vocal lessons with someone who really understands the voice, knows the technique and has a good ear for it.
What support systems would you like to see for local music?
Artists supporting each other more.
If you could perform with anyone, who would it be?
Some world renowned opera singer from the past and present.
What, to you, is the best thing in life?
What do you normally like doing while on holiday?
Rest and have fun.