Six centuries of classical music on the West Wales festival program

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St David’s Cathedral in Pembrokeshire. Photo by Nation.Cymru

The organizer of West Wales’ main music festival says this summer’s event will feature the largest number of performances in its history, spanning six centuries of music.

The Fishguard and West Wales Music Festival will see concerts and events held at thirteen venues across Pembrokeshire.

It runs from August 20 to September 10, with a launch concert by the National Youth Brass Band of Wales at St David’s Cathedral on Friday August 5.

Artistic director Gillian Green MBE described the “world-class music celebration” planned for this year’s festival.

Describing the scheme, Ms Green said: “The focus is always on making high quality performances accessible to residents and visitors to this beautiful part of Wales and providing performance opportunities for young people.

“We are delighted to have the Welsh National Opera Orchestra back. Their two performances at the 2021 Festival were particularly poignant as it was the first time they had performed for a live audience in over 18 months.

“The European Union Chamber Orchestra is also making a return visit and will present music from the classical era, conducted and conducted by Hans Peter Hofmann.

“Brass will feature in a concert by Inner City Brass, a quintet of musicians who play with various orchestras that recently celebrated their tenth anniversary of performance.”


She continued: “The Sacconi Quartet, formed twenty years ago, is also celebrating an important year. Their two gigs will feature, first guitarist Morgan Szymanski and on their second gig, Peter Donohoe who first heard them at the festival and consequently invited them to tour with him.

“The program will include Rachmaninoff’s Romance for String Quartet and Quintets by Schumann and Taneyev. Peter will also perform with Harriet Mackenzie (violin) as well as Morgan Szymanski, as this is a long-standing duo.

“We have commissioned composer Geraint Lewis to create a new work for the Marian Consort and their program at St David’s Cathedral is called ‘Music of the Sistine Chapel’. It was therefore important to call on a composer who knew the music of Palestrina and other composers of the time.

“The Marian Consort will provide the music for the ‘Saints and Stones’ tour the following day, a project which involves a bus tour around area churches led by the Reverend Richard Davies which gives participants an insight into the history of each one.

“Llŷr Williams makes a welcome return with a program of music by Chopin, Liszt Brahms and Tchaikovsky and we will present two song recitals: the first by Stuart Jackson (tenor) with Jocelyn Freeman (piano) including the CD “Flax and Fire” – Songs of Devotion, received wide critical acclaim.

“The second song recital is a collaboration between Rebecca Evans (soprano) and pianist Andrew Matthews-Owen and the program will include music by Welsh composers Dilys Elwyn-Edwards, Morfydd Owen and Alun Hoddinott.”

new audiences

“Folk musicians Vri and Pedair will perform at Theatr Gwaun and take part in free outdoor shows the following day at Lower Town Quay, Fishguard and Oriel y Parc in St Davids.

“These are great ways to expand the reach of the festival and attract new audiences. People of all ages, babies, toddlers and dogs attend and the public can “dive” into the concert as they wish.

“The show at Lower Town Quay will again take place at 8 a.m. and attendees enjoy the atmosphere that this time of day and location brings.

“Khamira will perform our final concert at the Merlin Theater at Pembrokeshire College in Haverfordwest.

“We will include a talk this year which will be given by Michael Spitzer, author of The Musical Human – A History of Life on Earth. It was a BBC 4 Book of the Week earlier this year.

The festival runs from Saturday 20 August to Saturday 10e September and the full program is available on the festival website where tickets can also be reserved.

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