Who We Are
The Jubilate Deo Choir was founded by Rev. Paul Caruana in 1974 as a girls’ choir and sang for the first time at Christmas that same year. Within a few months male voices were added and the enlarged choir sang for the first time in the Good Friday celebrations of 1975. The choir eventually became an SATB choir with the introduction of adult female voices.Under the guidance of its music directors – Rev. Paul Caruana (1974-1983), Rev. Richard Borg (1983-1985) and Rev. René Vella (1985-2004) who was at times assisted by Lawrence Scicluna – the choir gradually established itself as one of Malta’s leading sacred music choirs.
Ever since the choir’s first big occasion in 1980 – performing works by the compatriot prolific composer of sacred music Joseph Fenech (1917-2010) –the Jubilate Deo Choir has performed at the Teatru Manoel on many occasions, took part in the BBC production “Songs of Praise” that was televised worldwide and sang during the visit to Malta of Pope John Paul IIin 1990.
In summer 2004 the choir was entrusted to Christopher Muscat who immediately embarked on a number of ambitious training and performance projects. Following the successful first Maltese performance of Camille Saint-Saëns’ Oratorio di Natale in December 2005 the Jubilate Deo Choir had the opportunity to perform alongside the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra on a number of occassions, most notably the revival of Paolino Vassallo’s Messa da Requiem(2006), Charles Camilleri’s Il-Wegħda(2007), Joseph Fenech’s Missa Sancte Joseph (2008) and the MPO Christmas Concert (2012). In 2013 the choir was awarded two Silver Medal Diplomas at the 5th International Festival of Sacred Music held in Rome for the categories Sacred Polyphonic Music a cappella and Contemporary Sacred Music.
Over the years, the choir’s quest for excellence in the field of sacred and liturgical music has been rewarded by a number of prestigious invitations to animate the liturgy on important occassions at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mdina and St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta (Malta). In July 2013 the choir also had the unique opportunity to sing at St Peter’s Basilica (Vatican) accompanied by the Vatican organist Gianluca Libertucci.
Besides the choir’s increasing reputation for its interpretation of a cappella sacred music, the choir’s own Cappella Gregoriana has in recent years created a revived interest in the art of plainchant singing and is widely regarded as the leading ensemble of this genre in the Maltese Islands.The most recent formative development was the setting up of a children’s choir in 2010, the Pueri Cantores Jubilate Deo. Besides serving as training grounds for young choristers who intend to proceed to the adult choir at a later stage, the Pueri Cantores also provides a comprehensive professional musical, vocal and spiritual formation to its members.
In June 2013, the Jubilate Deo Choir was collectively awarded Ġieħ in-Naxxar by the Naxxar Local Council for its achievements in the field of sacred music.
Christopher MuscatMusic Director
Recipient of first prizes in the Joyce Dixey Competition (UK) in 2000, the Jaume Dotras Serrabella Polyphonic Composition Competition (Spain) in 2006 and the APS Bank Composition Competition (Malta) in 2012, Christopher Muscat has been described by the local press as “a young composer of outstanding talent” (The Sunday Times) and the “stark originality” (The Malta Independent) of his works has earned him an ever-increasing reputation. His works have been performed in many important European music centres in Italy, England, Finland, Czech Republic, Spain, Belgium, Poland, Russia, Germany and the USA. Career highlights include a performance at the prestigious Philharmonie in Berlin (2006) and performances of his works at International Festival L’Europe en Musique held in Brussels (2012 and 2013).
As a conductor, Muscat was mainly responsible for the revival of Maltese romantic composer Paolino Vassallo and over the years has also premiered a number of works by contemporary composers. His “clear conducting style” (It-Torċa), “high quality conducting” and “accomplished conducting technique” (The Sunday Times) have received constant public and critical praise: “there was lots of understanding between the internationally acclaimed clarinettist David Campbell and the conductor” (The Sunday Times of Malta); “[Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9] was definitely one of the best performances by the National Orchestra of Malta” (The Times of Malta); “Christopher Muscat at the helm of the brilliant Orkestra Nazzjonali showed the joy of playing Pergolesi’s delightful baroque music and demonstrated the timeless emotional validity of this emotionally-charged composition” and “under Christopher Muscat the National Orchestra of Malta conveyed Cimarosa’s joyful passion to the desired effect” (Opernnetz).
Muscat is very much active in the field of sacred music having taught on the sacred music course at the University of Malta amongst other activities. He currently teaches sacred musicat the Archbishop’s Seminary (Major) and is the Music Director of the Jubilate Deo Choir. Muscat has conducted numerous special occasions at St John’s Co-Cathedral and Mdina Metropolitan Cathedral in Malta as well as Westminster Cathedral in London and St Peter’s Basilica (Vatican).
For many years he was the chorus master for operas held at the Teatru Manoel and as founding conductor of VOCALISE (a voluntary organisation aimed at providing training and opportunities for talented singers), Muscat has coached and conducted a number of productions, amongst these Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Saint-Saëns’ Christmas Oratorio, entirely made up of young Maltese singers.
Christopher Muscat holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in music studies from the University of Malta as well as a Master of Music degree (with the rare honour of pass with distinction) from the University of Surrey where he studied with Sebastian Forbes composition and choral conducting), Steve Goss (composition) and Nicholas Conran (orchestral conducting). Muscat is a much sought after teacher of composition and conducting and is regularly invited to judge international vocal, instrumental and composition competitions.
Pueri CantoresChildren's Choir
The future of our choir is here! Jubilate Deo has established in 2010 a children’s choir, the Pueri Cantores Jubilate Deo, with the aim of training children and youths in music, especially sacred music, and develop their singing abilities to eventually join the adult choir. The children’s choir rehearses once a week under the direction of choir mistress Daniela Callus. Along these last years the Pueri Cantores have built a sound and varied sacred music repertoire which is performed during liturgical services and in the annual festive concerts of the Jubilate Deo choir. In addition, the choir has already ventured in ambitious projects as regards the contemporary choral repertoire, especially with their participation in the 2013 performance of Karl Jenkins’ ‘The Peacemakers’, directed by the composer himself alongside the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra. This was an unforgettable experience!
Children from the age of 6 years are encouraged to be part of this project and join the Pueri Cantores. They will be offered musical tuition for free and an experience not to be missed! If interested please contact Daniela on firstname.lastname@example.org
Cappella GregorianaGregorian Chant Cappella
In 2004, the choir’s current music director embarked on a project to revive the performance of gregorian chant during liturgical services and sacred music concerts. The male sections of the choir started training in gregorian chant notation and repertoire and the Cappella Gregoriana Jubilate Deo was formed. The Cappella performs regularly in liturgical services especially during Christmas and Easter festivities. It has by now become a standard for Jubilate Deo Choir concerts to feature gregorian chant and in recent years the Cappella Gregoriana was also invited to perform plainchant during concerts and festivals.