Chorus Urbanus was officially set up in 1975 on the initiative of Fr Joseph Gauci and the late Joseph Bezzina. Over many years it has become a major choir drawing members from all over Gozo.
The choir has organised regular master classes delivered by Prof. B.K. Dobreva, former Dean of the State Academy of Music in Sofia and her assistant Ms M. Atanassova, and lately by Mro Marco de Gaspari, the choir master at La Scala, Milano, made possible through a Malta Arts Fund grant. During these last years the members of Chorus Urbanus have also undergone vocal coaching with Juliette Bisazza-Zanni. Moreover, the choir enjoys the professional leadership of Mro Dr John Galea, from the Music Studies Department at the University of Malta, its musical director since 1979.
The choir has performed representative choral works such as Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Gounod’s Messe Solenelle en l’honneur de Sainte Cecile, Puccini’s Messa di Gloria and John Galea’s Missa Ignes Charitatis, Missa Fons Vitae and Missa In Fractione Panis, the latter during the Papal Mass on the Granaries, Floriana, during Pope Benedict XVI visit to Malta. The choir is also the main exponent of Dr Galea’s works written specifically for it. Under his direction, Chorus Urbanus has performed with top musical institutions such as the Eurofilarmonica Fiorentina (Italy), the Manoel Theatre Orchestra (Malta), The Thoresby Colliery Brass Band (UK), the Sofia Symphony Orchestra (Bulgaria), the Kurgan Symphonic Orchestra (Russia), the Sofia Collegium Symphony Orchestra (Bulgaria) and the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra. The choir has also appeared on national and international networks, TVM (Malta), Rete 4 (Italy) and Das Erste ARD (Germany), France 3 (France), RAI 1 and Sat 2000. Recently Chorus Urbanus premiered Karl Fiorini’s work Sinfonietta Pro Populo together with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Brian Schembri.
Touring has formed a major plank in the choir’s consolidation and concert structure. It is the first Gozitan choir to travel abroad for singing engagements. During its past choral tours the choir has been invited to perform in Italy, Switzerland, UK, Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria, Greece and France.
The Choir has a number of CD’s to their credit namely, Brass and Voices together with Thoresby Colliery Brass Band, Nicolò Isouard’s Messa Leggiera and John Galea’s symphonic poem Ġgantija, both with the Sofia Symphony Orchestra, John Galea’s oratorio Il-Qalb ta’ Kristu and its Italian version Il Cuore di Cristo with the Sofia Collegium Symphony Orchestra, published and released by EMI Publishing Milano and Soundscapes of a Mediterranean Culture – Unleash your senses published by Magro Bros. Creativity Centre. The choir is also featured in 1000 voix à la Cathédrale, the grand Christmas Concert screened from Strasbourg in 2005. This concert where Chorus Urbanus represented the Maltese Islands together with another twenty four choirs from the various members of the EU, was published on DVD by Les Noelies (Alsace), Europa Cantat and France 3.
On the strength of its high artistic standards and credentials, Chorus Urbanus was affiliated to Europa Cantat, now European Choral Association – Europa Cantat and given recognition as the first choir from the Maltese Islands to become a full member of this European Federation of Choirs.