Left: Alessia on the piano (photo: Music Speaks) Right: Alessia with her mother Cynthia
Like many people on the autism spectrum, 13-year-old Alessia Bonnici has developed an extraordinary talent, mastering the piano at a rate which has left her parents stunned.
At her tender age, she is now preparing herself for her debut concert – which will be held this Sunday at the Palazzo De La Salle in Valletta, with all ticket donations going to the Equal Partners Foundation.
“My young daughter happens to be on the autistic spectrum,” Alessia’s mother Cynthia told Lovin Malta. “Alessia has struggled with her condition all her life and till today her social and verbal skills are significantly impaired. We have been extremely lucky to find her musical strength at an early age. Music has definitely helped her come out of her shell and shine in her own way. It has given her confidence and is another means of communication for her.”
However, the concert has a greater goal than simply promoting Alessia’s musical talents and intends to highlight the power of music as a means for inclusion and communication.
“We would like this concert to have a positive impact on society at large,” Cynthia said. “Our main shout will be for veritable inclusion. As a parent, I am fully aware and grateful for the authorities to have mainstreamed kids with difficulties and provide the necessary support for them to follow the curriculum alongside peers, however I feel that we are still far from calling our education system a total inclusive environment.
Alessia practices on stage before her big night (Photo: Music Speaks)
“The message coming across should be one that highlights the fact that people with cognitive difficulties should be given the space to grow and reach their goals.”
Besides Alessia, tomorrow’s concert will also include musicians who have in some way influenced her musical journey, including Spanish tenor Borja Gómez-Ferrer, Beesqueeze guitarist Kriz Haze, Malta-based British composer Jess Rymer, pianist Tricia Dawn Williams and London-based pianist Marcelle Zahra, who is also Alessia’s aunt.
Tickets for this concert have already been sold out, but you can keep yourself updated about Alessia’s musical journey here.