Wales’s most prestigious classical music festival has launched its programme for 2017 and it all starts at The National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth on Friday, June 16.
This year’s Gregynog Festival promises to be the most ambitious yet with pageantry as its overarching theme, presenting musical performances, dance productions, historical exhibitions and fascinating talks at a host of venues from June 16 to July 2.
The festival opens at The National Library of Wales with a talk about this year’s curation by Rhian Davies, the festival’s artistic director. The day continues with performances by Irish harpist Paul Dooley, bringing to life the mysterious Robert ap Huw manuscript of medieval Welsh harp music and French lutenist Thomas Dunford playing Dowland and Bach. There will also be an exhibition in the library’s Summers Room for all to enjoy.
For Rhian, coming back to the library is a great honour:
“Returning to Aberystwyth and holding the first day of our Pageantry season at The National Library of Wales is wonderful,” she said. “The curation is the culmination of 20 years’ research, much of it within the library’s collections and it’s always exciting to hear the music you’ve studied in the Reading Room come to life in concert, especially in the same building.
“The Council Chamber has excellent acoustics and it will also be thrilling to see and hear the musicians perform in such an intimate setting. The focus in Aberystwyth is to celebrate the pioneering practice of Arnold Dolmetsch, notably his work on the medieval music and instruments of Wales.”
Gregynog is Wales’ oldest extant classical music festival, but its most significant predecessor was the Harlech Castle Musical Festival. The programme for Gregynog Festival’s Pageantry season is inspired by those glorious summers, a century ago, when a remarkable creative community gathered in Harlech, including celebrity artists, photographers, authors and dancers as well as musician. Thousands of people used to flock to be part of wonderful performances within the Castle walls.
Linda Tomos, The National Library of Wales’ chief executive, said:
“We welcome the return of the Gregynog Festival and look forward to the musical performances and talks that are to be held here. It is an incredible privilege for such works to be played by world-class musicians in Aberystwyth and I would encourage everyone to come along – it is an opportunity not to be missed.”
Among the other highlights of the 2017 season will be pianist Llyr Williams and saxophonist Amy Dickson at Chirk Castle, an especially commissioned dance piece by Light, Ladd and Emberton performed in the twilight on Harlech Beach and enlightening talks by such luminaries as Peter Lord and Hazel Walford Davies.
The festival also includes a full supporting programme of talks, films, excursions, exhibitions and community outreach events to give context and encourage engagement and participation by residents and visitors alike.
For further information and to buy tickets visit www.gregynogfestival.org or call 01686 207100.