Final preparations are being made for a top music festival where there will be no fewer than five world premieres – along with a session of building Lego to music.
Among the new works being unveiled at Bangor Music Festival on Saturday (February 18) will be a composition by one of Europe’s most talented young composers, Cardiff-born Gareth Olubunmi Hughes.
Last year Gareth won the prestigious Musician’s Medal at the National Eisteddfod for a second time.
As a rising star, his work is in great demand and has already been performed by the likes of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, former royal harpist Catrin Finch and the acclaimed flautist Fiona Slominska.
His new work, Amber on Black 3, is part of a cycle of pieces he’s written based on poems by poet Stephen Boon.
The theme for this year’s festival is Architectures/Urban Landscapes that has been inspired by the new landmark venue, the Pontio centre which is establishing itself as a major player in the cultural life of Wales.
For a change, all the concerts and workshops will be held on one day instead of being spread over a week as in previous years.
The idea of inviting festival-goers to play with Lego whilst being accompanied by a small ensemble was dreamt up by the event’s artistic director, Guto Pryderi Puw.
The efforts of Lego builders of all ages will be interpreted by the Bangor New Music Ensemble as they use thousands of the colourful little plastic bricks to make miniature buildings and other constructions.
The music will change depending on the colour and shape of the brick being used at the time.
Among the other highlights will be music inspired by images and videos of bridges, with the films being shown in the Pontio cinema, accompanied by music that has been composed by Bangor University student composers and performed by the Bangor Session Orchestra.
Around teatime, the building will be filled with music by the Bangor New Music Ensemble in an event that will also feature world premieres of pieces by Claire Victoria Roberts and Jonathan Roberts, amongst other student composers.
The final concert will star the internationally-acclaimed Fidelio Trio, performing a selection of compositions inspired by buildings and architecture. It will also feature world premieres of new works by Sarah Lianne Lewis and Roger Marsh, both of which have been commissioned by the festival.
The festival’s artistic director, Guto Pryderi Puw, said: “Holding the festival in a day and at a weekend means there’s more potential for audiences to look at what’s on offer and plan ahead. Also, in terms of artistic content, concerts will be shorter and individually more appealing.
“For example the ElectroacousticWALES concert, that will be held in Studio Pontio and will include the new Olubunmi Hughes commission, will only be around an hour in length.
“It means we can truly inspire the audience, it’s more of a taster if you like with the aim of leaving the listeners wanting more.
“Festival goers can potentially approach the event in two different ways, either attend every concert and sample all the genres, or pick and choose what they might enjoy without having to come back on another day.
According to Guto Pryderi Puw, the evening concert, ‘The Towers of Silence’, will involve compositions based on iconic buildings, which will accompany images of a selection.
He added: “Work by composer Gavin Higgins, entitled ‘Ruins of Detroit’, will examine architectures that have fallen into disrepair in the American city while the main piece, Rolf Hind’s Tower of Silence, looks at a particular type of burial ground in the Far East.
“There will also be a number of projects involving local schools as we really want to continue inspiring school children.
“Throughout January and February, in the lead up to the festival, various composers and artists will be running a series of educational workshops in local primary and secondary schools.
“Compositions by school pupils will be performed in each of the main concerts and earlier in Pontio’s Bar Ffynnon there will be a fantastic Lego event where the general public can take part.
“Visitors will be able to assemble structures from Lego while the Bangor New Music Ensemble will improvise on their instruments to set those structures to music. This will be a fun and challenging event that’s aimed at all ages, not just children. So they can come along to build their own iconic building.
“I’m really excited about the up-coming festival and particularly delighted we will be using the wonderful Pontio Arts Centre as the main venue for the first time.
“It’s this incredible and beautiful building that sparked the idea to have ‘architectures’ and ‘urban landscapes’ as the festival’s theme in the first place!”
For more information about Bangor Music Festival and to book tickets go to the website at www.bangormusicfestival.org.uk