W E L C O M E
One of Wales’s foremost music festivals has assembled a truly star-studded line-up for its fifteenth annual event. Amongst the distinguished artists who will be appearing in Llandeilo this year are renowned cellist Steven Isserlis (who will be partnered by pianist Tom Poster in a programme which will include sonatas by Schubert and Prokofiev, as well as two of Bach’s unaccompanied cello suites) and the dynamically talented Madeleine Mitchell (whose recital with Charles Wiffen will feature the monumental Sonata in A major by César Franck as well as music by Beethoven and Bach). The four virtuosi who form The Vida Guitar Quartet will be displaying what Gramophone magazine has described as exceptional artistry and unerring musical instinct and the renowned Carducci String Quartet, fresh from their triumph in New York’s Carnegie Hall, will perform works by Beethoven, Prokoviev and Dvořák. Dvořák will also be one of the composers represented in the attractive programme chosen by the gifted members of the Odysseus Piano Trio. Leading actors Joanna David and Henry Goodman will join with BBC Young Musician piano winner, Lucy Parham, to tell the story of the intense relationship between Robert Schumann, his wife Clara Schumann, and Johannes Brahms and song lovers are looking forward to the visit of one of Britain’s best-loved singers, baritone Roderick Williams, after his truly mesmerizing performances in last year’s BBC Proms. Jazz lovers will be relishing the return of the inimitable diva Salena Jones, with the popular Geoff Eales Trio and another eagerly anticipated return visit will be that of one of Wales’s leading youth choirs, the ebullient Côr y Cwm, under its conductor Elin Llywelyn Williams.
The highlight of this year’s Festival however will be its commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the ending of the Second World War, with the first performance in Wales of James Whitbourn’s Annelies, a masterly setting of a libretto by Melanie Challenger, based on Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. The tragic story of the young German-Jewish girl, who hid from the Nazis for nearly two years in Amsterdam before being deported to Auschwitz and eventually dying of disease and deprivation in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, has come to symbolize, perhaps more than anything, the horror of the holocaust. The performance will be given by the choir and instrumentalists of Armonico Consort under the baton of its conductor, Christopher Monks, with soprano soloist Elin Manahan Thomas, on the opening night of a Festival which we are confident will linger long in the memory of everyone who comes to Llandeilo this year.
There will also be the usual series of free Lunchtime and Coffee concerts, which will provide a platform for some of Wales’s most talented young performers, especially this year the violinists Charlie Lovell-Jones, Abigail Hammett and James Jones and the Festival will again feature a number of School Workshops with some of the Festival artists, in accordance with its continuing policy of educating the young, as well as entertaining the not-so-young.