A Welsh soprano who is set to sing at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding will soon be taking to the stage in Cowbridge.
Elin Manahan Thomas has been announced as one of the headline artists on the Cowbridge Music Festival line-up for 2018.
The Gorseinon-born singer, who performed at the 2012 Paralympics opening ceremony in London, has performed at concert halls around the world.
In her ‘The Cloths of Heaven’ concert planned for the festival in September, Elin will celebrate the anniversaries of Morfydd Owen and Dilys Elwyn Edwards, both hugely influential composers of Welsh song, with a special centenary programme, accompanied by Welsh pianist Jocelyn Freeman.
Now in its 9th year, the Cowbridge Music Festival will take place 7th-22nd September with a vibrant programme consisting of more than twenty events.
This year’s artists include classical guitarists, Miloš Karadaglić, and jazz vocalists Jacqui Dankworth, as well as many established names and rising stars of the classical, jazz and folk worlds.
As well as the main evening concerts, the festival includes an annual Chamber Music Seminar, the celebrated Family Concert, several concerts in local care homes and five full days of workshops and concerts in schools.
On this year’s lineup, Artistic Director Mary Elliott said: “We’re really excited about this year’s lineup. We’ve got some of Europe’s most celebrated musicians, festival favourites and rising stars from the classical, jazz and folk worlds in our programme.
“Elin will be joining us following her performance at the Royal Wedding so we can’t wait to hear all about it. She’s a great supporter of the festival and this will be her second time performing.”
“And we are very proud to present our very own trustee Eluned Pierce, Principal Harpist of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, who will be performing at the festival for the first time.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming music fans in September for what is shaping up to be our biggest programme yet.”
Tickets for this year’s festival go on sale July 2nd. For more information visit: https://cowbridgemusicfestival.co.uk/
2 x 4 Seasons – Friday 7 September, 7.30pm – Holy Cross Church
For our opening concert, The Nidum Ensemble return to Cowbridge for an eagerly anticipated performance of Vivaldi’s famous Four Seasons, juxtaposed with their Argentinian counterparts composed by Piazzolla.
The Nidum Ensemble, formed in Neath and now well-known to Cowbridge audiences for their dynamic approach to music-making, is currently made up of leading string players from the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the BBC National Symphony Orchestra of Wales. They regularly collaborate with leading Welsh artists such as Shan Cothi, Wynne Evans and Rebecca Evans.
Chamber Music Seminar Concerts – Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September 7.00pm – Holy Cross Church
Following on from the success of the first Chamber Music Seminar in 2017, Cowbridge Music Festival welcome another ten musicians, including string players, a clarinettist, a bassoonist, a French horn player and a pianist, for a week of rehearsals and performances in Cowbridge. Recent graduates from the UK’s major conservatoires will work alongside leading chamber musicians to present two concerts at Holy Cross Church and four concerts in local care homes, performing lesser-known chamber works for strings and winds as well as some of the great pillars of the repertoire.
An evening of Eastern European Folk Music – Wednesday 12 September, 7.30pm – Town Hall
In response to popular demand Tri i Dve make their return to Cowbridge Music Festival with their infectious enthusiasm and their new programme entitled Balkan ‘o’ Clock. All outstanding professional classical musicians, they take their listeners on a musical journey from East to West, playing everything from Tzigane, Klezmer and Balkan music, to the salon music of Vienna and Italy, and from traditional airs to classical repertoire by composers including Bartok, Monti and Brahms. This vast repertoire is performed on a range of instruments, both classical and traditional.
An evening of harp duos – Friday 14 September, 7.30pm – Duke of Wellington
Cowbridge Music Festival trustee Eluned Pierce, Principal Harpist of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, together with her duo partner Hugh Webb, Principal Harpist of the John Wilson Orchestra, perform an eclectic programme of classical and jazz works arranged for two harps.
Duke at the Duke – Saturday 15 September, 7.30pm – Duke of Wellington
Welsh trombonist Gareth Roberts, one of Wales’ leading jazz musicians, visits Cowbridge to perform his acclaimed Duke Ellington set. Professor of jazz trombone at the RWCMD, Musical Director of the Monmouth Big Band and leader of various other bands, Gareth is well known on the Welsh jazz scene for his humorous and proudly Welsh take on the jazz tradition.
Performing his own take on Ellington classics such as ‘Take the A train’, ‘In a Sentimental Mood’, ‘Don’t Mean a Thing’ and ‘Caravan”, this concert will be an enjoyable evening for jazz aficionados and novices alike.
“This was a superb evening of music from four local heroes who genuinely deserve to be more widely known. If Roberts, Jones and Long were based in London they’d surely be nationally recognised jazz figures. The quality of the soloing from these three lifted tonight’s event above the level of just another tribute gig and although Ellington’s music is in many respects “timeless” these musicians brought a real freshness and vitality to it.” Ian Mann www.thejazzman.com
The Cloths of Heaven – Sunday 16 September, 7.30pm – Holy Cross Church
Elin Manahan Thomas, one of the most outstanding sopranos of her generation, celebrates the anniversaries of both Morfydd Owen and Dilys Elwyn Edwards with a special centenary programme, accompanied by Welsh pianist Jocelyn Freeman.
Morfydd Owen (1891-1918) was a prolific composer, writing 180 pieces of music before her untimely death, aged just 26. Her works for voice and piano are considered her most
important, and added significantly to the repertoire of Welsh song.
Born the year Owen died, Dilys Elwyn Edwards (1918-2012) was another hugely influential composer of Welsh song. Inspired by both English and Welsh poetry, she achieved perfection in the marriage of words and music.
The Albion Quartet – Tuesday 18 September, 7.30pm – Holy Cross Church
A shared belief in the visceral, communicative power of the string quartet brought together four outstanding performers of their generation to form the Albion Quartet in 2016. They are currently Quartet-in-Residence at Gresham’s School, and opened Gresham’s new Britten Concert Hall in 2017. In 2017/2018 they embark on a number of new residencies: they are Quartet-in-Residence at London’s Kings Place, the Sainte-Mère Festival in France, Honeymead Festival, the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, and at Aldeburgh Music. Forthcoming engagements also include recitals at Wigmore Hall, London, and The Concertgebouw, Amsterdam.
Young Artist’s Recital – Thursday 20 September, 7.30pm – Holy Cross Church
Ben Tarlton – cello
Stephen Gutman – piano
Born in 1995 in Wales, Ben studied with Sharon McKinley and Alexander Baillie before attending the Yehudi Menuhin School in 2011 to study with Thomas Carroll. In 2014, he received a scholarship to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama to study with Louise Hopkins.
Ben has performed in venues such as Wigmore Hall, the Tonhalle in Zurich, the Muziekegebouw in Amsterdam, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and in a recital at the Menuhin Festival in Gstaad. Ben regularly attends master classes and festivals. In May of 2016 he was selected as a Fellow to participate in the Piatigorsky cello festival in Los Angeles.
Miloš Karadaglić – Friday 21 September, 7.30pm – Holy Cross Church
Cowbridge Music Festival welcomes award-winning Deutche Gramophone guitarist Miloš Karadaglić to the festival with his new programme entitled ‘The Song of the Guitar’. Accompanied by string quartet, the programme explores Italian baroque, Spanish Fandangos as well as Miloš’s acclaimed arrangements of Beatles songs.
Miloš came to international attention in 2011 with his debut album The Guitar (Mediterráneo), which topped classical charts around the world and earned Miloš Gramophone’s prestigious Young Artist of the Year Award. His second album Latino (Pasión), released in 2012 received a Classical Brit and an Echo Klassik award. Since then Miloš has worked with many of the world’s leading orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the London Philharmonic and became the first ever guitarist to have performed in solo recital at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
‘Karadaglić is a guitarist of superior musical and technical gifts who allows his personality to sing through the music with taste and intelligence.’ Gramophone
‘The playing is lithe, subtle of timbre and transcendentally beautiful.’ Daily Telegraph
Family Concert – Saturday 22 September, 11.00am – Cowbridge Comprehensive School Theatre
Cowbridge Music Festival is teaming up with Children’s Musical Adventures again for another interactive musical extravaganza for families with children aged 12 and under. This year the theme is super heroes and children are encouraged to come dressed as their favourite super hero, ready to try some of the vast array of musical instruments on offer.
Jacqui Dankworth and Friends – Saturday 22 September, 7.30pm – Cowbridge Comprehensive School
The festival concludes with a concert given by one of the UK’s most highly regarded jazz vocalists, Jacqui Dankworth, alongside Charlie Wood and other leading British jazz musicians.
Dankworth’s concert appearances and her stylistically diverse recordings showcase her virtuosic and effortless mastery of a wide spectrum of genres. Known primarily as a jazz singer, Jacqui also draws on folk, soul and blues influences. Her voice has been described as “multi-faceted” and “incomparable” by The Times.
She has collaborated with many musicians including The Brodsky Quartet and Courtney Pine, Marvin Hamlisch, Paloma Faith, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Gretchen Parlato, Clare Teale, Georgie Fame, David Gordon, Charlie Wood, Gregory Porter, The BBC Big Band, RTE, LSO and RPO Orchestras and the legendary Chick Corea.