Budding musician Alessia Bonnici has been exploring her love for music since 2012. As a teenage pianist with autism, she engages with music in a distinctive way, expressing a vast world of lived experiences that she is unable to express verbally. Her natural love for music motivated her to pursue her studies. She is a student at the Malta School of Music, playing the piano at Grade 8 level.
At Malta School of Music Alessia studied for 8 years with Rosetta Debattista, an acclaimed pianist and Music Therapist who has occupied a pivotal role in Alessia’s musical journey, by guiding and challenging her with much sensitivity every step of the way. Recently Alessia started studying with Gabi Sultana, an internationally acclaimed soloist and chamber musician. Alessia has also studied intermittently with other celebrated pianists who have posed a significant influence in the shaping of this journey. These include Marcelle Zahra, Veronique Vella, Tom Armitage and Tricia Dawn Williams. Alessia’s passion for music compelled her to explore new instruments. Today she plays the violin at a grade 5 level with Mateusz Kuzma, and more recently, the viola with Nadia Debono also at School of Music.
Alessia had her first concert ‘Music Speaks’ at Palazzo De La Salle in Valletta in 2018, where she was heard playing alongside a number of established local and foreign artists that influenced her musical studies. She was invited to play for Hon. Evarist Bartolo at the Education Ministry in Floriana and had the honour to play in the Teatru Ebe Stignani in Imola, Italy where she participated in a concert ‘I Bemolli Sono Blu’.
In addition to her performing career Alessia enjoys volunteering to play the piano in nursing homes, bringing musical joy to the elderly residents who always welcome her with much enthusiasm. So far she has performed in Casa Antonia and Jasmine Nursing home and looks forward to resume these activities when Covid restrictions are lifted.
This year with the help of Rosetta and her mum, Cynthia Bonnici, Alessia took part in a music video that brought together a team of professional artists. Through this video Alessia shared her beautiful narrative which speaks about her love and joy for music. A movie that will hopefully provide inspiration and give hope to other youngsters who like Alessia might be facing challenges in their lives.
Through the making of a short film, this project will attempt to communicate Alessia’s unique relationship with music, and celebrate her multiple abilities while respectfully acknowledging the challenges which she faces. As the main protagonist of this film, Alessia’s different perspective was the driving force behind the aesthetic language and research which was developed by her collaborators and which we hope to communicate to our audience. The creation of this short film is now being employed as a catalytic agent within a series of workshops with the public, encouraging a positive turn in participants’ attitudes towards persons with diverse abilities.
(Photo Credit: Therese Debono)