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Masthead Image: Photograph of Gwenllian Llyr

Gwenllian Llyr

Photograph of Gwenllian LlyrWelsh harpist Gwenllian Llyr is quickly gaining international recognition for her energetic and charismatic performances. In July 2013, Gwenllian was a prize-winner at the USA International Harp Competition in Bloomington where she was highly praised for her musicianship and engaging performances. She has also won many prizes more locally, including the Blue Ribbon at the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol in Wales in 2012, and the First Prize of the UK Camac Harp Competition in 2010. Gwenllian has recently performed recitals at L’Espace Camac in Paris, the American-Irish Historical Society in New York, the Dora Stoutzker Hall in Cardiff, as well as a concerto performance with CCSO in Cardiff last June. She also performed in a collaborative orchestra comprised of musicians from the Royal Academy of Music and The Juilliard School, culminating in a Proms performance with pianist Imogen Cooper under the baton of John Adams. Gwenllian has also recently been involved in the celebration of actor Richard Burton’s life, performing at the publication of his diaries in New York and at the unveiling of his Star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

A student of Nancy Allen, Gwenllian graduated with a Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School last may where she was awarded the William Schuman prize for outstanding achievement and leadership in music. She previously graduated with First Class honors from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, where she spent four years winning prizes and scholarships at both national and international levels under the guidance of Caryl Thomas. As well as winning the Nansi Richards scholarship in 2008, Gwenllian also reached the final six at the 17th International Harp Contest in Israel in 2009, and was a semi-finalist of the Dutch International Harp Competition in 2010.

Gwenllian performs across the world in solo and chamber recitals, as well as a guest soloist with orchestras. She has been privileged to perform with renowned musicians such as Rebecca Evans, Al Jarreau and Bryn Terfel, and was recently invited to perform solo works for the First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones both in Washington DC and in New York. Gwenllian performed Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro and the Danses by Debussy with the RWCMD String ensemble in St. George’s Bristol. She was also named co-winner of the RWCMD Concerto Trials, and performed Ginastera’s Harp Concerto at both St. David’s Hall in Cardiff and at the RWCMD Royal Gala in Buckingham Palace.

During her studies at The Juilliard School, Gwenllian performed at many major venues in New York, including The Juilliard School, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Park Avenue Armory, the Plaza Hotel, the Yale Club, the United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She is also very interested in contemporary music and has worked with many composers on new works, both as a part of her studies and independently. As well as commissioning a solo harp piece for performance with dance from Sayo Kosugi, Gwenllian recently recorded a solo piece for Roderick Gorby and performed premiers of chamber works by Stefan Cwik and Jude Vaclavik last spring. She has performed extensively with Axiom and the New Juilliard Ensemble, and also worked with Juilliard’s Evening Division composers last semester to create new works for the harp. Her attendance at Juilliard would not have been possible without generous scholarships and grants from The Juilliard School, The James Pantyfedwen Trust, the Arts Council of Wales, the Elizabeth Evans Memorial Trust, INCO Foundation and select individuals.