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Charles ‘City’ Gatt passes on 20 February 2022

By 21 February 2022No Comments

The Malta Society of Arts sends its heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Charles ‘City’ Gatt on his passing. In 2017, the MSA awarded Charles its prestigious Gold Medal Award in recognition for his contribution to the arts. The MSA truly regrets the loss of a great artist who left his indelible mark on both the visual arts world, as well as the musical one.

The MSA honours the memory of its Gold Medal Awardee Charles ‘City’ Gatt on this sad day. On this occasion, we are sharing some images of the medal award ceremony which was held on Wednesday 6 December 2017 at our Concert Hall, under the patronage of H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, who was the President of Malta at the time.
The Dominic Galea Jazz Trio, who were joined onstage by Charles Gatt himself, accompanied the ceremony with their live music, playing mostly Charles Gatt’s own compositions. For more photos visit:

During the ceremony, Joe Quattromani gave a speech about his long friendship with Charles Gatt and told stories of musical and other adventures. Dr Vince Briffa put some light on Charles Gatt’s lesser known contribution to the visual arts, while MSA President Arch. Adrian Mamo explained how Charles Gatt’s name, especially in relation to the Malta Jazz Festival, has been known and respected for many years in international music circles.


Charles Gatt Biography
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Born in Żebbiegħ, Gatt is popularly known as ‘City’. His interest in both music and painting started more or less at the same time. He joined the Education Department in 1961 and pursued a training course at St Michael’s College of Education. He taught art from 1968 to 1975 when he joined the staff of the School of Music, teaching percussion. He served as principal of the same school (1995-2005).

Gatt furthered his studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA in 1978 and 1979. He formed part of Andy Jaffe’s ensemble, played in David Kikoski’s trio and Joe Mahkolm’s Big Band, and was also a regular percussionist with Boston’s Melrose Symphony Orchestra. He also recorded works for solo percussion by Charles Camilleri whose music he performed at UNESCO-sponsored North-South Encounter in the Netherlands, at London’s Royal Festival Hall and the Barbican Centre. Gatt toured several cities in North Italy playing vibraphone with the Jazz Fantasy Trio from Bergamo. In 2004 he played the Jazzmandu, the Kathmandu Jazz Festival in Nepal. In 2014 he was part of the Ortigia Jazz Festival on vibraphone with the Rino Cirinna Sextet. He gave several master classes, workshops and performances at the Tollwood Festival in Munich and in other cities in Europe.

Gatt has accompanied artists like Albert Mangelsdorff, Bobby Shew, and the National Youth Orchestra from Britain in formal concerts and, in less formal situations, played with Steve Coleman, Joe Lovano, Trilok Gurtu, and Arto Tuncboyaciyan, among others. He played at the Bratislava Jazz Days in Czechoslovakia and at other festivals of contemporary music in Greece, Spain, North Africa, the USSR, and Australia. He has also composed music for jazz and percussion ensemble that have been used as dance routines in various musical situations.Charles Gatt is probably best known locally as Malta’s “father of jazz”, having spearheaded the Malta Jazz Festival in 1991, acting as its musical director for its first fifteen years (1991-2005).

As a member of the local Art Group ‘Start’ his installations were part of exhibitions at ‘Cityspaces’ in Valletta, ‘Malta at War Museum’, Vittoriosa (2005), ‘Borders’ at Pinto Wharf (2004), curated by Raphael Vella Ph.D and ‘Escape’ at the Old Prisons, Citadel Gozo (2003) curated by Austin Camilleri. In 2013 he took part in ‘Re-Visit the Contemporary Face of Faith’ curated by Vince Briffa.

Gatt is a member of the European art group ‘Frequenzen’. Recent exhibitions and venues with this group include Borgo a Mozzano, Italy (2017, 2006) Vesprem, Hungary (2016) ‘Umshlagplatz Coburg’ Germany (2016), Neumarkt a.d. Raab Austria (2015, 2012, 2008), Higueras and Castellon in Spain(2014), Le Rocher d’Ongles , France (2013) Rosenheim, Germany (2009) Ascoli Piceno, Italy (2004, 2009), Triumphforte, Inssbruch (2003), Galerie Hallman Strauss, Munich (2010,2005), Chongju and Gaya, South Korea, Tuchersfeld Frankishe Schweiz Museum, Germany National Museum of Fine Arts, Valletta.

For a short biography of Charles ‘is-City’ Gatt, visit:

You can read more about the Gold Medal Award here: