INTERVIEW WITH MUSICIAN RAMONA ZAMMIT FORMOSA

Besides giving numerous recitals in Malta and Gozo, Ramona Zammit Formosa has performed in England, Italy, Austria, Hungary, USA, Belgium, Bulgaria and Portugal. She has dedicated entire solo recitals to the great keyboard masters; Rameau, J S Bach, CPE Bach, Reggio, Mozart, Grieg, and Liszt. During the Biennale held in Malta in June 2005, Ramona gave the first-ever performance on the clavichords built by Dr. George Debono. What does the multi-instrumentalist’s life look like?

Ramona commenced her pianoforte studies in Malta with Fay Griscti Davies, in the Netherlands with Prof Marcel Baudet, then in London with Byrce Morrison. She also studied the flute with Douglas Townshend and harpsichord with Helena Mowatt Brown. Besides the Renaissance and Baroque period. Ramona also specialised in 20th century and contemporary works for the harpsichord.

Together with her husband Silvio Zammit, she has recorded CD s featuring works by Maltese composers and 18th and 19th century Malta-related compositions together with the Gukulari ensemble. She has recently recorded a piano solo album featuring the piano works of Carmelo Pace. Ramona is a Fellow of the London College of Music and teaches at the Malta School of Music. She talks to Eve about performing days after 9/11 and her love of gardening.

Eve: You have premiered in many Maltese compositions, gave numerous recitals on piano, flute, harpsichord and clavichord and performed in various venues. What has been the single greatest challenge in your career so far?

Ramona Zammit Formosa: I prepare to give my best to every concert I perform to my audience, but one of the greatest highlights was a tour in New York in September 2001, just days after the Twin Tower disaster. We could still smell the burning rubble and debris. Another highlight is when I played Addinsell’s Warsaw Concerto for Piano and Symphonic Band under the baton of our dear friend, the late Mro Ronnie Debattista.

Eve: What do you enjoy doing during your time off?

RZF: Gardening, or walking through our old villages admiring the architecture.

Eve: Describe what goes on in your head on a day you’re set to perform?

RZF: For me it is like a normal day, but obviously I don’t do hard chores to remain focused as much as possible.

Eve: Has your dedication to music impacted you negatively in any way?

RZF: To be a performer one has to be very disciplined, thus one’s private and social life may sometimes be restricted.

Eve: Is there somewhere or something you’re hoping to perform in the future?

RZF: I have many projects in the pipeline, which will be given exposure in the coming future.