NEWS AND RECENT EVENTS


On 4th May, 2018, Ensemble Cymru began a concert tour of Wales in Cardiff, with Emerging (lightly) on the programme, and on 6th May, before the second concert of the tour at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre, they gave a 'Composer Portrait' of Rhian, performing Fritillaries (clarinet and harp) and Pererin (flute and clarinet). What fabulous players! Thank you to clarinettist Peryn Clement-Evans, director of Ensemble Cymru, and Composers of Wales for arranging it. 


Anne Denhom (harp), Akena Walentin (flute), RS, Oliver
Wilson (viola) after concert at Aberystwyth Arts centre
Besides Emerging (lightly), three other pieces by Rhian were/will be toured in 2018: baritone Matthew Hoch performed Yr Alarch across the southern United States in Jan-March (and gave a lecture-recital on the piece at the 'Music by Women' Festival at the Mississippi University for Women); Far across the Sea/ Ymhell dros y Môr was played in April/early May by harpist Helen Davies in concerts in Spain and Portugal as she accompanied the Copenhagen Boys' Choir, and violinist Mary Hofman and pianist Richard Ormrod will present Rhian's new Violin Sonata in music clubs all over Wales in the autumn (this tour has received funding from the PRS Foundation).

On 3rd May, 2018, the choral work, Yr Alarch, was premiered at Cardiff University, the choir conducted by Robert Fokkens, in a concert postponed from March in deference to storm Emma. It will be performed again and recorded in June. In late April, the recording of Clytemnestra got under way, with one more session scheduled to complete it. Soprano Ruby Hughes, BBCNOW, Jac van Steen (conductor) and Robert Suff (BIS records) all participated and made the occasion a wonderful one for the composer. On the recording will also be Berg's Altenberglieder and Mahler's Rückert-Lieder, sung amazingly beautifully by Ruby. What an honour to have Clytemnestra in this company! 

In early April 2018, Rhian chaired the under-19s competition at the International Harp Festival at Caernarfon, North Wales. Her fellow-judges were harpists Cliona Doris (Dublin) and Carol McClure (Louisville, KY). The winners of the competition were Mared Emyr Pugh-Evans, Evelien Vaneysendeyk and Anwen Mai Thomas. Congratulations to all three! 

Two further professional recordings of Rhian's music were made in late 2017. They are Wildflower Songbook, a set of three songs for mezzo and piano, recorded in December, 2017 for an upcoming CD on Stone Records by Anna Stéphany and Sholto Kynoch, and Dovey Junction, recorded by the A5 Brass Quintet at the studios of Tŷ Cerdd in early November and now available at https://soundcloud.com/tycerdd/dovey-junction 

RS with A5 Brass Quintet
Wildflower Songbook was commissioned by the Oxford Lieder Festival in 2015 and sets words by Anne Stevenson; Dovey Junction is a newly-revised version of the work premiered in the USA by Borealis Brass (Alaska) at the UNESCO World Forum on Music, Los Angeles, and in the UK by the late Jim Watson's students at the RAM. The studio recording was the final activity in Rhian's composer's residency with Wales' Tŷ Cerdd national youth ensembles, 2017, which was for her a most enjoyable and productive time. She thanks Tŷ Cerdd and all the young Welsh musicians who took part in performances of her pieces.

Looking forward, on 14 November, 2018, Rhian's large-scale orchestral piece, Tirluniau/Landscapes (Stainer & Bell, 2000), will be played by the Symphony Orchestra of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama conducted by David Jones at St David's Hall, Cardiff. (This work was commissioned by the BBC for the Millenium Proms in the Albert Hall and premiered there by BBCNOW with Tadaaki Otaka, conductor.) Three days later, also in Cardiff, the Ardwyn Singers, conductor David Leggett, will premiere two new sets of choral pieces by Rhian, Tair Alaw, to texts by Nesta Wyn Jones, and The Listening Eye, to texts by Anne Stevenson. The concert, on Saturday, November 17th, will be at the RWCMD Dora Stoutzker Hall.
  
Recent publications from Tŷ Cerdd

Ribbons and Streamers I for flute and guitar 
was written for Lucas Jordon (flute) and Fabrizio Mattos (guitar) and was performed by them in Norma and Zurich as well as London and Oxford in 2014. The work alternates between celebratory, carnival-like music and a sad, reflective melody recalling a Dowland song. 

Fragile Landscapes for solo piano 
is dedicated to the memory of James Martin, who established the Oxford Martin School, and was premiered at James' memorial service by Russell Hirshfield at Keble College Oxford in October, 2013. The work was inspired by James's (and the composer's own) concerns about issues of natural conservation and the future of the planet. 

Yr Alarch (The Swan) for SATB chorus to an anonymous 14th-century text often ascribed to Dafydd ap Gwilym, is Rhian's second setting of this beautiful poem, the first, quite different, being for solo voice (pub. Stainer & Bell). The choral version was recently premiered at Cardiff University (see above). 

Three Yeats Songs for medium voice and flute is a revised version of a work Rhian wrote in 1967 as part of her Master's degree submission at Washington University, St Louis, USA, where it was first performed. It sets the famous poem, 'Had I the Heavens' Embroidered Cloths' as well as 'He and She' and 'Sweet Dancer'.