As I have blogged before, the Wales International Harp Festival (Caernarfon, April 2010) has a remarkably appealing, broad programme. Its collaborations with local community members, schools and artists make it a harp festival that does not only benefit harpists, and in turn the community is helping us. It's a real team effort!
Three of Wales' most celebrated contemporary artists have donated paintings to help fund the festival's masterclasses and workshops. These works by Gareth Parry, William Selwyn and Catrin Williams are now available on eBay. We hope to reach potential new buyers for these wonderful artists by showcasing them in a musical environment, and thank them in turn most warmly for their support.
The festival's strong connection with the visual arts (there will also be a music/art project in local schools, as well an on-site art exhibition throughout the festival) came about through this year's celebration of the 300th anniversary of the birth of John Parry of Ruabon. John Parry was born in Nefyn, Gwynedd in 1710, and became one of the greatest harpists of the late Baroque period. His son, William Parry (1743 1791) trained as a portrait painter under Joshua Reynolds, and painted a portrait of his father, which will be displayed during the Festival by kind permission of its owner, Miles Wynn Cato. This painting was the inspiration for developing projects linking art and music during the Festival.
John Parry by William Parry, reproduced here with kind permission of Miles Wynn Cato of Welsh Art, London.
You can read about our three artist sponsors below. Meanwhile, we have had over 120 applications for the competitions! The winner of the “Chief Musician” competition will receive a new Atlantide Prestige concert harp, and the international jury will include distinguished harpists from Russia, France, Hungary, Denmark and the USA as well as from Wales, Denmark, England and Ireland.
Gareth Parry RCA is one of Wales’ leading painters, born in 1951 into the culturally rich quarrying community of Blaenau Ffestiniog. He studied for a while at the Manchester College of Art.
For many difficult years, with money often hard to come by, Gareth established himself not only through private commissions but as a fine illustrator. However, in the early 1990s he decided to paint as he wanted, basing paintings of people, places and effects on his sketches. With this shift came admirers from all walks of life, awoken to his talents as a gifted painter - the late Kyffin Williams amongst them, who also became a friend. Gareth’s work is not so much about place as it is about effect or mood, brushwork is of paramount importance.
Earlier this year Gareth had his second major exhibition at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, where his paintings have been bought for the national collection. His work is mostly about Wales and the Welsh and he has a deep understanding of both the landscape and the people who occupy it.
William Selwyn was born in Caernarfon in 1933. In 1954, after two years completing National Service in the Royal Artillery, he studied at Bangor Normal College until 1956. He subsequently taught at Maesincla Junior School and at Syr Hugh Owen School until his retirement in 1990.
He has exhibited widely, at the royal Cambrian Academy, the Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales, the Royal West of England Academy, the Royal Society of British Artists, the Tegfryn Art Gallery, Menai Bridge, the Albany Gallery, Cardiff, Tibb Lane Gallery, Manchester, Oriel Plas Glyn-y-Weddw, Llanbedrog, John Davies Gallery, Stow-on-the Wold, Electric Mountain, Llanberis, Oriel Arfon, Caernarfon and Thackeray Gallery, London.
Welshness - or rather the experience of living in Wales - is an obvious theme in Catrin Williams's work. Elements from her background and upbringing in Meirionnydd insist on inclusion in her work - the home and the farm; the celebrations and the clothing; the music and the Welsh culture; the family traditions and the familiar faces.