Cluster Experiment V18

Name of Proposal : Cluster Experiment

Amount requested for this Proposal : €6000

Are you already benefiting from public funds to cover all or part of the costs for this Proposal? - No

Give a short summary of the Proposal (max 300 words) -

Cluster Experiment is a public music performance by musicians from Malta and Lucca.

It is an artistic partnership between:

Cluster - Associazione di Compositori of Lucca that has had 22 seasons of music composition and performances in Italy, Europe and the world including USA and the Far East. There are 50 composers including award winning ones in classical contemporary music as members.

JAM Academy of Lucca that was established in 2001 and has had more than 4500 students to date from lower levels recognised by the London Performers Examination Board up to BTEC Trinity College and Bachelor of Arts with University of Bedfordshire.

Christopher Scicluna and Moira Stafrace are household names in the local music scene having more than 20 years experience in music composition, lyrics, performances in Malta and overseas including a recent European tour.

Together they will interpret songs by Maltese band CHRIS AND MOIRA creating a fusion between ballad, rock and contemporary classical music. Vocals will be by Christopher Scicluna and Moira Stafrace with guest backing vocals  from La Voix Academy of Malta.

It will be a 90 minute non-stop performance of joint compositions by Girolamo Deraco, Christopher Scicluna, Moira Stafrace and arrangements by all the 8 musicians that will perform on stage including lead and bass guitars, oboe, clarinet, flute, keyboards and percussion.

The performance will be at St. Peter and St. Paul Counterguard, Valletta. The ensemble is producing music that merges different genres of music into a unique sound that appeals to wide audiences with a variety of preferences in music including ballad, soft rock, jazz and classical.

The partnership that was started up by VisMedNet Association through its European InternPrize Initiative that is a platform for networking and collaboration in the creative industries and the arts.

Proposal Start Date - 01.11.2017

Proposal End Date - 30.08.2018

Venue or Locality of the Proposal -

Which of the below best describes the Proposal?

 O - Part of an existing event or festival

 X - A proposal created by an existing band or group of musicians

 X - A completely new event or project

 O - Other

List any Maltese artists that will be taking part in the Proposal along with their role in the Proposed event

Christopher Scicluna and Moira Stafrace (composition, lyrics, music arrangement and performers)

Guest backing vocals under the age of 30 that will be chosen from La Voix Academy

Jameson Cucciardi, filming of event

List any International artists that will be taking part in the Proposal along with their role in the Proposed event

Francesco Gatti, Flute (Ottavino) : Cluster - Lucca Compositori
Nicola Bimbi, Oboe (Corno inglese) : Cluster - Lucca Compositori
Tony Capula, Clarinetto in Si b (Clarinetto basso) and other brass : Cluster - Lucca Compositori
Stefano Chelotti, Bass Guitar : Cluster - Lucca Compositori
Matteo Cammisa, Percussion : JAM Academy
Massimiliano Salani, Keyboard : JAM Academy
Girolamo Deraco, Composer : Cluster - Lucca Compositori
Francesco Cipriano, Artistic Direction : Cluster - Lucca Compositori
List any local and International collaborations that will contribute to the Proposed event
Cluster - Associazione di Compositori, Lucca (composition and sending organisation of musicians)
JAM Academy, Lucca (sending organisation of musicians)
VisMedNet Association (broker of the partnership and producer of the event through its InternPrize initiative)
Describe how the Proposal is relevant to the contemporary music sector and to the artists taking part
Relevance to Contemporary Music
Musicians from Malta and Lucca from rock and contemporary classical music background are putting together a show that is niche and high quality but at the same time inclusive of ballad, rock, classical and vocal music and therefore still appealing to a wide range of audiences.
Some of the musicians from Cluster pertain to contemporary classical music but they have been in rock music before and this dual experience provides mutual understanding between genres and is the bridge making the fusion of ballad, rock and contemporary classical music homogeneous, harmonious and compact.
Musicians from the classical contemporary background involved are mostly brass and wood instrument players and when this is being fused with rock and ballad a performance is coming together that is attractive for ears that are friendly with alternative rock, jazz and blues. With the introduction of the backing vocals the experimentation will be complete and will also make this third kind of sound more complex but whole.
Relevance to the artists taking part
It is an international partnership of prestige because of the experience, excellent track record and professional engagement of all three partners involved. It fosters international cooperation and productive networking that inevitably creates challenges in the area of pushing boundaries, experimenting with new artistic product and creates opportunities for mobility, acquisition and amplification of international profile for musicians and partners involved.
Simply put Cluster Experiment will bring concert musicians of prestige from Lucca to Malta for a performance. It is however a platform for the export of music by Maltese artists give the international profile of the partners especially Cluster that is an association of musicians that produces performances all over the world. This will be the start of a journey together that gives an international dimension to the careers of Maltese artists.
Cluster Experiment will also involve young backing vocals from a local voice school. This will help career and opportunity building for the singers involved and for the school itself that will also join the experiment for the performance in Malta and possibly for future opportunities overseas.
The idea between this new partnership is that it grows to include other Maltese talent as the experiment matures should this be taken up as an example of good practice in exporting local talent.
Relevance to V18
Cluster Experiment would be inaugurated in this V18 performance and its story in the future will always carry the V18 marque in it for this reason.
This experiment has started in January 2017 and it will mature by the beginning of 2018 in time for a high quality product ready to go public in V18 when the attention of Europe will be the culture scene in Malta. Other public performances are being negotiated for the Cluster Experiment in other countries after its inauguration in Malta and some will be in the later part of 2018. The publicity for these events will also give international visibility to V18.

Which of these criteria does the Proposal fulfil?

 X A strong spirit of collaboration with different musicians, genres, types of music or creative discipline

 X A strong experimental nature

 X A strong participatory nature

 X High Overall Quality

Describe how your proposal fulfils (A strong spirit of collaboration with different musicians, genres, types of music or creative discipline) (max 150 words) -

The artistic preparation and implementation of the project is a process of collaboration between:
- musicians from Malta and Lucca that are making all music arrangements and rehearsals together engaging them in a fusion between rock, ballad and contemporary classical music,
- music arrangements have compositions for rock and ballad by CHRIS AND MOIRA as point of departure with the introduction of new wind brass and wood instruments and backing vocals and
- all marketing and logistical implementation of the project will be carried out by young people starting up in the creative industries under leadership of professionals,
- marketing will be high on video making engaging again different professionals also engaging the starting young careers for them to build experience and currculum.

Describe how your proposal fulfils (A strong experimental nature) (max 150 words)

The Cluster Experiment is the name of the new ensemble formed between musicians from rock and ballad (Malta - CHRIS AND MOIRA : Lucca - JAM Academy) and contemporary classical music (Cluster - Lucca Compositori)

The experimentation has already started and this is undergoing four processes:
- noting of present compositions,
- re noting to introduce new instruments,
- arrangements by all musicians to fit and exploit their experience with the respective instruments and
- rehearsal and refinement.

The experiment has to date started producing a new sound that appeals to different ears accustomed to different genres of music and efforts are being made to ensure that the final product is compact, coherent and homogeneous.

Dissemination taking place about the preparation process involves getting the public accustomed to the new experimental sound helping product development process.

Describe how your proposal fulfils (High Overall Quality) (max 150 words)

High quality is the result of the investment that is already being made in this experiment by musicians of high calibre and with a long track record in composition and performance.

Track record of the musicians is in all aspects of music production namely, composition, music arrangements as well as vocal and instrumental performance.

Experience is also in international collaborations and this was an excellent start of the experimentation with engagement and enthusiasm as well as financial and resource investment from all involved.

The team of VisMedNet are from the creative industries including skills in product development, marketing and sales strategies and social partnership and this will give artistic work being carried out by the musicians will have high quality support to make sure it will be a successful project of high quality all round.

Describe how your proposal fulfils (A strong participatory nature) (max 150 words)

The activities of the artists are contained and relatively pre-set from the start of the project preparation. It involves musicians from three groups / organisations with each one of them contributing to the artistic content and then later on the actual performance.

The added value of the project is the participation of various disciplines around the artistic event namely:
- young people mentored by professionals to implement the marketing, sales and product development,
- dissemination and social media strategies and
- involvement of a variety of still and moving picture content for promotion that shows the process and the the end result once the event is over.

Which of the below following qualities does the Proposal have?

 O It is programmed by young people

 X It uses unusual locations or venues

O It collaborates with musicians from the Mediterranean, and particularly from the Arab Region

 X It looks outward towards Europe and the world

 X It refers to the Valletta 2018 Programme Narrative and Themes (see website)

Describe how your proposal has the qualities for (It uses unusual locations or venues) (max 150 words)

The venue of St Peter and St Paul Counterguard is under the management of Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna that is one of the organisations with ongoing collaborations with VisMedNet as producer of this event.

The venue is almost never used for public access and performances and this event will therefore offer a unique experience having the backdrop of the harbour from one side, Floriana and Auberge de Castille from the other and the Upper Barrakka Gardens from the fourth side.

The funds for the rental of the venue will be invested by Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna to maintain and upkeep the venue.

The venue is accessed through a passage and a short tunnel from Castille Square providing an interesting approach to the place of the performance.

Describe how your proposal has the qualities for (It looks outward towards Europe and the world) (max 150 words)

Cluster Experiment V18 is already a European cross border experimentation and collaboration however there are two added dimensions to this aspect of the project.

Although the event will bring foreign musicians to perform with local ones in Malta it is a platform for the export of Maltese talent overseas. The process of experimentation involves the revisiting and recomposition and arrangement of music by Maltese performers and this experience is with a music organisation from Lucca that produces and performs music all over the world this time taking this new formula with them wherever they can.

The ensemble that will perform together for the public for the first time in the V18 event will then play in other venues around Europe carrying in its story line its inauguration in V18.

Describe how your proposal has the qualities for (It refers to the Valletta 2018 Programme Narrative and Themes) (max 150 words)

The event fits into a number of strands that V18 has started up already including:
- theatre and cultural spaces : it experiments with the use of unique venue,
- Valletta as a cultural destination : the event will exploit Valletta and its harbour as a backdrop however it venue is the start of a number of European stops that the same ensemble will have in this adventure carrying V18 as its point of departure,
- cross border collaboration : Cluster Experiment is itself a European collaboration and
-  regeneration of Valletta : part of the revenue of the project will go towards the restoration and upkeep of a prestigious venue in Valletta.

Explain how the Project will be implemented.

The project will be implemented in four phases:

i. Preparation is from logistical point of view and it will involve the confirmation of the date of the performance in concordance with the V18 to avoid conflict with other public performances (at least of the same kind), availability of the venue and in a way to guarantee silence ie. avoidance of feasts in the area etc.

A detailed count down timetable will be prepared starting from the 1st of November 2017 that will engage all involved in order that this plan can include:
- sound and light infrastructure,
- travel arrangements of musicians flying in for the performance,
- accommodation arrangements for musicians,
- renting of percussion and keyboards,
- space for final rehearsals with backing vocals,
- sound check,
- filming of the event,
- filming of interviews to use for promotion of event,
- clearing of venue after the venue after the event.
ii. Promotion locally and overseas as soon as the date of the performance is set will be oriented to promote the Cluster Experiment as a product and as its being inaugurated in V18 before it goes international. The Cluster Experiment is now in experimentation phase but with the V18 performance the product will have matured into a public performance so, in key with the mission to take this performance to other places around Europe (Lucca, Bordeaux , Bologna, and Parades de Coura are already on the books) in the medium term, the promotion will also include the V18 performance as the start of the journey. This means that promotion will run in two parallel efforts: 
a. Promotion of the Cluster Experiment as a roaming performance that will be inaugurated in V18 (general branding of Cluster Experiment) and
b. Promotion of the Cluster Experiment performance in V18 (mostly local) will include:
- generation of still image teasers in early promotion and full poster in the last 8 weeks before the date of the performance,
- generation of interviews with composers and musicians including teasers during experimentation period November - April 2018,
- generation of video promo,
- creation of social media campaign November 2017-post event,
- participation in promotion of V18 culture programme wherever necessary,
- solicitation / buying of slots on TV and radio programmes for interviews and promotion and
- back stage blog format to attract attention and arouse audiences from passive information to action.
iii. Artistic Preparation will include continuing experimentation that has already started up till March 2018 when full programme will have been arranged, rehearsed and perfected to public performance readiness.
This phase has already started and March 2018 will mark the final point in which:
- final scaletta will have been set for the public performance,
- final lineup including backing vocals will have been chosen,
- full annotation of all pieces to be played will have been done to preclude breakdown in plan in case of illness or inavailability of any musician and
- contracts signed with all musicians.
iv. Legal and Financial Administration will run parallel to all phases throughout the project lifetime in order that it will guarantee the smooth running of project implementation. It will include:
- confirmation of paid suppliers of service and payment therefor,
- adherence with PRS / SIAE contributions for artists' rights,
- payment of artists' fees,
- financial monitoring, record keeping and reporting,
- management of safety issues related to travel, subsistence, venue and transport,
- securing of permits wherever applicable.

What are the possible risks and what are your contingency plans? 

There are four risks that have been identified:

- unfavourable weather : this can be wind and rain.

This risk is somewhat minimal regarding rain due to season but wind can be a challenge. The venue is close to a square shape and therefore two solutions can be sought ie. positioning of stage and backdrop with back to the wind not to interfere with sound and well being of performers on the stage. Over and above this should the wind be strong there is the plan to install an extension to the backdrop making it wider and therefore protects the audience from direct wind.

Talks have been held with Wirt Artna so that in case of rain or inclement weather even would be moved to another indoor venue under its management.

- atmospheric noise : traffic, fireworks, parties in the vicinity

This risk will be reduced to minimum due to the choice of the venue, the date when there are no feasts in the vicinity. The organisers will keep an eye out for public events that can possibly be taking place on the same day in the vicinity from the start of the project.

- inavailability of musicians : illness, injury, extraordinary circumstances

This risk is already being reduced to minimum since all music is being annotated facilitating the substitution of any musician from Cluster and JAM Academy at any time. This risk is also minimal in the case of backing vocals. This risk is hard to counter when it comes to vocals and front line musicians Christopher Scicluna and Moira Stafrace due to their being central to the event.

- low affluence of the public : low sales of tickets

This risk is being curtailed in four ways.

i. There is a team of marketing and social media strategists in the team of InternPrize initiative of VisMedNet that is the producer.

ii. The expected ticket sales for budget purposes have been kept to a very very conservative low of 120 of tickets sold.

iii. The team responsible for promotion has experience in the garnering of corporate support that can either be a sponsorship or the sale of blocks of tickets and in case these tickets will be over and above the 120.

iv. The venue chosen has the facility of expanding seating from 120 to 400 without lowering quality of vision and acoustic experience and therefore the number of seats can grow proportionately. Online ticket sales system will be used giving the producers full control of flow of affluence and social media effort required.

Please give details of any other funding sources

Corporate partners : these would be organisations (public or private) that will have an interest in being partners in the event for market visibility, for using it a social encounter with key members of staff or key clients. This means that corporate partners will be either financial sponsors, supporters in kind (exchange of supply of service to event with visiblity) or buyers of blocks of tickets.

Contingency fund : VisMedNet has allocated a 7% contingency fund to cover expenses that are either unforseen or that are a short fall on the revenue from the event. In that case VisMedNet will fund the shortfall and for budget presentation purposes this is being included under Corporate partners.

Ticket sales : will be via an online platform that will make it possible for patrons to purchase their tickets online. The platform is also provider of persons at the door to sell tickets if need be. In the budget income from tickets is under revenue and the commission on the sales taken by the platform is under costs.

Outline your communications plan for the Proposed event

Communications plan will be implemented in four phases:

i. General information aka Education (Nov 2017 - May 2018)

NB. the cost of this activity is not covered by the budget of the project since it is being carried out already, it will be carried out anyway irrespective of the V18 event and because it is an activity that is taking place as part of audience testing and product development.

This activity is however beneficial for the promotion of the Cluster Experiment of V18 nevertheless hence its mention here.

The activity is intended to:
- test audience reaction to the experimentation and the music product that is being produced. It is a mix of sharing with selected members of the public with music they know already from the repertoire of CHRIS AND MOIRA that has been revisited and adapted to new sound as well as possibly new compositions altogether,
- give insight and input to the composers and musicians of the Cluster Experiment about reaction of audiences and viability of product, time to adapt and adjust on basis of audience reaction given the project being high on experimentation,
- make the general public aware of the experimentation that is ongoing between Cluster, JAM Academy, Christopher Scicluna and Moira Stafrace and
- "educate" the public to the sound they would expect in the Cluster Experiment V18 event.
This activity is at start up stage right now but will be accelerated and become more intensive as the experimentation and joint rehearsals continue in the months of preparation. It will end up right before the event itself but continue after exploiting the event itself to further this education about Cluster Experiment in other markets where the subsequent international performances will be taking place.
The general promotion for events of Cluster Experiment in Bordeaux, Barcelona and Parades de Coura that will come after the V18 event will all promote the Cluster Experiment in general and also as an international experiment between high quality composers and musicians that will be inaugurated in V18.

ii. Event promotion (January 2018 - performance date)

Between January 2018 and the date of the performance there will be a staggered dissemination of information about the event and this will be in phases as more details regarding date and time of the event are set, seating / positioning of audience and preparation for the event are taking place. This promotion will include marketing tools including:
- still digital banners, picture flyers and poster format promotional material about the event that can be shared on social media, sites of partner organisations in the project, operator of venue Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna, V18 and as part of sponsored publicity campaigns on social media,
- video clips and interviews, TV and radio interview opportunities with artists and clips that will be shot and produced during rehearsals in Lucca and in Malta prior to the event that will then be shared on social media as in still image marketing tools and
- back stage blog format of the experimentation that will start as part of the activity in (i) but then become more specific to the event to give wider ownership to the public before / over and above sales promotion activities in (iii).

iii. Sales promotion (March 2018 - performance date)

There will be a sales partner for online ticket sales and sales promotion as well as organised ticket scanning and sales at the door on the day of the event.
This choice is made because it gives further visibility to the event, it makes it easier for the public to acquire tickets and it is a good tool to monitor sales and helps calculate effort required on the ticket sales front.
Sales strategy is based on two principles:
- having a mean minimum sitting down audience of 120 that can be increased up to 200 given the size and shape of the venue and
- seaking the cover of minimum 120 via sales and corporate group sales.
The sales pitch will start a minimum 10 weeks before the day of the event as soon as seating arrangement for 120 is planned with planned space for additional seating to 200. It will be promoted via:
- online sales platform
- social media campaign,
- distribution of printed posters,
- V18 promotion platform wherever possible,
- direct solicitation through VisMedNet's social connections.
Corporate sales pitch will be carried out by VisMedNet exploiting its experience in this method of garnering sponsorships via sales to guarantee patronage of the event. It already has its small community of prospective buyers and these would be the first it will approach upon confirmation of date of the event.
Sales promotion will be made through partner visibility tools including Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna that is responsible for the care of the venue, CHRIS AND MOIRA, Cluster and JAM Academy each one having respective community of followers.

iv. Post event (date of performance onwards)

For Cluster Experiment it is imperative that the event will be used and exploited for the further growth of the international Cluster Experiment experience. It will have already carried out general visibility of the Cluster Experiment, the marketing of the V18 event and it will at this point be going on to other international events in other cities around Europe.

The V18 event will mean the inauguration of the international commitments of Cluster Experiment and therefore film footage and reportage about the event will be used to boost the general promotion and it will be used to promote the other events in other countries.

It will ensure that Cluster Experiment V18 be seen as the prestigious start of a high quality contributor to contemporary music.

Please give any further information you think is relevant to the Proposal

VisMedNet is the applicant for this grant because of the natural link given that Christopher Scicluna and Moira Stafrace are members on its Board of Administration and as such it has provided them with opportunities for mobility and touring in Europe in the last two years.

It is also the applicant because in this manner the artists can benefit from a team of event and promotion young professionals as well as structured accounting and reporting system that has developed over the last five years in key with its international experience in project and events management. In this manner the project will have a dedicated financial account managed by a professional accountant for easier and professional reporting.

As such VisMedNet offers the partnership the possibility of containing any operational or financial risk.

VisMedNet is the organisation that brokered the partnership between the three artistic partners and supported the development of the concept and collaboration. Over and above this the organisation's team is working on making Cluster Experiment a touring performance in venues and locations where its international partners are already supporting this idea and offering opportunities for other performances.

As such therefore VisMedNet will guarantee the best impact possible on the performers and on the local contemporary music scene.

VisMedNet is a network specialist with an EU wide network of partners in the field of culture and the arts and this will ensure that Cluster Experiment becomes an international artistic product with the inherenet EU wide dissemination of V18 and its funding.

The proposed artistic performance on stage is made up of seasoned and experienced musicians albeit involving young backing vocals. Off the stage however, thanks to the activities of VisMedNet with youths in the creative industries, the concept and marketing development of the project including the generation of visuals and on site management will all be hands on activities of students and youths who are upcoming professionals in the culture sector. This means that there is intergenerational exchange off stage and this is of great added value to the project being an investment in the future careers of these young people. There will be professional mentoring of the youths from professionals in the team of VisMedNet to ensure it will be a rewarding experience for all.

Single Line Text


Valletta 2018 would like to receive proposals from musicians, event organisers and creatives for musical and music-related events and projects to form part of the Valletta 2018 Music Programme.

In less than 12 months, Valletta will hold the title of European Capital of Culture 2018. The Valletta 2018 Foundation is responsible for the implementation of this title, and the creation of an exciting, contemporary programme with empowerment, engagement and participation at its heart.

Musicians, event organisers and creatives are invited to submit their proposals for music-related events and projects to take place during 2018 and to form part of this programme; successful proposals will be awarded a grant of up to €6,000 and will feature in the Valletta 2018 calendar of events.

Proposals will be assessed by the following criteria;

  1. by their experimental nature;
  2. by their spirit of collaboration between different types of music or creative discipline;
  3. by their participatory nature;
  4. by the overall quality of the proposal.

Preference will be given to proposals that;

  1. use unusual concepts or venues;
  2. are created or programmed by young people;
  3. include a collaboration between musicians from Malta and the Mediterranean, particularly from the Arab Region;
  4. look outward from Malta towards Europe and the world;
  5. refer to the Valletta 2018 Programme Narrative and Themes (see website).

Proposals can include, but are not limited to;

  1. a proposal created by an existing band or group of musicians;
  2. a proposal as part of an existing event or festival;
  3. a completely new event or project.

Proposals can be submitted online at by not later than noon on Monday, May 22, 2017. Early submissions are encouraged. For further information kindly send email to


Opening of Call Friday 07 April 2017
Deadline for submission of queries Friday 28 April 2017 at noon
Deadline for submission of proposals Monday 22 May 2017 at noon
Notification of pitching session (if applicable) Friday 26 May 2017
Pitching Sessions (if applicable) Wednesday 31May2017
Publication of final decision No later than Friday 09 June
Contracts agreed with successful applicants No later than Friday 23 June
Submission of 5 high-res images for communications purposes No later than Friday 16 June

How to Apply

Proposals can be submitted online at

A budget template available on the same page must be downloaded, filled in correctly and submitted with the proposal.

Rules and Regulations

  • Proposals will be evaluated in accordance with the criteria given in the call by a panel from the Programme Department of the Valletta 2018 Foundation.
  • The panel’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into following its decision.
  • The panel reserves the right to invite applicants to a pitching session which will be held on Wednesday 31stMay 2017 but is not obliged to do so.
  • Applicants must be 18 years of age by submission of proposal.
  • Applicants can be of any nationality however the event or project proposed must take place in Malta and include a Maltese collaboration.
  • The event or project proposed must take place during 2018.
  • Successful events and projects must be produced in their entirety by the applicant, and no production or logistical assistance will be provided by the Valletta 2018 Foundation.
  • No responsibility will be accepted by the Valletta 2018 Foundation for the mismanagement of event or project production.
  • The Valletta 2018 Foundation will not be held liable for any loss or damages caused by the applicant.
  • Should a successful proposal not be produced, all funds must be returned to the Valletta 2018 Foundation by 31st December 2018.
  • Any successful events or projects must abide by the Valletta 2018 Foundation’s communications guidelines.


Successful proposals will form part of the Valletta 2018 Music Programme, and will benefit from the following communications;

  • Inclusion in the 2018 Programme Publication to be issued in October 2017;
  • Inclusion in subsequent publications as relevant;
  • An event page on the Valletta 2018 Website;
  • Social Media support.

Financial Information

A total of €72,000 is available for the call.

A maximum of 12 grants of up to €6,000 each will be awarded.

The Valletta 2018 Foundation reserves the right toretain all or part of this amount if proposals received are not of a sufficiently high quality.

- See more at: