Ruben Zahra (b. 1972) is a composer committed to contemporary expression and Maltese music heritage. His music carries fragments from a variety of musical cultures. Influences from classical, rock, jazz and ethnic music are interwoven within the tapestry of his contemporary work. Ruben Zahra has been invited to present concerts in major festivals all over Europe as well as in Egypt, Tunisia, USA, India, South Africa, Australia and Hong Kong. In 1994 Ruben Zahra graduated from the University of Malta in Music & Theatre Studies and was awarded a scholarship by the Italian Cultural Institute to further his studies in composition with Azio Corghi at the National Music Academy of Santa Cecilia in Rome. While in Italy he studied electronic music with Giorgio Nottoli and film music with Ennio Morricone. In 2000 he moved to the USA for a master’s degree in composition at Mills College in Oakland, California. In 2002 he moved to Los Angeles and spent two years working for the Hollywood film industry as a soundtrack composer. Since 2004 he has been based in Malta and works internationally as a freelance composer. Ruben is also a cultural entrepreneur and promoter of contemporary music. He is director of the culture organisation ‘Soundscapes’, president of the ‘Malta Association for Contemporary Music’, artistic director of ‘Modern Music Days’, programming team member of the ‘Malta International Arts Festival’ and publisher of Encore – Malta’s arts and culture magazine.
Francesca Tranter is a dance practitioner and choreographer trained in Malta at the Tanya Bayona Princess Poutiatine Academy, and London Contemporary Dance School in UK, specialising in Contemporary Dance and Choreography. Later graduating with a Master’s Degree in Performance Dance Studies from the University of Malta, she is a first prize recipient of the Malta Choreographic Group Award and other International Festivals in recognition for her choreographic work. Since 1981 she has taught, choreographed, mentored extensively for many dance institutions, covering a diverse dance practice spectrum of 35 years of developing strong athletic versatile dancers. She was instrumental in bringing numerous international dance companies to Maltese theatres and has created collaborative international exchanges and performances.
She was resident choreographer and dancer with the Tanya Bayona Dance Theatre Company (1987 – 1998) and developed Contemporary classes at The Dance Workshop (1998-2015). Her work has toured to high profile theatres and festivals in Malta, England, Scotland, Poland, Hungary, Belgrade, Italy, Lithuania, Germany, Turkey, Tunis, Portugal, France, Scotland, Germany, Cyprus, Sicily and Greece. She founded Contact Dance Company in 1998 as a vehicle to promote her own choreographic research creating numerous works for CDC as well as independent commissions, collaborating with international choreographers and musicians. She has directed and produced various dance projects and operas including acting as Rehearsal Director for various projects. In 2001 she founded ‘Dance Hybrid Malta’ an intensive week of dance exploration hosting international artists. It is now in its 16th year with the aim of introducing various styles and techniques in Contemporary dance. In 2011 she launched ‘Dance on the Move’, a weekly platform of masterclasses hosting a rotation of celebrated international teachers.
She forms part of the dance studies department at the University of Malta’s School of Performing Arts since its inception in 2010 and is coordinator for The Evening Space, an outreach programme offered by the University of Malta SPA. Recent choreographic works include #3 Dialogue (2014) University International Tour, Iż-Żmien (2014) ŻfinMalta dance tour Erbgħa, the Maltese opera Kantilena (2015), A bark and a Meow (2015) Tabula Rasa fringe festival MIAF+, 50,000 (2016) ŻfinMalta – Tlieta tour, Diaspora (2017) EU presidency Greece and a work in progress related to her present research practice Who am I?, negotiating her signature/style through the perception of two dancers who have worked with her language for several years. This project is linked to a current research in the writing of a manuscript investigating the Legacy of Contemporary Dance in Malta a chronological study of events that impacted and influenced changes towards Contemporary dance in Malta, simultaneously creating a digital archive which will help underpin the identity and development of dance significantly current to the Mediterranean.