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Gregynog Festival

Festival or Organisation Name: 

Gregynog Festival


18-6-2018 to 30-6-2018


Gregynog, Harlech, Chirk, Aberystwyth

Festival or Organisation description: 

The modern festival is run by the Gregynog Festival Company Limited, a registered charity. Our aim is to create unique programming with the world's best musicians, celebrating Gregynog and Wales' cultural heritage. We are the oldest classical music festival in Wales founded by the sisters Margaret and Gwendoline Davies, best-known perhaps for their world-class collection of French Impressionist art which was bequeathed to National Museum Wales. By the time the sisters purchased Gregynog from their brother David in 1920, they had becoming increasingly involved in the patronage of music as well as art. In 1919, they endowed two simultaneous positions for Henry Walford Davies as first Gregynog Professor of Music at Aberystwyth and first Director of the National Council of Music for Wales. Once Walford Davies began bringing his Aberystwyth students to Gregynog on retreat and arranged that the annual conferences of the National Council of Music should take place at the Hall, the sisters decided to transform the existing billiard room into a dedicated space for music-making. The elaborate central fireplace gave way to a three-manual organ, installed by the noted maker Frederick (‘Daddy’) Rothwell to Walford Davies’ personal specifications. It is in this room that we hold our Gregynog Festival concerts. Both sisters and Dora were members of the Gregynog Choir, an ensemble of estate workers and other local people which first sang at the Hall in 1929. Following a performance of Vaughan Williams’ Benedicite, directed by the composer himself, in 1932, the Choir went on to become the backbone of the original Gregynog Festivals, 1933-38. Fellow performers included Adrian Boult, Jelly d’Arányi, Leila Mégane and Elsie Suddaby, while audience members could include George Bernard Shaw and Joyce Grenfell. The Choir appeared at Royal Command Concerts in London’s Albert Hall in 1935 and 1938 as well as making several broadcasts including a live relay of Bach’s St Matthew Passion from Gregynog’s Music Room at Easter 1939. Following the Second World War and the death of Gwendoline Davies in 1951, a second sequence of Festivals, 1956-61, was directed by Ian Parrott, one of Walford Davies’ successors as Gregynog Professor of Music at Aberystwyth. Helen Watts, Redvers Llewellyn and Evelyn Barbirolli were among the outstanding soloists whom he engaged. A one-off Festival in 1972 featured a recital by Benjamin Britten, Peter Pears and Osian Ellis before the third and present series of Festivals was revived by the tenor Anthony Rolfe Johnson from 1988. Gregynog has continued to attract international artists such as John Lill, Benjamin Luxon and, most recently, The Sixteen, Emma Johnson, Alison Balsom, Tenebrae and The King’s Singers, while creating opportunities for emerging young musicians who have gone on to develop their own stellar careers including Guy Johnston, Frederick Kempf and Bryn Terfel.

Box Office Phone No.:: 

01686 207 100

Press release: 

Office Email Address:: 

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