The Fourth Wales International Harp Festival will be held on April 1- 7, 2018 at Galeri, Caernarfon to celebrate the 90th birthday of the legendary harpist, Dr. Osian Ellis CBE, and the enormous contribution that he made to music-making over a period of 70 years.
There will be concerts, competitions, master-classes, lectures, fun classes for absolute beginners, harp exhibitions and much more…
Harpists from all over the world will come to Caernarfon to join in the celebrations, and make friends through music.
Festival President: Osian Ellis | Festival Director: Elinor Bennett
Our Artists in 2018
Michigan born percussive-dancer, Nic Gareiss and Scottish harpist Maeve Gilchrist met while teaching at the Shasta Fiddle Camp in Northern California. They continued their musical relationship with spontaneous collaborations at festivals and chance meetings and later toured together as part of Darol Anger's band, 'The Furies'. At the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow this year, Nic and Maeve made their debut performance as a duo to great acclaim and have been picking up steam with the show ever since. Sharing a deep respect for traditional music and culture while drawing on contemporary elements of music, dance, rhythm and improvisation, Nic and Maeve have emerged from the vibrant new acoustic scene as innovators in their fields. The percussion and drive of Nic's footwork combined with Maeve's melodic and improvisational sensibilities make for an explosive duet that delights both the ears and the eyes.
Valeria Voshchennikova is a talented Russian harpist with a wide range of classic repertoire, a soloist of Bolshoi theatre orchestra and a Principal Harpist in Moscow Symphony orchestra ‘Russian Philarmonic’. Studying with Milda Agazarian in Gnessin’s School of Music and Russian Academy of Music, she became a prize winner of many All-Russian and International competitions, including USA International Harp Competition and III Wales International Harp Festival.The young harpist is an active performer on different concert stages in Russia and abroad. She gave a solo recital in HarpMasters Festspiele (Münchenbuchsee, Switzerland), was featured in Camac Harp Festival (Nancy, France).
Originally from Carmarthen, Anne Denholm is one of Britain’s leading young harpists and is Official Harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales. Anne received her Master’s degree from the Royal Academy of Music (RAM) in London with distinction, graduating with a Regency Award for notable achievement and as the first ever harpist to win the historic RAM Club Prize. Anne gives regular solo and chamber recitals and freelances with orchestras and choirs across Britain. Since 2016 she has been Principal Harpist with Ensemble Cymru, a group touring chamber music across Wales. She is also a solo harpist with Live Music Now.
A graduate of Bangor University, Mared completed a doctorate in performance on the harp and composition in 2014. In 2011, she won the Urdd National Eisteddfod’s Chief Composition medal for her work ‘Perlau yn y Glaw’ (lit. Pearls in the Rain) for solo harp, which is now performed regularly at different harp competitions. Mared has received a number of composition commissions, including works for Wales International Piano Festival, Colwyn Male Voice Choir, a work for the Bangor Music Festival premiered by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and most recently, a harp concerto for the Beaumaris Festival.
Blánaid Murphy is one of Ireland’s foremost choral directors and has directed the Palestrina Choir since 2002. She was Organ Scholar at Cambridge University and obtained a Master’s Degree at the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart. She has vast experience as choral director, conductor, adjudicator, consultant and educator. She is director of several choirs including the RTE Children’s Choir, Dublin Bach Singers, and Carlow Choral Society, and lectures on choral conducting at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Her many recordings include the record-breaking ‘Faith of Our Fathers’ CD and six CDs with the Palestrina Choir. Blánaid is chairperson of the RSCM Ireland (Royal School of Church Music) and she is Director of the Pro-Cathedral Concert Series.
Arfon Gwilym’s roots lie deep in Meirionnydd and he graduated in Welsh at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. He had a varied career – as journalist, business person, translator, publisher, broadcaster, researcher and administrator. He campaigned for community issues and became General Secretary of the Welsh Language Society. Now, he is Director of the Gwynn Music Publishing Company. Born to a family central to Welsh music and culture, Arfon was secretary of the Traditional Instruments Society and has written and edited several books on Welsh folk music. He is a folk singer, singer of plygain songs, cerdd dant and plays the violin.
At a Glance
A Celebration of the Music of Osian Ellis
1 April, 8:00pm, Galeri Caernarfon
2 April, 7:30pm, St Mary’s Church Caernarfon
Concert of Songs
3 April, 7:30pm, St Mary’s Church Caernarfon
Welsh Traditional Evening
4 April, 8:00pm, Galeri Caernarfon
Chamber Music Concert
5 April, 7:30pm, Galeri Caernarfon
6 April, 7:30pm, Galeri Caernarfon
Chief Musician Contest
7 April, 7:30pm, Galeri Caernarfon
Here are the results of the Wales International Harp Festival 2018 competitions.
Chief Musician Competition:
1st: Evgeniia Marchenko (Russian Federation)
2nd: Veronika Lemishenko (Ukraine)
3rd: Manon Browning (Wales)
Winners of the three scholarships of £1500: Mared Emyr Pugh-Evans (Wales), Anwen Mai Thomas (Wales) & Evelien Vaneysendeyk (Belgium)
Winners of the three scholarships of £500: Silvia Capé (Italy), Dasha Rumiantseva (Russia), ac Audrey Zhang (USA).
World Music Competition:
1st: Joshua Doughty (England)
2nd: Nora-Elisa Kahl & Patrick Huss (Germany)
3rd: Calum Macleod (Scotland)
Harp Duo Competition:
1st: Liliana Safikhanova & Anna Aleshina (Russia)
2nd: Aaron Ma & Shimeng Sun (China)
Ann was born in mid Wales and was inspired from an early age by her close neighbours Dafydd Roberts the blind harper and Nansi Richards who gave her the first harp lesson. Ann attended a Welsh school in London where she had harp lessons from Anne Ross and Gwendolen Mason. She then studied at the Royal Academy of Music, London with Professor Osian Ellis. Ann became principal harpist with the Icelandic Radio Orchestra and later freelanced with the BBC and London orchestras before joining the RTE Radio Orchestra in Dublin Ireland where she became permanent principal harpist in their Concert Orchestra. Now retired, she delights in teaching.
Professor of Harp at the Russian Music Academy and the Moscow Gnessin`s Special Musical School (Сollege). Eminent Culture Worker of Russia. The Founder and President of the Association of Russian Harp Teachers International and the Founder and the Artistic Director of annual Moscow International Harp Festival. Member of juries of numerous national and international competitions, and many of her students have won prizes at prestigious international competitions. Ms. Agazarian was a Honorable Guest of the VI USAIHC in Bloomington and became the Professor-in Residence of the International Harp Academy “Harp Masters” in Switzerland. She is a Visiting Professor of the Royal Academy of Music, a Member of the Board of Directors of World Harp Congress, and the Founder and Artistic Director of The Ksenia Erdely International Harp Competition in Russia.
Clíona Doris has extensive experience as solo harpist and chamber musician and has performed throughout Ireland, Britain, Europe and the United States. Her broadcasts include performances on BBC Radio 3, Radio Ulster, RTÉ LyricFM, National Public Radio USA, ClassicFM TV, UTV, BBC Television and RTÉ Television and as soloist at the BBC Proms in the Park from Belfast broadcast as part of the BBC Last Night of the Proms. An active exponent of contemporary music, Clíona has premiered works by many composers. She has released two solo albums, and a recording of Handel’s Harp Concerto with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. Clíona is a graduate of Queen’s University, Belfast and is Doctor of Music from Indiana University, Bloomington, USA. She is now Head of the DIT Conservatory, Dublin.
Sioned’s imaginative approach to the harp has earned her an enviable reputation as an international performer and creator of unique flair and individuality. In April 2018, after 28 distinguished years working with leading composers and conductors, she will relinquish her position as Principal Harp BBCSO. Renowned for commissioning new works, Sioned has performed hundreds of premieres and appeared extensively on radio and television, and has made numerous award-winning CDs. Sioned pioneered integrated harp courses in Britain; is a passionate teacher, researcher and scholar; was the first Welsh board member on the World Harp Congress; is President of the UK Harp Association, Emeritus Senior Fellow in Harp Studies at Trinity Laban, and an Honorary Research Fellow at the RAM.
ELINOR BENNETT studied with Osian Ellis at the Royal Academy of Music, London, after completing a degree in Law, and played with major British orchestras in her early career. Elinor has made many recordings, ranging from 20th Century classics to Welsh traditional music on Triple Harp. Leading composers have written for her, and she directed harp studies at Bangor University. She was awarded OBE for services to music and Honorary Fellowships from the Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff, Universities, Fellowships from Royal Academy of Music and Welsh College of Music and Drama, and an Honorary Doctorate in Music from the University of Wales. She has directed the Thai International Harp Festival, and the Wales International Harp Festival.
Nick Capaldi has been Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Wales since September 2008. Prior to his appointment, he was Executive Director of Arts Council England South West, and Chief Executive of South West Arts. As Chair of Arts 2000 he led a national organisation commissioning projects across England designed to celebrate the role of the artist. A graduate of Manchester’s Chetham’s Music School, the Royal College of Music and City University in London, Nick’s career in the arts started as a professional. He holds diplomas in musical performance from the Royal College of Music (DipRCM, ARCM) and the Royal Academy of Music (LRAM). Nick was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Arts by City University London in 2016.