Renowned clarinettist Freddie Mizzi passes away

A classical and jazz clarinettist, Freddie Mizzi was synonymous with virtuoso clarinet playing and with swing. He was born in Valletta on the 12th October 1934, and was a professional musician since his teens. 

Mizzi started playing the clarinet at the age of 6, under the tutelage of his grandfather’s brother, Vincent Mifsud, former sergeant major of the Militia. Later he studied under the tutelage of Maestro Joseph Abela Scolaro. In 1953 he joined the British Army.

He obtained diplomas from London College of Music in 1967. In October 1971, he was selected as one of the distinguished musicians to form part of the World Symphony Orchestra on tour in the United States of America, where he performed at New York City’s renowned Carnegie Hall.

In 1973, during Malta’s first International Arts Festival, he was soloist with the Salzburg String Quartet. During his long career, he entertained numerous personalities, including the Queen and the Queen Mother of England, President Soires of Portugal and President Cossiga of Italy.

In June 1985 he was awarded ‘The Phoenicia International Cultural Award’ by the President of the Republic of Malta for his services to music.

Mizzi founded the first clarinet choir and saxophone choir on the Maltese Islands and was considered by many as being responsible for the revival of big band music on the local scene.  Many know him as the founder of The Freddie Mizzi Big Band, which was formed in 1958.

In his later years Mizzi focused more on composing and teaching. 

His demise at age 85 was announced by his son-in-law, artist and University professor Vince Briffa in a Facebook post.

Today Malta has lost a great musician. Farewell dear Freddie Mizzi, a true artist, father in law and mentor. We miss you…

Posted by Vince Briffa on Friday, March 6, 2020

Mizzi was married to Maria Spiteri. Together they had two daughters, Madeline and Lora. Madeline is married to Tony Bugeja and they have two children, Andrew and Alison. Lora is married to Vince Briffa and they have a son, Luke.