"The pianist was a demon of energy, yet one of impeccable articulation..."
Albert G. Storace, Sunday Times of Malta
"One of our most promising pianists of our generation...the world at her fingertips..."
Albert G. Storace , Sunday Times of Malta
"A polished performer whose vibrant personality is allowed to filter through to her engaging stage presence..."
K.G., Times of Malta
"Her recital was hallmarked by the exquisite delicacy and eloquence of “new music"
Kenneth Zammit Tabona, Sunday Times of Malta
Described as “one of our most promising pianists of our generation” and “a demon of energy; yet one of impeccable articulation” by the Sunday Times of Malta, Gabi Sultana, who hails from the island of Malta, has taken the contemporary music scene by storm. Award recipient of the “Contemporary Music Prize” and “Outstanding Pianist” at the IBLA Grand Prize International Music Competition in Sicily, Italy, in 2013; finalist at the “De Linkprijs” - prize for interpreters of Contemporary Music in Tilburg, Holland, in 2012; winner of all available piano competitions before 2001 in Malta – EPTA; Young Musicians' Competition and Bice Mizzi Vassallo Competition. She was invited by EPTA UK to represent Malta in a concert at the Guildhall School of Music in London in 1999 and at the Festival of Winners Concert at the EPTA Conference 2000 held at the Liszt Academy in Budapest, Hungary. As the prizewinner of the Bice Mizzi Vassallo Competition, she attended the Lake District Summer Music International Festival in 2001.
Gabi has performed in Malta, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Hungary, Denmark, United Kingdom, France, and USA. As part of her prize at the IBLA Grand Prize International Music Competition, she was invited to tour the States of Virginia, Arkansas and New York culminating in her debut in Carnegie Hall in May 2014. In Ghent, where she is currently based, she has performed at the Ghent Contemporary Music Week 2013, at Logos Tetrahedron and at the Gentse Vleugels (2011, 2012, 2013). In November 2013, she recorded one of Frank Nuyts' awarded Piano Sonatas during a showcase of his solo piano works in De Bijloke in Ghent, Belgium. In 2011 she was invited by H.E. The President of Malta to play at the Presidential Palace.
As an active chamber musician, she has worked together with one of Belgium's leading Contemporary Music Ensembles – Spectra Ensemble – both in 2013 and 2014. She has performed together with the Latvian Radio Choir at the Concertgebouw in Brugge in 2013. During her studies in Holland, she toured the country twice with Ensemble Modelo 62. In Belgium she was a founder member of 5° Ensemble together with Daniel Pastene (clarinet) and Kristof Lauwers (electronics). During her studies for her Bachelor's she attended a two-week workshop with Steve Reich.
Gabi graduated in a Post-Masters' Degree (MaNaMa) in Contemporary Music with the highest distinction in June 2012, following her success in obtaining her Masters’ Degree with the highest distinction in June 2010, both under the guidance of Daan Vandewalle at the Royal Conservatory of Ghent, Belgium. She obtained her Bachelor Degree in June 2008 from the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, Holland under the guidance of Marcel Baudet.
During her studies in Malta, she obtained Diplomas from Trinity College (ATCL), London School of Music (LLCM) and the Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music, London (LRSM), under the guidance of Fransina Abela Brincat, with whom she studied for 12 years before proceeding to Holland to further her studies in 2001.
Gabi has been kindly supported by the Malta Arts Fund, the Malta Arts Scholarship 2010-2012, and the Giorgio Federico Ghedini Bursary 2009.
"This tiny young woman, Gabi Sultana, played the most extraordinary piano music I have ever heard. Compositions by Koen Quintyn and George Crumb which were played on the keys of the Boesendorfer concert grand and on the strings inside the grand. She exercised the instrument and herself using beaded chain on the strings, strumming them and slapping them, all the while playing the keys with her fingers, of course, but also with her elbows and forearms. The results were intensely dramatic, frightening, exhausting and strangely beautiful. Some didn’t look like they could pull it off, but did. Others were clearly in their own world and the music just poured forth ."
"Last night I was once again able to witness Gabi Sultana playing, this time at St James Cavalier. If you haven’t come across Gabi before, she is a slight figured young woman, whose demure, delicate frame delivers the most incredible sounds from her piano.As if in conversation with the instrument, she caresses, flirts, scorns, argues, shows anger, fear and amusement while playing pieces by Rzewski, Crumb and Xenakis. She also introduced us to a young composer, K Quintyn, whose Assembly Lines piece took us to days when you can drive with the lid down, evoking the vision of a factory in operation, making your favourite things.Employing techniques not often seen like muting keys, which gives the sound a Cantonese pitch, laying a sheet of paper in the belly of the piano creating an airy xylophone sound or dropping in a chain which sends out haunting vibrations.Fine examples of all these were displayed in the one hour recital, which took you back in time to the soundtracks of early Disney cartoons, or Hancock films. Moving, energising, emotional. People walked out on a high, impressed by the playing – Gabi uses her knuckles, elbows, forearms as well as her dexterous fingers to mesmerise her audience.Aficionados nodded their heads in appreciation, us mere mortals just happy to be able to see her play again, having been introduced to her art at the Ibla Grand Prize last Summer, which of course, she won, and which will take her to Carniege Hall this May."
"I was privileged enough (once again) to be invited to the Ibla Grand Prize held in the beautiful Villa Criscione in Ragusa, Sicily. The reception attracts visitors not only from all over Sicily, but also the USA as well as the countries whose musicians are represented.
The competition is for musicians of every genre and with age bands but no age limits and is very different from the traditional format one might be generally accustomed to, because it is structured as a sequence of concerts and recitals, where contestants are never judged against each other but the evaluation is made against a standard of excellence.
This year, sponsored by the Malta Arts Fund, Maltese pianist Gabi Sultana of slight build and a mammoth talent, silenced the chattering crowd with her rendition of Frederic Rzewski’s Winnsboro Cotton-Mill Blues; a selection from Makrokosmos Vols. 1&2 by George Crumb; and Iannis Xenakis’ Evryali. She seemed possessed by the music, lost in the storm she alone was creating with the intensity, volume and contra tempo. It seemed as if more than one person was playing, the complexity of the pieces seemingly impossible to master with just two hands.
Gabi started piano lessons at the age of 5 under the guidance of Fransina Abela Brincat. At the age of 17 she moved to The Hague, Netherlands, and obtained my Bachelor Degree under the guidance of Marcel Baudet; and in Ghent, Belgium (where she is currently based) obtained her Master’s and Post-Master’s Degrees under the guidance of Daan Vandewall and can now add Winner of the Contemporary Music 2013 Ibla Grand Prize to her CV.
Other musicians from Poland, Russia, France, Germany and the USA performed a variety of styles with guitar, accordion, piano and the harp featuring throughout the evening.
Ibla winners are invited to present concerts in prestigious institutions such as Carnagie Recital Hall in New York among other venues."