An open-air concert in honour of assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was abruptly cancelled last night, in the wake of a report musicians had been threatened not to perform.
Informed sources told Lovin Malta last night some musicians who work in the public sector had received threatening phone calls from superiors warning them they could lose their jobs if they were to perform at the concert. This website is not in a position to confirm who had made the phone calls and is encouraging anyone with information to contact us on an anonymous basis.
We are informed the musicians who were allegedly threatened work with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra. Contacted by Lovin Malta, the orchestra’s executive chairman Sigmund Mifsud vehemently denied he or the management had threatened the musicians.
“I never heard of such rumours flying around, although to be fair I am currently abroad,” he said. “I would have imagined any musician who received such threats would have told me about them though.”
Opposition MPs condemned the report, while culture minister Owen Bonnici instantly disassociated himself from it, arguing everybody has the right to perform and urging any musicians who received threats to approach him personally.
Although both sides of Malta’s political spectrum condemned the alleged threats, the concert’s organisers – conductor Michelle Castelletti and violinist Jean Noel Attard – decided to cancel the concert anyway.
“I have not been threatened in any way, shape or form – far from it and I refuse to be used as a pawn in a political game,” Castelletti said on Facebook. “It is with a saddened heart and immense disillusionment that I am hereby cancelling what was supposed to be a ‘silent demonstration’ of unity, where music was to speak instead of words.”
Lovin Malta didn’t report that Castelletti had been threatened personally, but that such threats had been made to individual musicians.
Contacted by Lovin Malta this morning, the second organiser – Jean Noel Attard – refused to deny he had heard of musicians receiving threats before the report was published.
“I can’t confirm or deny that. We want this to end here; the whole point of the concert was it was supposed to be a united front and not a controversial one.”
Similarly, Attard refused to confirm or deny he and Castelletti had been thinking about cancelling the concert since yesterday morning – several hours before the Lovin Malta report was published – in light of the threatening phone calls to musicians.
Castelletti couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.