Evaristo Azzopardi (1911-2001) was a Maltese musician and music tutor in Melbourne, Australia.
Evaristo Azzopardi was born in Valletta and was taught music and violin by his father, a well-known violinist himself. He was an extremely talented violinist as well as a very competent accordionist and pianist. He was also a qualified piano tuner and musical instrument repairer with qualifications from London where he had gone to study at a college of technology. He played at the Royal Opera House and with the British Institute Orchestra.
Life in Australia
In 1952 Azzopardi migrated to Australia. At the Dockyard where he was working, he entertained the workers at lunchtime by playing the piano for them. When the square dancing craze hit Australia, he was very much in demand in the evenings performing at these occasions. He formed a band to play at Maltese dances for those who came from Malta or the Middle East. His band was in demand at Maltese weddings.
He will be remembered as a well-respected teacher of guitar, piano accordion as well as of course the violin. He started his career as a teacher in 1956 and continued until a year before he died. He was particularly popular with the Italian community and many of their children were tutored by him. He formed and conducted choirs, both Maltese and Italian, to perform at various functions. He also organized and performed at concerts for the St Peter Clavier Society at Kew.
His expertise as a musical repairer was appreciated by Suttons who at the time had a great music shop in Melbourne. He was their musical repairer until he retired when he turned 60. He also repaired instruments for other musical shops and musicians.
He was a prolific composer of music and believed that musical knowledge and talent should be challenged. His themes cover a wide range from his love of Our Blessed Lady to his love of his homeland. His works would vary from complicated pieces and their variations to simple melodic tunes, which would then be used to challenge the musician by the variations he composed. He had even started using computer software to create musical compositions. His compositions include:
- Oratorio on the Resurrection
- Oratorio on the Birth of Christ – both these oratorios are set to lyrics by Manwel Nicholas Borg
- Masses: two in Italian and six in Maltese,
- Songs: he wrote a number of songs, some of which have been played on Australian television,
- Other compositions, including Tarantellas and Concertinas for violin.
Awards and recognitions
Evaristo Azzopardi was awarded the Manoel de Vilhena Award for his contribution to the propagation of Maltese Arts and Culture in Australia (1991).
Azzopardi was married to Stella Bruno (d 1993). He died on 5 July, 2001, survived by 3 children, 10 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.