An Award For Emergence

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Sunday 01 November 2009 (Michael Bugeja - The Sunday Times of Malta)

Young Maltese pianist Clifford Borg has had a year to remember. He may have started it badly nursing a leg injury, but he more than made up with his remarkable Origin CD launch performance at St James Cavalier last May and just last month, his original composition Emergence won the Best Music for Digital Film Award at the Swan Lake Moving Image and Movie Awards, an international event organised by SL:MIMA to honour the creation of stimulating visual imagery set to the new age piano music genre. Borg spoke to us about Emergence, the prize it won and his current activities.

Q. It’s been an eventful year for you; a new album and now an international award. You must be feeling pretty elated... It has been rather eventful, hasn’t it? I released my second album Origin locally and internationally, namely via online music store CDbaby.com. I also got to perform at the Manoel Theatre’s Sala Isouard during the recent Notte Bianca and I played in Pozzallo, Sicily too. I’m particularly happy because so far I had never won any award, so this international award has been quite a pleasant gift. Of course, I would still like to receive an award in my own country one day, but I’m still young and I have much more music to offer, so that can still happen.

Q. You didn’t attend the awards ceremony though… I was hoping to attend the ceremony, which took place in Mittweida (Germany) on October 20, but unfortunately I didn’t get much support by way of sponsorship when I sent a request to the local authorities concerned. On a brighter note, I’m still quite chuffed about the award, especially because the jury panel included Emmy-award winning American composer Kurt Bestor.

Q. How did you get to collaborate with the director Markus Mayr? Last year I sustained a leg injury, which gave me a lot of time to work on boosting my internet profile. I came upon this website called www.newagepiano.net and registered myself on it. Not long after that, I started receiving information about the site’s network and activities, which included the annual Swan Lake Moving Image and Movie Awards (SL:MIMA - www.swan-lake-award.org). I uploaded my piano piece Emergence (from the Origin album) after which Markus Mayr got in touch asking me if I was interested in collaborating with him. I immediately accepted, and he went on to produce the winning video. I had no idea what to expect but I’m very pleased with the clip.

Q. A little insight into the theme of the film... The film is a blend of three separate colour themes revolving around the main character, a chap named Paul, who is busy with a new fantastic career-job. The ‘full colour’ scenes portray Paul’s ‘real life’ away from the computers, online social networks, electronic gadgets and so on. This segment of his life is brightly coloured and looks brilliant to his friends and his girlfriend. The scenes with dim colours reflect those moments when Paul is pretending ot be happy with his life, trying to achieve gratification from his achievements. Then there are the ‘black and white’ scenes. These reflect Paul’s innermost emotions, the place deep down where he cannot hide the fact that he is unhappy. Annette (his girlfriend) discovers he has been lying and pretending to be happy over the phone and argues with him that his work has taken over his life, leaving him no time to share with other people.

The video is very realistic, because it reflects an unfortunate truth in today’s day and age where careers and the internet seem to have taken precedence over other, more important things that life has to offer, such as relationships and friendships. It is a reflection of the overbearing materialistic streak that seems to have ingrained itself in ‘modern life’.

Q. How has the album been received overall? So far, I’m pleased to say that it has been very well-received by the public and by the music critics too. Furthermore, music from Origin is going to be used on a DVD release by the German Company Cascade Medien. The documentary about European gardens will be released worldwide, also in the Blu-Ray format.

Q. You’ve often performed abroad and you’re also planning new gigs soon… Yes, it is not the first time that I have played abroad. To date I have performed in London, Paris, Germany, Egypt, Brussels, Amsterdam and Sicily. I do have other gigs coming up and I’m presently engaged with the Bilateral Embassy of Malta in Brussels, where I am due to perform during an exclusive Maltese evening at the Brussels Hilton next month.

I should also be performing at St James’ Church in Piccadilly, London either in December or January. The occasion will be the launch of an exhibition about St John’s Co-Cathedral by French artist Laurent Muller and is being organised by the Malta Tourism Authority and the Malta High Commission in London.

Q. What have you been working on lately…new music, other projects? I’m quite busy working on a new website as well as promoting my music online and sending out the album to various industry contacts. Musically, I’m currently engrossed in my third album, which will be a crossover of various styles. I am also working with Hungarian video director Thomas Popovic, who will be producing video clips to accompany my music. He has already started working on Drifted, my first album.

Clifford Borg official website