Mro Hermann Farrugia Frantz

Musical Director
 
Early Music Studies
Hermann Farrugia Frantz was born on 15th October, 1974. He started his first music lessons with the 12th May Band Club, Zebbug, Malta, where he started off playing the Althorn. During this time Hermann attained his first certificates in theory from the Royal College of Music of London.
 
Pursuing his studies with Dr. Charles Zammit, Hermann conducted his musical studies in theory, harmony and history of music. Over the years these three areas have gained him various certificates from several overseas colleges. On bringing to an end his musical studies with Dr. Zammit, Hermann pursued further his studies with Ronnie Debattista. Not only did he further his studies in harmony and history of music, but he also took on studies in orchestration, counterpoint and fugue. Following years of intensive studies, it was in November, 1995 when Hermann received his first diploma from the Victoria College of Music (A. Mus. V.C.M.) which was then followed by his second diploma, attained in June 1997, from the London College of Music (A. Mus. L.C.M.).
 
 
Certificate of Honour
During a Music and Literature concert, held in the Zebbug main square in October 1999, Hermann was honored with a certificate, from the Local Council of Zebbug, in appreciation for his musical works, particularly those carried out in the said locality.
 
 
University Studies
It was in October, 1999, when in pursuit of his musical studies, Hermann started attending a course at the University of Malta. He was hereby under the tuition of various musical directors, namely, Dr. Dion Buhagiar, Prof. Joseph Vella, Dr. John Galea, Prof. Charles Camilleri and Prof. Michael Laus.
 
During his University studies Hermann chose to specialize in composition, and thus, his final dissertation was a portfolio of 3 compositions, namely: Pierrot for woodwind, brass and percussion; Ave Maria unaccompanied SATB choir, and Ritual Dance for Clarinet in Bb and piano. These works were presented during the final year of studies in fulfillment with the University requirements for the attainment of a BA (Hons) in music in November, 2002.
 
 
Music Studies in Aberystwyth Arts Centre in Wales
Whilst Hermann was still reading music at the University of Malta, an invaluable opportunity came his way. In 2001, in fact, Hermann was chosen by the Maltese composer Charles Camilleri, to follow a course in composition at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre in Wales. Each participant in the course had to present a personal composition to be executed in public at the Musicfest 2001, at the Aberstwyth Arts Centre theatre. For this occasion Hermann composed a piece of music entitled “Mask”, for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano. He also presented another composition by himself, namely 4 expressions for 2 Bb clarinets, with Godfrey Mifsud and Donny McKenzie playing.
 
During this course of studies Hermann was under the tuition and guidance of world known tutors like David Campbell (clarinet); Gerard McCrystal (saxophone); Stephen Sterling (horn); Madeleine Mitchell (violin); Jane Highfield (voice); John Metcalf – Charles Camilleri (composition); Andrew Ball (piano) and Franz Anton Krager (conducting), to name a few.
 
 
‘Windows on Music’ Sala Isouard-Manoel Theatre
In October, 2001, the University of Malta started organizing a concert, by the name ‘Windows on Music’, every first Thursday of the month and generally at the Sala Isouard – Manoel Theatre. These concerts gained instant success and popularity. A considerable audience, including musicians and people with an avid interest in music, attended every month. Local music critics attended too and published reviews in various local newspapers.
 
The Windows on Music concert given in February 2002, was labelled “A concert of 20th Century Music”. In this concert the music played included works by composers like Bela Bartok, Karl Fiorini, Hermann Farrugia Frantz, Joseph Vella and Charles Camilleri. The musical work presented by Hermann in the concert was entitled “Brass Quintet no. 1” and was played by the Mediterranean Brass Quintet. This piece was much acclaimed both by the audience and critics alike. In fact, here follow some quotations taken from the Times of Malta following the concert.
Hermann Farrugia is a name whom we should also look out for. His Brass Quintet is a mélange of fast, direct music married with a deep feeling for solitude and mystery. The arrestingly dominant opening was superbly captured by the Mediterranean Brass Quintet who also negotiated the very hard passages with aplomb.
An intensely moving second movement was matched by a blistering conclusion that had the audience in the Sala Isouard in raptures”. - FENECH GERALD, THE TIMES, FEBRURARY 12, 2002
Hermann Farrugia’s Brass Quintet follows the three movement fast-slow-fast pattern with relevant contrasts. The writing is evenly spread among the five instruments each one being given both solo and ensemble work as well as duo sections. The work is carefully written and pleasant and, like Fiorini’s, it has an easy accessibly.
The performance by the Mediterranean Brass Quintet, made up of Aaron Vassallo and Daniel Vella, 1st and 2nd trumpets respectively, Charles Abela, French horn, and Jesmond Azzopardi and Jesmond Camilleri Trombone and Tuba respectively, was effective with clearly enunciated well pitched notes if somewhat limited in dynamics”. - XUEREB CECILIA, THE SUNDAY TIMES, FEBRUARY 17, 2002
 
Band Director
Mro. Hermann Farrugia Frantz was officially designated as Musical Director of the 12th May Band, Zebbug, in December, 1999. Before this assignment Hermann had already served as Assistant Director. He worked and is still working hard with the band which under Hermann’s direction gave concerts in prestigious theatres like the Phoenicia, Palazzo Vilhena Mdina, the Corinthia and the Palace Hotel. Other concerts with the same band took place at the University Auditorium, at the Eden Century Cinema 16, St. Julians; at the Radisson SAS, St. Julians and another at the Mediterranean Conference Centre. Among the pieces he directed, Hermann Farrugia Frantz gave us the whole L.V. Beethoven’s Symphony no. 5 and The Cavalleria Rusticana (Pietro Mascagni). These concerts were a great success and gained the praise of the music critics as quoted in the local papers.
 
Another achievement for Mro. Hermann Farrugia Frantz was when he was appointed Band Director of the Marija Assunta Band Club of Gudja in the year 2001. With this band he gave a concert of sacred music in the Gudja Parish (Arcimatrici ) Church. Among the works executed in this concert we find the Halleljah Chorus from G.F. Handel’s Messiah. This programme was highly acclaimed and in fact Canon Evan Caruana, the Parish Priest at that time, wrote to Mro. Hermann congratulating him on this achievement.
I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate you on the manner with which you prepared and directed the Academy on the 275th anniversary of the Fraternity of Our Lady of the Cincture in Gudja.
It is important that the pieces of music played reflect the expertise of the Band Master and the band players. I feel that this academy achieved this aim”. - Canon Even Caruana, Parish Priest – 12th September, 2003.
Also, and uniquely, for the Ghaqda Muzikali Marija Assunta Band Club, Mro. Hermann wrote the music for the Cantata Insellmulek Omm taghna Marija (We greet you Mother Mary) which is played and sung on the lyrics of Fr. George Mercieca during the feast of Our Lady of the Assumption celebrated in Gudja on the 15th August. This Cantata was written for the band, SATB choir, Tenor and Bass and performed with success for the first time on the eve of the feast of 2004 and played each year since. In fact this year it was executed for the 6th time.
 
 
Musical Director of Choirs and Orchestras
In March, 2006, Mro. Hermann was officially appointed Musical Director of the Parrochial Choir St. Cecila of Siggiewi. With the help of Fr. Albert Buhagiar, the choir, under the direction of Mro. Hermann made a great improvement. Today the Choir participates in the religious functions for the feast of St. Nicholas at Siggiewi and also, when the occasion arises, gives concerts.
 
In the following April, with the help of his wife Stephania, Mro. Hermann conceived the choir “Coro Bel Canto”. In a relatively short time, this choir became popular and was asked to give its services in various religious functions and concerts. The last concert given was accompanying the orchestra at St. John’s Co-Cathedral, Valletta in June, 2009. Having attended the concert, Cecilia Xuereb published her critique in The Times of Malta:
Hermann Farrugia Frantz was a young conductor currently reading for a Master’s Degree in Composition at the University of Malta. Throughout the evening he was in command of the orchestra (led by Marcelline Agius) which respond well to his direction, bringing out a variety of nuances, particularly in the Vella work”. - XUEREB CECILIA, THE SUNDAY TIMES, JUNE 14, 2009
Following a successful trial of high performances, in September 2009, Mro. Hermann had the pleasure of being appointed as Provincial Maestro di Cappella by the Order of Fanciscan Minors in Malta.
 
 
Compositions
Mro. Hermann Farrugia Frantz composed various pieces for the orchestra, for solo instruments and also chamber music. He also wrote many merry band marches, sombre funeral marches and a good collection of musical arrangements.
 
The Vice-Mayor of Zebbug, Emmanuel Cutajar, wrote this after a concert given by the 12th May Band under the direction of Mro. Hermann Farrugia Frantz:
This year, the musical pieces chosen for the annual concert were played by the 12th May Band under the directorship of Mro. Hermann Farrugia Frantz. One of the works played was “Dun Karm – Fil-hlewwa tal-Ghanja” composed by Mro. Hermann himself. This piece, comprised a medley of well-known sacred hymns, written by our national poet Dun Karm Psaila, joined harmonically and melodiously together in a piece pleasant to the ear”.
 
Conclusion
At present Mro. Hermann Farrugia Frantz is working incessantly, as Choir and Orchestra Director in various parishes during liturgical functions and concerts, and also as Band Director. He is now reading for a Masters’ degree in composition under the expert tuition of Professor Joseph Vella. Mro. Farrugia Frantz is also a music teacher in a number of government schools which make part of St. Theresa College.
 
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