Pwyll ap Sion

Date: April 2008

A young North Wales composer will receive international recognition at a major violin competition in Cardiff starting on 11th April.

Pwyll ap Sion’s piece for solo violin, White Wheat/Gwenith Gwyn, has been chosen as one of the test pieces for violinists under the age of 16 in the Menhuin Competition which takes place over a period of three days. It will also be performed in the spectacular final Gala and prize giving ceremony at the Wales Millennium Centre on Sunday 20th April.

The piece also appeared this month in the prestigious magazine for violinists The Strad.

The Menuhin Competition is the world’s leading international competition for young violinists. It was founded by Yehudi Menuhin in 1983 and celebrates its 25th anniversary this year in Cardiff. The competition attracts some of the world’s most gifted violinists; previous winners, such as Tasmin Little and Nikolaj Znaider, have achieved international success at the highest level.

“This is a great opportunity for me,” said Pwyll. “The pianist and director of the Menuhin competition, Gordon Back, invited me to write a piece for the event in Cardiff. We both agreed that bringing in a Welsh element would be appropriate so I set about composing a theme and four variations on ‘Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn’. Gordon also stressed that I shouldn’t feel constrained in any sense because I would be writing for some of the world’s most talented young players.”

Pwyll, a senior lecturer at the University of Wales, Bangor School of Music, has composed music for some of Wales’ foremost performers, including Bryn Terfel, Iwan Llewelyn-Jones, Jeremy Huw Williams, and Llŷr Williams, and also musicians from outside Wales, such as the Japanese group, Ensemble Tozai. His music has been featured on CDs made by the WNO Brass Consort, Jeremy Huw Williams (Baritone), Iwan Llewelyn-Jones (Piano), the soprano Buddug Verona James, and the Davies Piano Duo.

The White Wheat / Y Gwenith Gwyn is based on a well known traditional Welsh tune, Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn. It is published by the Gwynn Publishing Company, Talysarn, together with a further two pieces in a similar vein, also for solo violin and based on well known Welsh melodies, Y Deryn Pur and Y Bore Glas.

His latest composition is a piece for a male voice choir called Diwedd, in memory of the prominent Welsh composer Alun Hoddinott who died last month.

Arfon Gwilym, Manager of Cwmni Cyhoeddi Gwynn, said he was delighted that The White Wheat had been chosen for such an occasion. “It is entirely appropriate that a Welsh composer and Welsh music are given prominence when such an important competition takes place in Wales."

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