Royal harpist to perform at North Wales International Music Festival

Anne Denholm

The official harpist to the Prince of Wales is taking a break from her royal duties to perform at a top music festival.

Anne Denholm, 24, will be making her first visit to the North Wales International Music Festival at St Asaph Cathedral for the Aspire/Inspire concert on Thursday, September 22.

She will be starring in the concert along with renowned pianists Iwan Llewelyn Jones and Siwan Rhys as well as pupils of Ysgol Glan Clwyd and the Denbighshire Music Co-operative.

The festival will be held with the support of the Arts Council of Wales and Tŷ Cerdd and continues until Saturday, October 1.

Anne, who last year became the fifth musician to be appointed to the role of Official Harpist to the Prince of Wales since the position was reinstated in the year 2000, is a native of Carmarthenshire and now lives in London.

She said: “I was surprised and honoured when I was asked to become the fifth official harpist to the Prince of Wales. I have got to know Clarence House, Buckingham Palace and St James Palace.

“It was all a bit daunting at first but the staff really help and make sure you know what to do. It’s really a great honour and a privilege to perform for Prince Charles and his guests.”

“When I started to learn the harp I was a child and, like many children, although I loved the instrument I wasn’t always perhaps as diligent as I could have been.

“But it’s true to say that by the time I was 13 I was dedicated and knew this was all I wanted to do. I began attending the Saturday School at the Royal Welsh College of Music in Cardiff.

“Living in Carmarthenshire, that was a huge commitment on the part of my parents who had to drive me to Cardiff and back each week. However, there is no doubt that helped me progress. I was lucky to have such a good teacher and the progression I made was spectacular.

“I then went to the Purcell School and Cambridge University before receiving my Master’s degree from the Royal Academy of Music.”

In 2014 Anne won first prize in the Urdd National Eisteddfod 19-25 solo instrumental category and was then selected to compete for the Bryn Terfel Urdd Scholarship.

Anne, who enjoys performing as part of a full orchestra as well as solo performances, will include some contemporary Welsh pieces in her programme for St Asaph.

She added: “I will be one of a number of musicians performing at the concert including pianists Iwan Llewelyn Jones and Siwan Rhys as well as pupils of Ysgol Glan Clwyd and the Denbighshire Music Co-operative.

“It does promise to be a wonderful and varied concert and I look forward to perhaps introducing the harp to an even wider audience.”

Ann Atkinson, the North Wales International Music Festival’s artistic director, says she is delighted Anne Denholm has agreed to perform at this year’s festival.

She said: “Anne really is one of the very best young harpists and her appointment to the role of Harpist to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales is richly deserved.

“The festival’s ethos is to bring the very best classical musicians to North Wales and in Anne Denholm that is exactly what we have achieved. The Aspire/Inspire concert will be a wonderful evening of music and it’s one I’m particularly looking forward to.”

She added: “This year’s North Wales International Music Festival will also see musicians such as pianist Janina Fialkowska, classical guitarist Miloš Karadaglić, West End soprano Margaret Preece, vocal groups Ex Cathedra, the Vale of Clwyd Singers and the Festival Choir and violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen perform concerts, as well as the world premiere of Paul Mealor’s Symphony No. 2 with our orchestra in residence NEW Sinfonia.

“And with several master classes and a cross-curricular Roald Dahl-themed Education Day featuring Ensemble Cymru, supported by Literature Wales, as well as our community tour, supported by Cartrefi Conwy and Arts & Business Cymru, including the school and tots concerts with Live Music Now Cymru musicians, there really is something for everyone at this year’s festival.”

For more information about the North Wales International Music Festival please visit Tickets are available from Theatr Clwyd, 01352 701521 or Cathedral Frames, St Asaph, 01745 582929.