The winner of this year’s Pendine International Voice of the Future Competition will give a recital at the Conwy Classical Music Festival as a result of winning at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod. Mezzo soprano Erin Gwyn Rossington will perform at 3pm on July 24th, with Annette Bryn Parri at the piano. She will take the stage again later that same day, as one of a quartet of fine young singers with Meinir Wyn Roberts, Huw Ynyr and John Ieuan Jones, in a concert entitled ‘A Night at the Opera’.
Festival director Chris Roberts said, ‘I’m absolutely delighted that Erin has won this prestigious competition, especially as she was a pupil of mine at Ysgol Dyffryn Conwy! Little did I think, when the International Eisteddfod got in touch with me to ask if we would host a recital by the winner of the competition, that it would be won by someone who I know well and who was already booked to take part in the festival! Erin is a truly worthy winner and has definitely got the potential to go far in the world of opera. We are looking forward very much to her performances here.’
The festival, which is one of the largest in Wales not to charge for admission, runs from 20th to 27th July and is expanding again this year with extra concerts.
Two orchestras will perform during the week. The Festival orchestra, which has been a feature of the annual event since its inception fifteen years ago, will perform in its usual Monday night slot on July 22nd. All members of the orchestra are professionals and play with the leading orchestras of the North West.
On the programme will be Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Greensleeves, Butterworth’s idyll ‘On the Banks of Green Willow’, and Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony. In contrast, the concerto offering will be Shostakovich’s Concerto in C minor for Piano, Trumpet and String Orchestra. Soloists in this work will be pianist Ben Powell, and Tracey Redfern (trumpet).
Following the success of their concert last year, Conwy’s very own Town Orchestra again perform at the festival. The Orchestra was founded nine years ago, and under the baton of Rosie Hearn, has grown to be a versatile ensemble of over forty players drawn from a wide area of North Wales.
They will open the festival on the evening of Saturday, July 20th with a programme featuring Sibelius’ Spring Song, Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto in Bb, and Dvorak’s Ninth Symphony (From the New World).
Chris Roberts, festival director commented: “the festival has always very much been a community event, but one which aims to bring high quality music to the town. We’re pleased that the Conwy Town Orchestra are once again taking their place in a programme alongside some of Britain’s top talent.”
Also promising to be a highlight is a concert by the London-based early music specialists and Radio 3 regulars The Marian Consort on the evening of Sunday, July 21st. They will perform a programme based around the works of William Byrd, England’s greatest Renaissance composer, and his contemporaries.
Chamber music will be well represented, with concerts by The Fitzsimmon Ensemble, The Manchester Ensemble and the Thorne Trio. Amongst composers whose works will be performed are Mozart, Haydn, Dvorak, Brahms, Richard Strauss and Schubert.
Altogether over five hundred years of music will feature in the week-long event, ranging from Renaissance polyphony through to songs from the shows and a male voice choir.
The festival is run by people from the historic town of Conwy and relies only on audience donations and sponsorship. Its work in promoting local talent from the area and in developing the cultural life of North Wales has won it the praise of celebrities in the music world such as Bryn Terfel and royal composer Paul Mealor.
Chris Roberts added: “I am pleased that once again we are able to offer a broad range of concerts with something hopefully to appeal to everyone.
“Many of the performers at this year’s festival are building their musical careers. Who knows, the singers and instrumentalists on stage in Conwy this year may be those to listen out for in the future!
“This year, there’s an increased emphasis on showcasing a new generation of young musicians from the area who have shown such promise that they have their own concert.
On 10.30pm on Monday, July 22nd fifteen year old Christopher Sabisky from the Conwy Valley will present a programme entitled ‘From Baroque to Beatboxing’ on the flute and harp. Last year he won both the harp and woodwind competitions at the Urdd Eisteddfod.
On Saturday, July 27th at 1pm, eighteen year old pianist Ellis Thomas from Llandudno will perform works by Brahms, Debussy, Liszt and Rachmaninoff. Elllis has performed concerti with a number of orchestras, has received numerous awards at the Royal Northern College of Music where he studies, and has been successful in many prestigious competitions.
Chris Roberts commented: “the event has always aimed to put Conwy on the map and help attract people to the area. We hope the programme for this fifteenth year will be better than ever for the town.
“The festival wouldn’t happen without the support of the people of Conwy. Local businesses sponsor the concerts, and people living in the area help keep the costs down by letting visiting performers stay in their spare bedrooms.”
Concerts take place in the historic St Mary’s church in the centre of Conwy. The Conwy Classical Music Festival begins on Saturday July 20th and runs for a week.