World premiere of new work by Olympic composer at festival


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The world premiere of a new work by a composer involved in the London 2012 Olympics will take place at a top music festival.

The piece by Gareth Glyn, who provided one of the musical arrangements for the extravaganza staged by film maker Danny Boyle three years ago, will be unveiled at the North Wales International Music Festival at St Asaph Cathedral.

It will be performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and former royal harpist Hannah Stone on the opening night of festival week, Saturday, September 26.

The popular festival runs until October 3 and is supported by the Arts Council of Wales. This year there will be a special launch concert on September 20.

This year’s stellar line up also includes the renowned Japanese pianist Noriko Ogawa, Australian guitarist Craig Ogden and vocal ensemble Stile Antico.

Hannah Stone will also be starring in a concert on Monday, September 28, which is being sponsored by Spillane & Co. but also being supported by the arts-loving care organisation, Pendine Park.

Gareth Glyn looked much farther than his Welsh roots for inspiration for the new work that’s been written for the harp.

It tells the story of Amaterasu, the goddess of light according to the Japanese Shinto religion.

Gareth explained: “Many people, who know my work, would expect Amaterasu to be some form of old Welsh, but the fact it’s Japanese and I have used Shintoism as inspiration is highly unusual for me.

“But this year is the Year of Light in the scientific community and the artistic director, Ann Atkinson, wants the festival to have light as its basic theme and wanted my new piece to convey that.

The story of Amaterasu is extremely long and complex. Basically Amaterasu has an argument with her unpredictable brother. They disagree and the brother gets ever angrier and wreaks havoc across the world.

“The brother then throws a flayed pony through the roof of the workshop in which Amaterasu is working and she is so frightened she goes into a cave and rolls a huge rock in front of the entrance which plunges the world into darkness.

“The other gods hold a meeting and decided to hold a party outside the cave. Amaterasu becomes curious and rolls back the stone and once again light and colour fills the earth.”

Gareth was delighted that harpist Hannah Stone will play his new work and can’t wait for the premiere.

He said: “Having Hannah and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales play your music means you know it’s going to sound right and sound just as you intended it to. I hope the audience likes it.

“The festival really is the jewel in the crown of North Wales. The audience is always so knowledgeable and understanding.

“Of course most people know me from my love of Wales and my home on Anglesey. Thanks to the internet and emails I rarely have to leave for long and will continue using the landscape and Welsh folk tales as my inspiration.

“However, I do hope people enjoy my take on a very old Japanese story and character and hope I have done Amaterasu’s story justice.”

According to Ann Atkinson, she was thrilled Gareth Glyn had agreed to the commission for the new work.

She said: “I really wanted to use the theme of light as a backdrop to this year’s festival. I’m really looking forward to hearing Amaterasu for the first time on what will be a wonderful and unmissable night of music.

“I’m thrilled to be able to welcome the BBC national Orchestra of Wales and Hannah Stone to the festival for what will undoubtedly be a highlight of this year’s festival.”

For more on the North Wales International Music Festival and to book tickets online please visit www.nwimf.com or alternatively call the festival’s box office at Clwyd Theatr Cymru on 01352 701521.

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