A royal composer has spoken of his love for a top music festival as he prepares for the Welsh premiere of a stunning new work there.
Professor Paul Mealor will be unveiling his Symphony No 1, Passiontide, at a launch concert for the North Wales International Music Festival at St Asaph Cathedral at 7.30pm on Sunday, June 19.
Under his baton, it will be performed by the talented NEW Sinfonia Orchestra and his acclaimed chamber choir at Aberdeen University.
Prof Mealor will be in St Asaph all weekend and local choirs and solo singers are invited to a Come and Sing masterclass on the Saturday.
The festival itself will be held with the support of the Arts Council of Wales from Thursday, September 22 to Saturday, October 1.
St Asaph-born Prof Mealor, 40, shot to global fame after he was commissioned to write Ubi caritas et amor by Prince William for his April 2011 marriage to Catherine Middleton.
He began his education in music as a young choirboy at St Asaph Cathedral and was a protégé of the festival’s founder, Professor William Mathias, who wrote the music for wedding of Prince William’s parents, the Prince of Wales and his later mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.
Prof Mealor said: “I was born in St Asaph and grew up in Connah’s Quay and attended the town’s High School. I do love North Wales and have a house on Anglesey which I go to when I am composing.
“The North Wales International Music Festival is really important. There are not too many places in the region where you can go and listen to the very best classical music. It’s a festival we must protect and ensure it goes from strength to strength.
“That’s why I’m delighted to be returning with my Aberdeen University Chamber Choir.
“As a choir we have performed on Radio 3 and on BBC TV and we have an important annual date when we sing for Her Majesty the Queen when she visits Balmoral each summer.
“We perform in the chapel at Balmoral during a Sunday service which Her Majesty attends, it’s always an amazing experience.”
“I’m also delighted we will be performing the Welsh premiere of my latest work, Symphony Number 1. It’s a Passiontide piece celebrating the passion of Christ, the crucifixion and resurrection. It’s deeply spiritual and written for choir and orchestra.
“I’m also excited the choir will be working with NEW Sinfonia orchestra under the baton of Robert Guy.
“I am really looking forward to the festival’s launch weekend and the festival itself. We are so lucky to have this festival in North Wales and I look forward to meeting up with many old friends.”
Ann Atkinson, the festival’s artistic director, says the Saturday workshop will be the start of a wonderful weekend of music.
She said: “We really wanted to launch this year’s North Wales International Music Festival, which will run between Thursday, September 22 and Saturday, October 1st, in style.
“Paul Mealor, who was born in St Asaph and now lectures in music and composition at the University of Aberdeen, will run a workshop along with his Aberdeen University Chamber Choir on the Saturday afternoon from 2pm.
“Anyone wanting to take part can, whether choirs or solo vocalists. However, we would request those wishing to take part bring along a copy of the score for the Fauré Requiem if they possibly can.
“That Saturday evening, between 9pm and 10pm, Paul and his chamber choir will perform a very special mid-summer evening concert which will be a performance not to be missed.”
Ann Atkinson, herself one of Wales’ top mezzo sopranos, added: “Then on the Sunday evening we will officially launch the programme for this year’s North Wales International Music Festival.
“It is on this evening that Paul Mealor and his chamber choir will perform the Welsh premiere of his new choral symphony.
“He will be joined by Wrexham-based NEW Sinfonia orchestra for what will be a magical evening of choral music.
“I’m very excited about the June launch event and thrilled Paul Mealor, who has always supported the festival, has agreed to come down from Aberdeen to help us with the launch of what will be a very special festival.”
To find out more about The North Wales International Music Festival visit www.nwimf.com