The Wales International Piano Festival will be held from 29 April – 2 May 2016 at Galeri, the iconic arts centre in Caernarfon. This year’s festival has a new Director, pianist Iwan Llewelyn-Jones and is the third festival to be presented by Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias (CGWM/The William Mathias Music Centre). The festival comprises concerts, competitions, masterclasses, workshops, lectures and interviews with guest artists.
Peter Donohoe, acclaimed international pianist, opens the festival on Friday 29 April at 7.45pm in a recital of works by Ravel, Debussy, Scriabin and Rachmaninov. A former winner and recent jury member of the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition, Peter Donohoe will chair the Jury for the Senior Solo Piano Competition.
The first of three piano competitions begins on the morning of Saturday 30 April with the preliminary stage of the Junior Solo Piano Competition; the final round takes place on the afternoon of Sunday 1 May. The Senior Solo and Piano Accompanist Competitions begin on the morning of Sunday 1 May (preliminary rounds) with the public finals on the afternoon of Monday 2 May. Participants come from all over the UK and abroad.
At lunchtime on Saturday 30 April, there will be a concert entitled ‘Satie on the Sidewalk’, celebrating the music of Erik Satie.
The evening concert on the 30 April at 7.45pm showcases the versatility of Welsh music and musicians, featuring six world premieres of specially commissioned short works for solo piano, inspired by images and words on the theme of ‘Peace and Remembrance’. Three works are by young, upcoming composers and three by renowned composers of international standing: Paul Mealor, well known for his anthem for the marriage of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge; Richard Baker, noted for his orchestral and chamber music, and Owain Llwyd who is at the cutting edge of film and media composition. The young composers are Luke Lewis, Mared Emlyn and Maja Palser.
The Festival Education Project reaches its climax in this Saturday evening concert with the premiere performance of a new work for chamber ensemble by four young A-level students. This three-movement composition with accompanying fanfares will be performed by instrumentalists from CGWM.
On Sunday 1 May at 7.45 we go into ‘Fiesta’ mode when the piano take centre stage to raise the roof with other instrumentalists, singers and narrators in a concert of music from across the globe including Lambert’s Rio Grande, Poulenc’s delightful setting of Babar the Elephant and Milhaud’s Scaramouche. The programme features five pianists, including Festival Director Iwan Llewelyn-Jones, and the CGWM Chamber Choir.
On the final morning, Monday 2 May, two fun events will be held in Galeri’s atrium: ‘Coffee and Croissants with Chopin and Debussy’ at 10.00am and at midday, the ‘Pianothon’, where pianists of all ages and abilities have an opportunity to tinkle the ivories.
Photo of Peter Donohoe above by Sussie Ahlburg.