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
The harp programme at DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama (Dublin, Ireland) encompasses both classical and/or Irish traditional music, with students pursuing study at junior, undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Students specialise in either classical or Irish traditional harp through the Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Music Education, Master of Music Performance and PhD programmes, studying with Denise Kelly McDonnell, Clíona Doris and Grainne Hambly. The harp programme is designed to encourage both solo and ensemble skills, and students participate in a wide range of ensembles including the Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Irish Traditional Music Ensemble, Early Music Ensemble and a variety of chamber music ensembles. 105
The DIT Harp Ensemble is one of the most active ensembles performing classical, Irish and contemporary repertoire under the direction of Denise Kelly McDonnell. They had an incredible year in 2016, travelling to Scotland to play a lunchtime concert at the Edinburgh International Harp Festival, performing for HRH The Prince of Wales in Hillsborough Castle, and playing in the RDS Rising Stars Concert. They also took part in many events around Dublin, performing on Culture Night and in the RTÉ Reflecting the Rising events.
Fiddles, guitar, accordion, bagpipes and step dancing explode into life.
This international award winning band from Wales are back on the road with their infectious rhythms and high energy routines. They come with accordion, harp, guitar, fiddles and Welsh bagpipes along with a virtuoso performance from a champion step dancer.
Calan have introduced a new generation of music fans to Welsh traditional music – in Wales and beyond including Borneo, Australia, USA and Europe.
‘…there’s nowt as dear as folk – especially when played with the grace, daring and sheer joy this multi- instrumental five-piece bring to a winning selection of reels, jigs and hornpipes’
Welsh tenor Rhys Meirion has enjoyed national and international success in opera, recording and broadcasting. Concert highlights include a gala concert at the Royal Albert Hall with Bryn Terfel, his BBC Prom debut at the opening night of the BBC Proms (televised on BBC 2), Desert Island Discs Anniversary Concert at London’s Royal Festival Hall, a live BBC recording of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony conducted by Richard Hickox, Verdi’s Requiem at the Royal Albert Hall and Karl Jenkins' 70 Birthday Concert at The Carnegie Hall New York. The second series of "Deuawdau Rhys Meirion" (Rhys Meirion's Duets) aired on S4C in 2017. He also presents “Dewch am Dro” on BBC Radio Cymru.
Dylan is a freelance harpist, performer and teacher who lives in North Wales. He has given virtuoso performances in Ireland, France, Germany, Holland, Canada, Prague, China and Switzerland. Dylan has made guest appearances at the Thousand Voices Festival at the Royal Albert Hall, London and has performed with artists such as Bryn Terfel, Katherine Jenkins, John Owen Jones, Sioned Terry, Shân Cothi, Rhys Meirion, Rhydian Roberts and Rebecca Evans. Dylan has produced various albums, three are solo albums, four Piantel albums and three albums with Welsh harpist Gwenan Gibbard for Hong Kong based Sunrise Music. Apart from his own albums Dylan has appeared on a great number of other albums as an accompanist. Dylan is one half of “Piantel” who have been performing together for 13 years, and performs as a Cabaret Act “Two Blondes and a Harp”
Ensemble Cymru, Resident Ensemble at Bangor University and Venue Cymru, Llandudno, is the leading chamber music performing group in Wales with core membership of 16 instrumentalists and singers. Established as a charity in 2002, its mission is to champion Wales’ heritage and contemporary chamber music culture alongside chamber music from across the world to audiences in Wales and internationally. Each year Ensemble Cymru reaches communities across Wales through its national touring network of nine partner venues. Its touring work is complemented by a programme of performances outside the concert hall reaching schools, schools for young people with special educational needs, hospitals, hospices and people in public places.
Siân is one of Wales’ leading contemporary female vocalists and a foremost innovator in the field of traditional music. She plays the Celtic harp and is an excellent pianist and composer. Her versatility as a performer has taken her to concert venues throughout the world. She has released nine albums - eclectic collections of both original and traditional songs, encompassing love and laughter, loss and spiritual quest. Siân is renowned for her instinctive ability to project deep emotion within her songs with unequalled sincerity and passion. Her more recent tours have taken her to China and Vietnam, Patagonia, Canada and Uzbekistan. Siân is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Bangor.
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)
Karen Vaughan studied with Maria Korchinska after graduating from the Royal Academy of Music. She played for Scottish Opera and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra before becoming Principal Harp of the Scottish National Orchestra. On her return to London she was appointed Co-principal to Osian Ellis in the London Symphony Orchestra, retiring in 2015 after thirty years. Karen taught at The Purcell School and Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama before taking up her current position as Head of Harp at the RAM. She has given masterclasses worldwide and coached youth orchestras in the UK, Spain and Japan. Associate Artistic Director of the World Harp Congress she looks forward to the first congress in the UK, in Cardiff 2020.
Rhiannon Mathias studied music at Surrey University (B. Mus), St. John’s College, Cambridge (M. Phil) and Reading University (PhD), and has experience as a public speaker and broadcaster. She is the author of a book about the music of Elisabeth Lutyens, Elizabeth Maconchy and Grace Williams, lectures at Bangor University on twentieth-century women composers, and also directed the First International Conference on Women’s Work in Music last year at the University. Rhiannon performs in a flute and harp due with Elinor Bennett and is also the principal flute tutor at the Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias.
Denise Kelly is Lecturer in Harp at the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama, Dublin. A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin and DIT Conservatory, her harp teachers include Maria Korchinska, Sidonie Goossens (Guildhall School of Music, London) and Francette Bartholomée (Conservatoire Royal, Brussels). Denise has taught in both the Belfast and Cork Schools of Music, and the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin, and has coached the Irish Youth Orchestras. A composer and arranger, Denise has worked as a chamber musician and accompanist. Denise has performed and recorded with The Ulster Orchestra, RTÉ Concert and National Symphony Orchestras of Ireland, both as soloist and as Principal Harpist.
Rhian Samuel was educated in Britain and the United States. She completed a PhD at Washington University, St Louis, and thereafter taught Theory and Composition at the St Louis Conservatory of Music before returning to the UK in 1984, subsequently teaching at Reading University, City University, London, and Magdalen College Oxford. Her large-scale works include Elegy-Symphony (1981, St Louis SO); Tirluniau/Landscapes (2000, BBC Proms, BBCNOW), and Clytemnestra (BBC commission). She has written a number of works for solo harp, commissioned by Elinor Bennett and by the Royal Academy of Music, London. She co-edited the New Grove Dictionary of Women Composers. She received an Hon. Doctorate of Music from the University of Wales in 2016.
Carol McClure, BA, MCM, Founder-Director of The Harp School, Inc. and ABRSM USA National Summer Harp Academy, harp professor (University of Louisville, Union University) and pedagogy specialist, solo, chamber and orchestral harpist, composer, arranger, editor and music publisher, studied with Marcel Grandjany and Mildred Dilling. A long-tenured Nashville recording session musician, Carol’s discography includes 20 solo CDs for US and UK labels. Author of The Angel’s Harp, Two by Two and Viva Voce curricula for developing musicians, she trains teachers and teaches students that include National Youth Orchestra USA harpists, national and international competition winners, scholarship recipients at prestigious conservatories, and students with special learning challenges.
Meinir Heulyn is one of Wales’ most versatile harpists at the forefront of the Welsh harp scene. Having graduated from University College Cardiff she studied at the Conservatorio di Musica, Genova. She enjoyed 30 years as Principal Harpist for the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera performing internationally and recording extensively with world renowned artists. She is a highly regarded harp teacher at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Meinir is a prolific arranger and in 1991 Alaw Music Publishing. She has published over 50 volumes for harp which include arrangements of Welsh traditional music.