North Carolina Symphony Announce Welsh Music Concert for April 19-21, Raleigh, NC
Music Director Grant Llewellyn and the North Carolina Symphony will present "Grant's Postcards from Home," a program of celebrated 20th- and 21st-century music from Llewellyn's native land, Wales. The concerts will take place in Wilmington's Kenan Auditorium on Thursday, April 19 and in downtown Raleigh's Meymandi Concert Hall on Friday and Saturday, April 20-21. All three concerts begin at 8:00 p.m.
On April 19, UNC-Wilmington's Dr. Barry Salwen will lead a pre-concert talk on the music inside Kenan Auditorium beginning at 6:50 p.m.
In Raleigh, Dr. Randolph Foy of North Carolina State University will present a pre-concert talk in the Swalin Lobby of Meymandi Concert Hall on Friday, April 20 at 7:00 p.m., while Catherine Brand of WUNC-FM hosts the concert's special guest, harpist Catrin Finch, among others, for "Meet the Artists" on Saturday, April 21 at 6:30 p.m.
The notion of an evening of works by Welsh composers was first suggested to Llewellyn by audience members at a post-concert discussion. Though skeptical at first, the conductor soon warmed to the recommendation. "As the idea of this concert developed," he says, "I was very keen to represent a cross-section of Welsh composers with a variety of names (some more pronounceable than others!)"
Also featured on the program is Catrin Finch, a Welsh harpist. H.R.H. Charles, The Prince of Wales appointed Finch Official Royal Harpist in 2002, saying of her, "When I re-established the ancient tradition of appointing a harpist to The Prince of Wales, little did I imagine that I would find someone with such a rare and special talent as Catrin. She is a credit to Wales, and I could not be more proud of her."
"Grant's Postcards from Home" includes work by William Mathias, the first Welsh composer of which Llewellyn was aware and, later, met. "I first played his Celtic Dances when I was eleven years old and a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Wales," he says. The Symphony will perform Mathias's Symphony No. 3, his final major work.
The evening also includes music by two of the exciting young generation of Welsh composers: Ceiri Torjusson's Momentum and Pwyll ap Siôn's Gwales. The latter was written in memoriam of Mathias, with whom Pwyll studied. "It's a take on Mozart's Requiem which was one of Mathias's favorite works," says Llewellyn, "and you will recognize elements of it in Gwales."
Born in Cardiff, Torjusson is a fluent Welsh speaker, and though classically trained, he has played in and arranged for various soul, jazz, funk and disco bands. He has composed scores for nine independent feature films and written additional music for a number of high-profile movies such as Die Hard 4.
The final composer featured on the program is Karl Jenkins, destined to be, "in my opinion, the most performed composer of the 21st century," says Llewellyn. "He is maddeningly popular with an unerring ear for what audiences enjoy. His Over the Stone Concerto for Harp and Orchestra is an absolute winner and with Catrin Finch to perform it, this work will become an audience favorite."
Regular tickets to the Duke Medicine Classical Series Raleigh performances of "Grant's Postcards from Home" on Friday and Saturday, April 20-21 range from $33 to $48, with $30 tickets for seniors.
Regular tickets to the Wilmington Series performance on Thursday, April 19 range from $33 to $48.
Students receive $10 tickets in both venues.
For tickets, visit the North Carolina Symphony website at www.ncsymphony.org or call North Carolina Symphony Audience Services at 919.733.2750 or toll free 877.627.6724.
Meymandi Concert Hall is located in the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., in Raleigh.
Kenan Auditorium is located on the UNC-Wilmington campus, at 601 S. College Road in Wilmington.
Ceiri Torjussen (b. 1976)
Over the Stone, Concerto for Harp and Orchestra
Karl Jenkins (b. 1944)
II. Somnium Aeternum
III. Song of the Bards
IV. Tros y Garreg
VI. Vamp Latino
Catrin Finch, Harp
Pwyll ap Siôn (b. 1968)
Symphony No. 3
William Mathias (1934-1992)
I. Allegro moderato
II. Lento appassionato
III. Allegro non troppo, e risoluto