More competition news: we're off to Serbia for the 18th Petar Konjovic International Competition, which will be held in Zemun, Belgrade over the coming weekend. Best of luck to everyone taking part - with seven categories ranging from under-eleven, to young professional, the jury will have their work cut out!
Two Harp Festivals in Wales
For a decade the Caernarfon Harp Festival has been a part of my Easter holidays. Presented by the William Mathias Music Centre, every year the festival celebrates a different aspect of the history of the harp and this year was no different - it was a double celebration! One hundred years ago the Welsh harpist-composer John Thomas, Pencerdd Gwalia, died and in the same year one of the greatest composers of the twentieth century who contributed to the harp repertoire, Benjamin Britten was born.
Here are the results of the two competitions of the Pencerdd Gwalia Festival. The final stages took place in Bridgend, Wales, birthplace of the great Welsh harpist John Thomas, last week on April 13th.
Junior Competition - under 17 years of age:
1. Mared Emyr Pugh-Evans
2. Molly-Rowan Sharples
3. Cassandra Tomella
Senior Competition - under 25, but with no lower age limit:
1. Llywelyn Ifan Jones
2. Elfair Grug Dyer
3. Molly-Rowan Sharples
Congratulations to all laureates!
The final followed rounds of competition in South and North Wales. The competition day was rounded off by a concert to celebrate John Thomas' life and work, featuring performances by Catrin Finch, Hannah Stone, Katherine Thomas, Gary Griffiths and the Tabernacle Choir. We sponsored the concert, and the first prize in the Junior Competition was sponsored by our Cardiff partners, Telynau Vining Harps.
The festival website has a good collection of information about John Thomas, ranging from contemporary anecdotes and extracts from Thomas's own journals, to two articles about Bridgend in the 1830s and links to events, recordings and sheet music.
Maureen Thiébaut in the final of the Cité des Arts competition, performing with the Quatuor Michalakakos. Photo: Jean-Marc Volta
Maureen Thiébaut, winner of the last Concours de la Cité des Arts de Paris, will perform her prize tour in April. She will start with a matinée recital at the Harfengalerie Camac Berlin, on April 21st, 2013 at 11AM. Your next chance to hear her will be in Cardiff: a lunchtime concert at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, April 30th at 1:15PM. Finally, she will perform in Italy on May 26th, at the beautiful Villa Carlotta on Lake Como.
Entrance to all events is free. If you need any more information, please contact our partners in Berlin, Cardiff and Milan, our collaborators on the tour:
+49 30 21 97 11 76
+44 2920 620900
+39 3280 36 46 96
The closing date for the Third International Harp Competition in Szeged (November 28 - December 3, 2013) is not until the 30th of September, but if you're going in for the competition you're probably working on your programme already. In which case: there's an interesting interview with Attila Reményi, whose Miniatures are the set work in the competition's senior cateogry.
The Miniatures, which won the Third International Composition Competition in Fukui, Japan in 1998, are not Reményi's sole contribution to the harp repertoire. He has written no less than ten solo and chamber works (catalogued at the end of the interview), including for pedal harp, lever harp, harp duet, harp ensemble, flute and harp, and fl/vla/hp trio.
Claire Iselin. Photo: J K Photography
Congratulations to Claire Iselin, winner of the Camac Harp Competition in London in 2009, who has been awarded the highest solo performance prize from her college, the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Claire beat five other finalists across all instrumental disciplines, plus composition, to win the Isabelle Bond Gold Medal 2013. Bravo to Claire and to her professor, Gabriella Dall'Olio!
164 candidates came to Limoges from as far away as China and Korea, to play for an international jury presided over by Isabelle Moretti. Aiste Baliunyte (Lithuania) was awarded the first prize in the most senior "excellence" category, of one of our Bardic harps.