Charlene Farrugia is recognised as one of Malta’s most versatile and imaginative musicians and among today’s most engaging pianists. She’s appeared on major international concert platforms in recitals and concerto performances, and is also in great demand for a wide variety of chamber music groups, playing with some of the world’s leading singers and instrumentalists. Charlene has developed an extensive and exceptionally varied repertoire.
Born in Malta, she studied locally under Dolores Amodio Chircop before moving to the Royal Academy of Music in London, and was a prize winner in ten national and international piano competitions. Her teachers included Diana Ketler, Kenneth Hamilton and Boris Petrushansky.
Charlene has been performing as a soloist with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra for many years, including a successful tour to China in 2014/2015. Of particular note is her recording for Naxos’ Mediterranean of the first piano concerto by Maltese composer Charles Camilleri. She’s developed shared musical interests with an amazing array of performers and has always enjoyed collaborations with other musicians.
Ning Feng with Charlene Farrugia
Date of birth: 12th September, 1986
Star Sign: Virgo
Can you describe your state of mind when playing the piano?
Making music is an immersive experience, and fills an entire presence with its intensity and its ability to hold its receptor. The power that the music has often results in an ambiguous state of consciousness, in which the distinction between inside and outside becomes merged and transcendental.
It is a fact that all your performance dresses are intricately handmade by your mother. In fact you believe that just like music, clothes convey emotions, strength and identity. How would you say your vision has evolved over the years?
More than any other art form, music is freedom. It does not limit you only to reproduce the exact notes written by a particular composer, but instead, it gives you the liberty to understand the mysterious links between notes and imagination. I use the same approach when choosing my dresses, which most of the times, are inspired by the repertoire I play.
Image: Charlene on piano captured by Mario Mintoff
Is fashion an important part of your life?
For me, fashion is an art form. The great designers offer us insights from which we must extract only what can fit our style and our way of being. We must not copy but create.
How would you describe your relationship with money?
I think well! I do not depend on money to make choices and do not place it first.
What do you feel has been your greatest achievement to date in any aspect of your life?
Still being alive, despite everything!
Above: Charlene with Joseph Calleja – Image credit: Ian Noel Pace