BBC Radio 3 has just commissioned Rhian to write the 7th piece in 'The Seven Ages of Woman' for the BBC Singers for International Women's Day, 2020, and to act as co-ordinator for the project, as well as to mentor the younger composers involved.  She plans to write a positive piece about being in her decade!

Rhian will give the Richard Burton Annual Lecture at Swansea University on 20 November, 2019. Entitled 'Now I become Myself' (a quotation from a poem by May Sarton), the lecture will present issues from Rhian's life in music, in the UK and the USA, including (of course) her 50+ years' experience as a composer. The lecture will be illustrated by Siân Dicker (soprano) and Krystal Tunnicliffe (piano), who will perform 'Before Dawn' (no 3 of The White Amaryllis) and the three songs of Cerddi Hynafol.

Rhian has completed a set of songs to a commission from the Ludlow English Song Weekend (director, Iain Burnside), which she has entitled The Moon and Iusing texts by Tabitha Hayward and Anne Stevenson. The singer will be Claire Barnett-Jones, currently starring in Birtwistle's Mask of Orpheus at ENO, and the pianist, Gamal Khamis.  Also in the festival, to take place in April 2020, Roderick Williams, baritone, who has sung several of Rhian's pieces previously, will sing Spring Diary (S&B, 2010), a set of five songs to poems by Anne Stevenson, in his recital with Iain at the festival. These poems were inspired by Anne's summer home, 'Pwll y March', in the heart of Snowdonia. Rhian will also run a composers' workshop and participate in panel discussions. 

Rhian attended several excellent performances of her works in October, 2019: Helen Reid played two movements from Dream-Images for solo piano at City University, London, on 18 October, while two days later, Clare Hammond played A Garland for Anne, also for solo piano, at the HGS Series in Hampstead. (What a warm and friendly audience!) Then, in High Wycombe on 29 October, the Tailleferre Ensemble played her Redlands Suite for oboe, clarinet and bassoon, a revised piece from university days, in which Rhian had played the oboe!  Since there are two oboists in the woodwind group -- a fairly unusual situation -- Rhian presented them with a newly-minted set of Little Duos for oboe and cor anglais. This set complements LIttle Duo sets for two bassoons and two clarinets, already published.  Watch this space for a first performance!   

RS with Clare Hammond (piano)
The Tailleferre Ensemble with RS

In late September, just back home from Greece where she visited ancient sites including Mycenae, Rhian was gratified to hear her Clytemnestra on Radio 3 -- a first airing of the new CD with Ruby Hughes, Jac van Steen and the BBCNOW.  The CD will be available to the public very shortly.

On 4 September, Rhian was honoured by a concert devoted to her violin music at the 2nd 'Women's Work' International Conference at Bangor University. The excellent players were Madeleine Mitchell and Nigel Foster; the pieces are One Charming Night, the Violin Sonata and Bitter-Sweet (1st performance, and recently published by Tŷ Cerdd). Rhian introduced the works being played and took part in a panel discussion the next day.


Good to hear via the grapevine that 'Crys y Mab' (no 3 of Cerddi Hynafol) was performed at the National Eisteddfod of Wales at Llanrwst, in a concert on Monday 5 August, by Iona Jones, soprano, and Joy Amman Davies, piano. 

Recent publication (Tŷ Cerdd):  Ribbons & Streamers II for flute, viola and harp. This is loosely based on Ribbons and Streamers I for flute and guitar and intermingles carnival-like, exuberant sounds with a mournful, Dowland-esque melody. 

An article by Matthew Hoch on the solo piece, Yr Alarch (The Swan), has just appeared in the US publication, Journal of the IAWM.  It discusses the Welsh setting and offers advice to singers unfamiliar with the language on pronunciation, etc, as well as analysing the piece. Matthew has toured the southern United States with Yr Alarch, as well as singing it in the Middle East. The work is about to appear on two CDs in the UK -- in the soprano version (Elin Manahan Thomas) and the baritone version (Paul Carey Jones).  

Concert pianist Clare Hammond gave a fine performance of A Garland for Anne (S&B) at City University, London, on Friday, 24 May. The piece, in 5 short movements, takes as its inspiration the titles, or phrases from, five of Anne Stevenson's poems; the first of the set, 'The Therapy of Moonlight' was included in the book (Festschrift) published to celebrate Anne's 70th birthday. Clare will give two more performances of the work, in London and Cardiff, next October. 
Paul Carey Jones, RS, Jocelyn Freeman, Katharine Dain
(photo: Matthew Thistlewood) 

April was busy: two sessions at Tŷ Cerdd recording two song cycles for a CD of music by Clara Schumann and Rhian! Wonderful singers and pianist: Katharine Dain, US soprano now living in the Netherlands, Paul Carey Jones, baritone, Jocelyn Freeman, pianist. Rhian's song cycles for the CD are The White Amaryllis (May Sarton) and The Flowing Sand (Samuel Beckett). Paul later returned to Tŷ Cerdd to record 'Yr Alarch' -- one more piece for the disc!

On 7 March, the RNCM Harp Ensemble and Alicia Cadwgan, soprano, gave a brilliant performance of  'Nantcol Songs' for soprano and 6 harps (S&B, 2003) at their concert hall in Manchester.   
Performance of Nantcol Songs with Alicia Cadwgan, soprano, 
Melvyn Tay, conductor, & the RNCM Harp Ensemble, 
director Eira Lynn Jones
A few days earlier on 3 March Mary Hofman and Richard Ormrod played the Violin Sonata (Tŷ Cerdd, 2018) at Aberystwyth University's Old Hall, where Rhian gave a pre-concert talk to a friendly audience. On 26 February, baritone Roderick Williams and Andrew West, piano, performed Summer Songs (Stainer & Bell, 2014) at the Barbican's Milton Court, London. The previous day, Rhian had returned to Cardiff's Hoddinott Hall for the completion of the recording of the CD of Clytemnestra (Ruby Hughes BBCNOW & Jac Van Steen, BIS records). And just before that, on 22 February, Mary Hofman and Richard Ormrod gave the 5th performance of the Violin Sonata, this time at Carmarthen Arts at the University of Wales Trinity-St Davids, continuing the tour begun in October 2018.    

There was a lovely celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Hoddinott Hall, home of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in Cardiff, on 25th January. 
                       Philippe Schartz, trumpet, with RS
                       at the Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff
      RS with Holly Mathieson, conductor 
   and Sarah-Lianne Lewis,  fellow composer

The programme included Brass Express commissioned in 1994 by Reading University College of Land Management and first performed at the University's Great Hall by Anne McAneney, trumpet, and the Reading Univ. Symphony Orchestra, conductor Graham Treacher. This time it was performed by Philippe Schartz, trumpet, and BBCNOW conducted by Holly Mathieson. The piece was broadcast on Radio Cymru, where Rhian gave an interview in her native (if somewhat rusty!) Welsh.

Many of Rhian's choral works, including premieres, were performed in late 2018 by choirs professional and amateur. On 23 Dec the Christmas carol, What Cheer? (S&B), was beautifully sung by the choir of St Laurence Church, Catford, London, director, Jocelyn Freeman, organist Nicholas Mannoukas. On 25 Nov, Ave Maria (Tŷ Cerdd) was performed by the Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir, conductor, Ebbe Munk, in Aalborg, Denmarkit had been performed by them twice previously at Copenhagen Cathedral. O17 Nov, the Ardwyn Singers of Cardiff, cond. David Leggett, pianist Janice Ball, premiered two commissioned sets of choral pieces, Tair Alaw (Nesta Wyn Jones) and The Listening Eye (Anne Stevenson) (both pub. by Tŷ Cerdd), at the RWCMD Dora Stoutzker Hall in Cardiff. On 13 Nov, Kings College London Chapel Choir, director Joseph Fort, sang Rhian's Love bade me welcome (S&B) at Evensong once again. 

The Ardwyn Singers, cond. David Leggett,
at the RWCMD Dora Stoutzker Hall