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The Three Palaces 2023

Tricia Dawn Williams - Pianist

The Worms Crawl In by Ruben Zahra (b. 1972)

for Toy Piano & Electronics

Marċ Tal-Imwiet from Knejjes III by Alex Vella Gregory (b. 1984)

for Piano

The Banshee by Henry Cowell (1897 – 1965)

for String Piano

Autumn Leaves by Stephen Montague (b. 1943)

for Piano & Electronics

Tenebrae by Nicholas Bacri (b. 1961)

for Piano

Demonic Thesis by John Psathas (b. 1966)

For Piano & Electronics

Violent Dreams by Ruben Zahra (b. 1972)

for Piano

Selection from Makrokosmos & Metamorphoses by George Crumb (1929 – 2022)

for Amplified Piano & Toy Piano

Rain-Death Variations

Clowns at Night

Perilious Night

A Prophecy of Nostradamus

Programme Note

Tenebrae by Nicolas Bacri is a composition shrouded in both musical and linguistic significance. In Latin, it translates to 'darkness' or 'obscurity,' a thematic anchor for pianist Tricia Dawn Williams, who embraces works resonating with this enigmatic essence.

The performance unveils with Ruben Zahra's The Worms Crawl In, an eerie lullaby for Kawai Toy Piano and back track, inspired by 'The Hearse Song’. It marries a childlike melody with verses evoking themes of burial and decay.

Continuing the exploration of mortality, Alex Vella Gregory's Marċ tal-Imwiet emerges from the Knejjes piano cycle's third volume. It delves into the histories of Valletta's 24 churches, drawing inspiration from the Franciscan Minors' Church of Saint Mary of Jesus, a focal point of the annual Good Friday procession. The composition mirrors this procession, narrating Christ's passion through musical segments, enveloped in the gravity of a wind band funeral march, integral to the ritual.

Henry Cowell's The Banshee revolutionises piano composition, solely relying on manual manipulation of strings within the instrument. A banshee, according to Cowell, guides souls into the Inner World upon their passing, her wailing an eerie transition.

Autumn Leaves comprises 13 vignettes by Stephen Montague, uniting piano with electronics, each drawing inspiration from autumnal themes, including holidays and Washington Irving's Headless Horseman tale.

John Psathas' Demonic Thesis from the Songs for Simon cycle blends piano and electronics in tribute to pianist Simon Tedeschi.

Ruben Zahra's Violent Dreams punctuates the program with three rhythmically charged movements, progressions characterised by fragmentation.

The performance culminates in George Crumb's selection from Metamorphoses and Makrokosmos written for amplified piano, toy piano, and small percussion.

Tricia Dawn Williams

Tricia Dawn Williams is a Maltese pianist of Irish and Welsh descent who is passionate about contemporary music, multimedia and new technologies. She creates innovative and immersive performances that combine video-art, electronic music and extended piano techniques. She is also a pioneer in using motion-capture technology to control and trigger electronic sounds with the myo band interface on her forearms. She has commissioned, premiered and recorded numerous works by composers from different countries and backgrounds.


In 2019, her project TRANSITion was selected by Classical:Next as one of the 11 most innovative and inspiring projects out of 200 applicants worldwide. Classical:Next is a platform that brings together the diverse scenes of classical music and offers them a forum to exchange and develop new ways for classical and contemporary music.


Tricia Dawn Williams has a fascination with the toy piano and its repertoire. In 2020, she connected with several composers worldwide and recorded various pieces for this instrument. Williams owns 9 toy pianos, 4 of which are vintage. She is endorsed by the Schoenhut Toy Piano company, the oldest and largest manufacturer of toy pianos in the world. 


Williams started playing the piano at a very early age with Rita Micallef and was later mentored on 20th century music by Pawlu Grech. She has also attended masterclasses with pianist Margaret Leng Tan on the music of George Crumb. She is the secretary of the ‘Malta Association for Contemporary Music’, a group dedicated to promoting the performance and understanding of contemporary music in Malta.

31 October 2023
Gran Salon, Archaeology Museum, Valletta
60 min
Audience Level
Suitable for All
Other Dates
Terms & Conditions

The Three Palaces 2023


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