The healing powers of the harp on the occasion of the return of an international festival


The prestigious Wales Harp Festival returns to Gwynedd after the pandemic forced its cancellation two years ago and turned it into a virtual event in 2021.

There will be live audiences at Galeri Caernarfon when it becomes the center of the harp world with the event staged over two days on 12 and 13 April.

Under the artistic direction of internationally renowned harpist Elinor Bennett, the festival combines concerts with masterclasses and workshops, offering harpists of all ages and abilities the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s finest performers.

There will also be public concerts in the afternoon and evening which will include the world premiere of a new work for harp. The competition for the Nansi Richards Award for young Welsh harpists will also take place.

Speaking of the frustration of the past two years caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Elinor said: “The healing powers of the harp are well known and the Wales Harp Festival will provide a fantastic opportunity for harpists and novice harpists to meet once. again.

“I look forward to being inspired by other harpists, younger and older, to create music that will uplift our hearts and minds after the agonies of Covid.

“Let’s look together towards a brighter future with positive hearts.”

Wednesday night’s concert features Swansea-born harpist Gwenllian Llyr, who will perform a new piece by Mared Emlyn and her own new arrangement of the well-known anthem Calon Lân.

Joining Gwenllian will be jazz harpist Benjamin Creighton-Griffiths, with his band the Transatlantic Hot Club featuring New York’s Adrien Chevalier on fiddle and Ashley John Long on bass.

Elinor said Mared Emlyn’s play was to be performed at the 2020 festival.

“Finally, the piece can be heard and in public also where it rightfully belongs,” Elinor said.

Elinor is also looking forward to hearing former student Benjamin Creighton-Griffiths perform.

The two harpists will give workshops and lessons in composition, jazz and improvisation during the festival.

The festival was established in the late 1970s and was first held at Bangor University as a residential course for young harpists.

It has evolved into a festival with lessons and workshops, competitions, concerts and other activities, and is now firmly established in the musical calendar.

Organized by Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias (CGWM) since 1999, the festival takes place annually and has also spawned the International Harp Festival which is held every four years and is due to be held again in 2023. The workshops and lessons start at 10am both days. After lunch on the first day, there is a concert by the members of the course and a composition course with Gwenllian Llyr and Mared Emlyn.

During the afternoon, the festival offers a concert in the Galeri cafe called ‘Wales and Ireland Celtic Knot’.

The first day’s activities are rounded off with the Nansi Richards Scholarship Competition at 6 p.m. Organized by the Nansi Richards Trust, the scholarship is open to harpists under the age of 25 who live or were born in Wales.

It dates back to 1976 during a tribute concert to Nansi Richards,

After the morning classes on the second day of the festival, Ben Creighton-Griffiths will lead an afternoon jazz workshop before two concerts close the festival.

At 5:00 p.m., more than 40 harps will be placed on the interior balconies of Galeri for a special free performance by course participants.

Renowned harpist Dylan Cernyw will perform at Cafe Galeri at 6.45pm before the main festival concert at 7.30pm.


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