Carmelo Muscat il-Captain
Carmelo Muscat (1928-2012) better known as il-Captain was a Maltese violinist, guitarist and composer from Mellieħa.
He was born on 28 March 1928 and lived in his hometown throughout his life, making it the centre of his musical life too.
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 goes back to his childhood when his elder sister Mari, who was still a student in school came first in her exams. Her teacher gave her a badge with the words "The Captain" (of the class). Carmelo Muscat was only six months old at that time but she placed this badge on her brother’s chest and from that day onwards, everybody called him "il-Captain".
As World War II came to an end, he started giving music lessons to many students including some who went on to become household names: Freddie Portelli, Mary Spiteri and Joe S. Grech. When he was 25 years old, he set up his own orchestra to play at wedding receptions, parties and dances.
As a young violinist, he one of the founding members of the Choral and Orchestral Society Maria Bambina and served as its conductor for ten years. He remained as the society's music interpretation and composition advisor until the time of his death.
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 at the Hotel Phoenicia. He managed to make a living out of music, and as such was one of the few professional Maltese musicians of his generation.
Muscat wrote many musical compositions in various styles and forms: romantic, classical, chamber music, church music, folk and modern music. His works have also been performed outside Malta and his symphonies, preludes and marches have played to date in Austria, England, Australia and Canada.
Among his treasured encounters is one with the world-famous violinist Yehudi Menuhin during his visit to Malta. Menuhin went on to play the music of Muscat in England during a music competition.
Carmelo Muscat il-Captain died at the age of 84 on Wednesday 16 May 2012. His funeral was held on Friday 18 May at the Mellieħa Parish Church at 15:00.
- Choral and Orchestral Society Maria Bambina - official website