Jacob is the eldest of three siblings who are all very musical and contribute regularly to the musical scene in both Gozo and Malta.
His natural musical ability and versatility led him to take up a number of string instruments while still very young, which gave him the opportunity to be involved in all the feasts of the parishes in Gozo, joyfully occupying all his summer weekends.
Such an atmosphere was the perfect opportunity for Jacob to combine his love for music and the church, which eventually also led him to pursue a degree in Sacred Theology at the University of Malta. Since part of his studies involved the classic languages, Jacob is also skilled in the Latin language. He enjoys translating inscriptions one finds in churches, museums and on statues to his friends, complete with knowledgeable commentary about any particular biblical passage or saint in question, including the circumstances surrounding the event or its liturgical setting.
Apart from the art of playing, Jacob’s artistic ability can also be witnessed in his Calligraphy writing which he has explored through much research. In fact he is employed as a calligrapher to embellish Award Certificates of notorious qualifications.
His amicable character combined with a great flare for creativity have proved to be just the right ingredients in the classroom, where in the mornings he can be seen delivering various aspects of religious education to secondary school students, or helping students develop their various abilities through the Prince’s Trust Programme, for which he is co-ordinator. Jacob also holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Educational Mentoring of Teachers, wherein he shares his varied teaching strategies with novice teachers in their educational formation.
Having a very busy and eventful life, Jacob likes to unwind over a glass of wine and good food, in great company.
Jacob was personally invited to perform with Cordia Quartet to perform for H.M the Queen of England.
In high demand for both Church and Civil Wedding Ceremonies and Receptions, Jacob Portelli is renowned for creating just the right romantic touch for the couple’s special day. His harp-playing has also brought comfort to those bereaved, during funerals and memorial services for their loved-ones.
He is regularly engaged to perform in prestigious events such as State Dinners and national gala events presided by the President of Malta and Prime Minister, at Verdala Palace, San Anton Residence and the Grand Master’s Palace.
In 2016, he was personally invited to perform to H.M the Queen of England, Elizabeth II during a Commonwealth event at Malborough House, London. Other high-profile events have included performances during Chogm 2015 meetings, performances for Presidents of EU Heads of State during Arraiols 2017 and dinners for EU Maltese Presidency 2017.
Other prestigious concerts have included collaborations with Fra Alessandro and The Priests. He has also performed in productions of Phantom of the Opera, Faure’s Requiem and Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols. Furthermore, Jacob regularly performs for company dinners, commemorative ceremonies and corporate events.
Jacob holds Diplomas in Harp Performance with Distinction from both the Malta School of Music as well as from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.
Jacob owns two high quality instruments manufactured in Piasco Italy from the world-renowned Harp Manufacturers – Salvi.
Jacob is also proficient in all the other string instruments – violin, viola, cello and double bass – with Performing Diplomas to his name. His fascination with music has also led him to explore a somewhat unusual instrument – the psalter-bowed and plucked. Jacob performs with major ensembles in Malta such as ProMuzika Ensemble, the St James Consort, the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and various other orchestras and chamber music formations throughout the concert season.
Jacob is a founder member of Cordia String Quartet. Together they have been invited to perform in numerous prestigious concerts both locally and abroad, including the Victoria International Arts Festival in Gozo, the August Moon Ball, for Austria’s National Day, in New Delhi and Calcutta under the auspices of Maltese Ambassador for India, at Marlborough House in London for her Majesty the Queen as part of the Commonwealth Celebrations.
He is also a member of the Valletta International Baroque Ensemble (VIBE – the resident ensemble of the prestigious Valletta International Baroque Festival), with whom he plays the harp continuo and baroque cello.