A community based concert to be staged at St Asaph Cathedral to launch this year’s North Wales International Music Festival is set to be an outstanding success.
Momentum has gathered to support the event – the first of its kind – and the festival’s artistic director Ann Atkinson is thrilled so many people are now rallying behind it.
The concert will be held on Sunday, September 20 and will feature performances by Trelawnyd Male Voice Choir, the NEW Sinfonia orchestra, and the Festival Choir, made up of St Asaph Choral Society and the Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias Chamber Choir.
The 2015 North Wales International Music Festival sees a world class line up from September 26-October 3, supported by the Arts Council of Wales.
A highlight of the week itself will be a world premiere from former royal harpist Hannah Stone, who is performing with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and she will also be performing a solo recital.
Also taking centre stage will be renowned Japanese pianist Noriko Ogawa, Australian guitarist Craig Ogden, vocal ensemble Stile Antico, the Vale of Clwyd Singers, Elin Manahan Thomas and Only Boys Aloud NW. In addition there will be a festival debut performance from 16-year-old violin prodigy Xander Croft, of Greenfield, near Holywell.
Throughout the week educational and community music and arts events will be held at local schools and social groups, all based around the festival theme of ‘Light’. This year’s education project entitled ‘The Power of Light’, supported by the Colwinston Charitable Trust, will explore the concept of light through music, poetry, visual art and science.
With a programme for the launch concert on September 20 including the dramatic Mozart Requiem, ticket sales are picking up fast as music lovers relish the chance to hear the classic piece in the hallowed cathedral setting where the acoustic is widely acclaimed to be among the best in the world.
Ann said: “This is the first time we have staged a launch concert like this a full week before the main festival programme.
“We wanted to do it to give our local community organisations a stand-alone chance to perform.
“It also coincides with the day the Archbishop of Wales will be visiting the cathedral.”
Archbishop Barry Morgan will lead a Eucharist service in the morning and the concert will be staged at 7.30pm in the evening.
In all more than a 100 voices will reverberate around the world famous worship place as they join forces to perform, with the combined Festival Choir led by St Asaph Cathedral’s assistant organist John Hosking.
Ann said: “All the performances are by choirs, instrumentalists and musicians from right here in North Wales. It promises to be an extremely moving and memorable occasion, especially in this our 2015 festival year, which is based around the theme of light.
“As a result the festival programme is one of the best ever and to be able to launch it with a concert like this involving so many dedicated and enthusiastic local musicians is a real coup.”
Her words were echoed by Wrexham’s Robert Guy, artistic director with the award winning NEW Sinfonia and a tutor in conducting at Huddersfield University. He said it was a privilege to be involved with the festival.
He said: “Having performed at the festival on previous occasions I am very happy to be coming back. I really enjoy working with Ann and the whole team in St Asaph. This year I am especially pleased to be involved in the innovative launch concert which showcases the music of our local community.
“That is so important as it goes to the very heart of the event. It is the community which is at the roots of the festival’s success. Without its support North Wales International Music Festival would not be the highlight of the UK music calendar that it is today.”
The Festival Launch concert will see solo performances by soprano Olivia Hunt, counter tenor Francis Hills, tenor Ted Comer and bass, Jeremy Honeybun.
NEW Sinfonia, which is supported by the Arts Council for Wales, has previously performed at the festival in 2012 with Karl Jenkins and in 2013 with Professor Paul Mealor.
To book tickets for the Festival Launch concert and other festival week events go to www.nwimf.com, visit Cathedral Frames on St Asaph High Street or telephone Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold on 01352 701521.