Music Research Institute

In Memoriam

* Professor Emeritus Akin Euba d. April 14, 2020

* Professor Mosunmola Omibiyi Obidike (Nigeria) d. May 2016

*Professor Willie Anku (Ghana) b. July 25, 1949 d. February 1, 2010

*Professor Charles Camilleri (Malta) b. 1931 d. 2009

In Memoriam: Maltese Composer Charles Camilleri (1931-2009)

by Laura Falzon

                  The Maltese composer Charles Camilleri died on January 3rd 2009 at the age of 77. He had suffered a stroke in summer 2007 from which he never recovered.

                Charles Camilleri was born in Malta on the 7th September of 1931. Initially establishing himself as a piano accordion prodigy, he started composing at an early age. His early works bore a strong reference to Maltese traditional music and it was during this period that he inculcated into his music the ethnic hues that he sought from Maltese traditional music —Ghana. As well as creating his own distinctive style that characterized his early compositional period, like Bartok, Camilleri’s ethnographic study of folk music, his transcriptions and the music that he wrote as a result of his research, helped establish a national music identity for Malta. Works like his orchestral “Malta Suite” and “Times of Day” for piano feature traditional Maltese folk tunes. In these works, Camilleri manages to sensuously depict the subtle yet poignant characteristics of each individual tune with so much intensity that one can almost feel the stillness of Malta’s summer afternoons, experience the gaiety of the Maltese festa and the bright blinding colours of the Mediterranean sea which surround the islands. Following this “nationalistic” period, Camilleri became increasingly interested in exploring further the roots of Mediterranean music leading to compositions such as his piano concerto “Maqam” or his flute solo “Sama’i” and “Song of Olympus . His compositional style culminated into what has been termed as “universal” utilizing contemporary techniques typified in such works as “Missa Mundi” for organ or his “Leningrad” piano concerto.

                Camilleri’s music is published by such publishers as Novello, Roberton, Lengnick, Boosey & Hawkes and Metropolis. His many works include orchestral works, chamber works, solo instrumental works, vocal works and choral works. His works have been performed all over the world. Like Berio and Xenakis, Camilleri’s work represents a balance between music as a local language and music as a universal horizon over which we all meet.  

Please see:


The author, flutist Laura Falzon’s long term collaboration and friendship with Charles Camilleri resulted in many works written for her by the composer including DIAPHAINON and INTERCHANGEABLE GALAXIES for flute and piano, solo flute works including FRACTALS, SONG OF OLYMPUS (pub. Robertson), DESERT SONGS (pub. Metropolis), SONATINA RUSTICA and RITUAL MEDITATIONS; works with orchestra including ESPACE VOLANTE, the FLUTE CONCERTO and DIVERTIMENTO, and other chamber works. Falzon performed his works extensively around Europe in countries including Malta, England, Scotland, Greece, France, Finland, and the Channel Islands as well as in the US. She has also recorded his music and written about it. She presently lives in New York City and teaches at Columbia University’s Teachers College.


*Professor Henrietta Yurchenco, (USA) b. 1916 d. December 10, 2007


*Dr. Rachel Amelia Eubanks D.M.A. (USA)b. 1922 d. April 8, 2006*


*Lucius R. Weathersby PhD b. 1968 d. March 15, 2006*


*Dr. Samha El-Kholy b. July 27, 1925 d. January 25, 2006*

Noted Egyptian musicologist-ethnomusicologist Samha El-Kholy passed away on January 25th in Cairo after a short illness. Against the wishes of her parents, she became one of the first Egyptians to study music abroad when she decided to move to Scotland, where she received her doctoral degree at the University of Edinburgh under the guidance of noted British scholar Henry George Farmer. When the Cairo Conservatoire opened in 1958, Dr. El-Kholy became its first musicologist; it is here that she met her future husband, composer Gamal Abdel-Rahim. From 1972-1981 she was the Dean of the Cairo Conservatoire, and from 1982-1985 she was the President of the Academy of the Arts University in Cairo, becoming the first woman in Egypt to hold those administrative positions. A visiting Fulbright scholar and teacher at the University of South Florida in Tampa from 1987-1988, Dr. El-Kholy served on the board of the International Society for Music Education (ISME) from 1958-1961 and 1984-1988. She was the author of numerous articles and several books, including The Function of Music in Islamic Culture, Nationalism in Twentieth-Century Music (in Arabic), and A Festschrift for Gamal Abdel-Rahim (co-authored with American musicologist John O. Robison). Dr. El-Kholy was one of the key figures in the creation and development of the world-famous blind girl’s orchestra in Egypt. A tireless promoter of contemporary Egyptian composers, she organized several concerts annually of music by Egyptian composers struggling for recognition, and was instrumental in helping them to find outside funding to study in foreign countries. As a professor emeritus at the Cairo Conservatoire, she taught until her death last January. (Contributed by John O. Robison)

*Joshua Uzoigwe (Nigeria) b. July 1, 1946 d. October 2005*


* Ki Mantle Hood (USA) b. 1918  d. July 31, 2005*


* Robert Mawuena Kwami (Ghana,/UK/ SA) b. 1954 d. March 15, 2004*

*John Mayer (India/U.K. b. 1930 d. March 9, 2004*

*Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson (USA) b. 1932 d. March 2, 2004*

*Nori NkeAka (Cameroon/ Nigeria/USA) b. 1957 d. February 5, 2004*


*His Eminence, Paulos Cardinal Tzadua b. August 27, 1921 d.  December 11, 2003 Eparchy of Asmara in Addifini, Ethiopia*
Cardinal Archbishop Emeritus of Addis Ababa
Primate of the Roman Catholic Church in Ethiopia and Eritrea


[Home] [About Us]  [Intercultural Music]   [MRI Press]   [Publications]  [Purchasing Options]   [Distributor]   [Events]   [Memoriam]   [Contact]