Mro Carmelo ‘il-Captain’ Muscat
Maestro and composer Carmelo Muscat better known as ‘Captain’ was born in Mellieha on the 28th March 1928 and he always lived in his home town. For many years he has been recognized as a great musician, specialising in playing the violin and guitar.
At a very early age he had shown interest in music and started learning the guitar. When he was 14 years old he started taking violin lessons. He continued to study and though very young, he wrote many musical compositions including marches, songs, dances, polkas, mazurkas and waltzes.
His nickname, ‘Captain’ goes back to when his elder sister Mari, who was still a student in school came first in her exams. Her teacher gave her a brooch with the words ‘The Captain’ (of the class). Carmelo Muscat was still six months old at that time and she placed this brooch on his brother’s chest and from that day onwards, everybody called him ‘Captain’.
As World War II came to an end, he started giving music lessons to many students including Maltese Pop Star Freddie Portelli, Mary Spiteri and Joe Grech. When he was 25 years old, he set up his own orchestra to play in wedding receptions, parties and dances. He was also chosen as leader of the Malta Cultural Institute Orchestra and has given his services in theatres and recitals with Mro Carmelo Pace in Hotel Phoenicia. He managed to make a living out of music.
By time Mro Carmelo Muscat wrote many musical compositions and his styles include Romantic, Classical, Chamber music, Church music, folk and modern music. His works have also been performed abroad and his symphonies, preludes and marches are played to date in Vienna, Austria, England, Australia and Canada.
Mro Carmelo Muscat had several experiences with international renowned musicians including the world famous violinist Yehudi Menohin when he came to Malta. Yehudi Menohin won first prize in performance and choice of music as he played in a music competition in England with a musical composition written by Mro. Carmel Muscat.
Mro. Carmel Muscat was one of the founding members of the Choral and Orchestral Society ‘Maria Bambina’ and its conductor for ten years from 1979 till 1989. However he still continued giving advices on both music interpretation and composition to members and students attending lessons at the ‘Choral and Orchestral Society’ Maria Bambina.
He died on 16th May 2012. His funeral was held on 18th May 2012 at Mellieha’s Parish church where members of the choir and orchestra interpreted his own composition ‘Messa de Requiem’. Mro. Carmel Muscat was then buried in the Society’s grave at the cemetery ‘Omm il-Ħniena’.