We speak to Ensemble Cymru’s Principal Harpist, and current Royal Harpist, Anne Denholm in the run-up to the May Tour to find out how working with Ensemble Cymru helps promote something very important to her.
Blog by Peryn Clement-Evans, Ensemble Cymru’s Artistic Director.
“After two years of talking about how Ensemble Cymru might be able to work with Chinese musicians and composers, I’m delighted to say we’re now finally taking our first concrete step towards realising it…
Starting on February 18th, Ensemble Cymru will be part of a week-long Welsh Government trade and cultural mission to China. We’re joining an eclectic mix of colleagues from BBC NOW, Hijinx Theatre, National Theatre of Wales and Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru along with interesting mix of exponents of art forms including illustrator, artist among others.
The Ensemble has already had some success in developing international links through its international cultural exchange programme with Switzerland over the last two years. We’re looking to extend this model of exchange visits and performances to China. We hope in time to create opportunities for performers and composers in Wales in China and in doing so generate an interest in Wales’ rich musical heritage and contemporary culture among people in China.
While preparing for this trip, I’ve been struck by how many links there are already between Shanghai, Hong Kong and Wales. Many students of Shanghai Normal University study at Bangor University’s School of Music, where Ensemble Cymru’s office is based. I’ve appreciated the helping hand of the Confucius Institute in Bangor, as well as the help of the folks of Llangollen’s wonderful International Music Eisteddfod who have put us in touch with some of their friends in Hong Kong. Also many of our supporters have friends and family out in Hong Kong and Shanghai and everyone’s enthusiasm has been fantastic.
A final thought – Shanghai, which we’ll be visiting first, has a population roughly equivalent to seven times that of Wales and a third of the UK. Our second and final stop Hong Kong has a population over twice that of Wales…That’s a lot of people to say ‘Ni Hao’ to!”
As part of our International Cultural Exchange Ensemble Cymru has been invited to perform on the final day of the 11th Welsh Alpine Championships in Champéry in the Canton of Valais (Wallis) in Switzerland.
We will be performing at the closing event of the competition in the presence of the British Deputy Head of Mission and Consul General in Switzerland, Richard Ridout, MBE.
Photo caption: (L to R) Sara Lian Owen, Peryn Clement-Evans, Anne Denholm (photo credit Timothy Ellis)
The programme will be a broad range of music from Wales including music of Grace Williams in the 40th year since her death.
Valais has a shared Celtic history with Wales and apparently the names Valais (Wallis) and Wales come from the same word.
Anne Denholm –Harp (our new principal harpist and official harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales)
Sara Lian Owen – Soprano (originally from Bangor in North Wales)
Peryn Clement-Evans – Clarinet
Ahead of the trip to Switzerland, Ensemble Cymru’s Artistic Director and principal clarienttist, Peryn Clement-Evans said:
“We’re excited to be invited to perform at the Welsh Alpine Championships and to be making new friends in the canton of Valais in Switzerland. We were approached some time ago by Ray Pritchard, a Welshman living in Switzerland and we’re hugely grateful to him and the community of Champéry for making our visit possible.”