One of Europe’s most exceptionally gifted violinists is set to perform at this year’s North Wales International Music Festival.

It will be the first time London-based Tamsin Waley-Cohen will have played before a North Wales audience and it’s an experience she is really looking forward to.

The festival, which is being held at St Asaph Cathedral, with the support of the Arts Council of Wales and Tŷ Cerdd, starts on September 17 and continues until Saturday, October 1.

The gifted violinist will join NEW Sinfonia, under the baton of Robert Guy, as violin soloist, for a Saturday, October 1st evening concert that will include the world premiere of North Wales composer, Paul Mealor’s, 2nd symphony, Sacred Places.

Established in 2011 by brothers Robert and Jonathan Guy, the NEW Sinfonia is an orchestra based in North Wales that’s creating performance opportunities for outstanding professional young musicians.

The orchestra’s musicians come from across North Wales and beyond and as well as having studied in some of the world’s leading music conservatoires, they have already performed in some of the best known international orchestras and festivals.

Now 30, Tamsin has been playing violin almost all her life having constantly asked her parents for violin lessons having seen an orchestra play on TV.

Tamsin plays a Stradivarius, which is on loan to her, and says she had to learn to get the best out it.

She said: “All instruments have strong characters of their own, a soul almost. The Stradivarius I’m playing is very sensitive and I really had to work hard to learn how to play it.

“It takes a long time to know how to get the best out of any instrument and those made by the great makers are generally more difficult as they are more sensitive and have greater colour to them.”

In demand Tamsin spends much of her time travelling and later this year will head off for concert performances in Mexico and New Zealand as well as a European tour but she still practices for six to seven hours a day every day she can.

She said: “It’s part of the job if you like. If I‘m really exhausted I might not feel like getting started but once I begin to play that’s it, I’m obsessed and lose myself in the music.

“I treat practice not as a mechanical process but more of an analytical process. I enjoy interpreting what the composer is trying to say through his or her music.

“I particularly enjoy playing Bach and Beethoven, the scope of the emotions that they put into their music it’s just so enjoyable. I often play Bach to myself, not as practice but just because I enjoy it so much.”

However, Tamsin also has a reputation for pushing the boundaries and playing new music that pushes the violin to its limits.

She said: “I enjoy the work of other composers, particularly my sister Freya who is currently studying for her PhD at the Royal Academy. She knows my range and how I play the violin better than anyone – she’s had to listen to it all her life!

“But I want to push the boundaries and bring new exciting music to audiences. I love the process of sharing music and communicating through music.”

And Tamsin, who studied with Itzhak Rashkovsky at the Royal College of Music, says she is excited at the prospect of playing with NEW Sinfonia at the North Wales International Music Festival.

She said: “I’m really looking forward to meeting them. From what I understand there are some great people and musicians in the orchestra.

“And I’m looking forward to hearing Paul Mealor’s 2nd Symphony too. It’s going to be a lovely evening and I hope to move the audience with some special music.

“We will also be performing Mendelssohn and Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending which is another favourite piece. My first visit to perform in North Wales certainly promises to be a memorable one!”

Ann Atkinson, the North Wales International Music Festival’s artistic director, says she is delighted Tamsin Waley-Cohen is to appear as violin soloist at the Saturday, October 1st evening concert.

She said: “It promises to be a very special concert. The festival aims to attract world-class musicians and performers and they don’t come any more accomplished than Tamsin Waley-Cohen.

“She is a remarkable instrumentalist and for her to be performing alongside NEW Sinfonia and to have the world premiere of Paul Mealor’s 2nd Symphony, Sacred Places, means we are in for a very special and unmissable evening of classical music.”

She added: “We are so fortunate to be premiering Paul Mealor’s new work and as well as that we will be enjoying Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor Op 64 and Vaughan Williams’ Wasps Overture and The Lark Ascending.

“It really is going to be a wonderful and exhilarating evening of music, sponsored by our great supporters Pendine Park, and certainly not one to be missed.

She added: “This year’s North Wales International Music Festival will also see musicians such as pianists Janina Fialkowska and Iwan Llewelyn Jones, classical guitarist Miloš Karadaglić, West End soprano Margaret Preece, vocal groups Ex Cathedra, the Vale of Clwyd Singers and the Festival Choir.

“And with several master classes and a cross-curricular Roald Dahl-themed Education Day featuring Ensemble Cymru, supported by Literature Wales, as well as our community tour, supported by Cartrefi Conwy, R M Jones Joinery and Arts & Business Cymru, including the school and tots concerts with Live Music Now Cymru musicians, there really is something for everyone at this year’s festival.”

For more information about the North Wales International Music Festival please visit Tickets are available from Theatr Clwyd, 01352 701521 or Cathedral Frames, St Asaph, 01745 582929.

Tamsin Waley-Cohen – A Portrait – YouTube

The Lark Ascending with Tamsin Waley-Cohen – YouTube