Some of the world’s finest musicians will appear at this year’s Gŵyl Machynlleth Festival from August 21-28.
Star performers include soprano Natalya Romaniw, renowned Welsh tenor Dennis O’Neill, who leads an opera masterclass and acclaimed pianist Elisabeth Leonskaja.
The festival will serve up a mix of genres and styles, including chamber music, solo artists, quartets and ensembles playing classical, traditional and international music.
All concerts take place in the historic Tabernacle Auditorium and there’s a special ‘free festival’ fringe programme with a children’s concert, outdoor market day concert and workshops.
Three days of Welsh music precede the classical programme with popular Cantorion Gogledd Cymru Male Voice Choir.
The Tabernacle is a centre of arts and culture which houses an extraordinary art and sculpture collection at MOMA Machynlleth. Through a courtyard archway, a sweeping exterior staircase of this former Wesleyan chapel leads audiences to a concert hall with truly exceptional acoustics.
The Tabernacle Auditorium.
Festival artistic director Julius Drake said: “I am very much looking forward to this year’s Machynlleth Festival, surrounded by the beautiful green mountains and valleys of Mid Wales.
“We will be welcoming some of the finest musicians from around the world, stars in the musical firmament, and I know we will have a glorious week of great music making.”
The festival concerts bring a mix of chamber music, singers, choirs, instrumentalists, lectures and dance, with many artists performing in Machynlleth for the first time.
Machynlleth street market will host a free, open-air concert for the community featuring a selection of local musicians performing folk, jazz and choral music outside the library on Wednesday, August 24 from 11am to 2pm.
Machynlleth will also play host to Niall Cusack, resident ‘Roaming Bard’ who will be popping-up around the festival week to deliver short stories and poems by Welsh writers in various venues up and down the High Street.
On Wednesday, August 24 at 7.30pm, brilliant South African cellist Abel Selaocoe will be joined by his trio Chesaba for an electric performance of music from across the African continent. in the Tabernacle Auditorium.
The Wihan Quartet returns to perform two classics of the Bohemian repertoire Dvořák’s Quartet No.2 ‘Intimate Letters’ and Janáček’s Quartet No. 12 the ‘American’ for a Lunchtime concert on Thursday, August 25 at 1pm.
Swansea born Soprano Natalya Romaniw, one of Europe’s most promising young stars, makes her Machynlleth debut in recital with Julius Drake at 7.30pm on Thursday, with a programme of Berg and Strauss, including Strauss’ sublime four last songs.
O’Neill gives a masterclass with young singers from the UK conservatoires in The Tannery from 10.30am to 4.30 pm on Friday, August 23, culminating in a concert at 5pm in The Tabernacle. He then appears in conversation for a free talk with the writer and broadcaster Christopher Cook at 6.30pm.
This year’s Glyndwr Award goes to Robat Arwyn, one of the most prolific and popular composers in Wales today, for his contribution to the arts in Wales. Conductor to the famed Côr Ruthun, Arwyn’s contribution to the choral legacy of Welsh music is significant.
The award will be presented on Friday, August 26 at 1pm and feature a performance of Robat’s music by Rhys Meirion.
Viktoria Mullova, a celebrated violinist, is joined by the outstanding Scottish pianist Alasdair Beatson for a rich programme of Beethoven and Schubert masterpieces and 20th Century Classics by Pärt and Takemitsu on Friday, August 26 at 7.30pm.
The award-winning Elysium Brass ensemble performs an atmospheric programme of Gabrielli to Gershwin, Ravel to A Nightingale Sang In Berkley Square for the second of three late-night concerts by candlelight at 10pm on Friday.
Mark Padmore is joined by Benjamin Marquise Gilmore and Niall Cusak for a lunchtime performance of works for voice, violin and narrator at 1pm on Saturday, August 27 with a charming programme of Holst, Alan Ridout and Vaughan Williams.
Recipient of the 2020 International Classical Music Lifetime Achievement Award, Elisabeth Leonskaja makes her Machynlleth debut to perform the final three of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas at 7.30pm on Saturday, August 27.
The final late-night concert, on Saturday at 10pm, promises rhythm and passion as the Tabernacle is transported to Spain by Lourdes Fernandez Flamenco Company who will also be providing a free Flamenco Workshop at the Owain Glyndŵr Centre at 2pm the same day.
Prodigious young Dutch pianist Nikola Meeuwsen gives the final lunchtime recital at 1pm on Sunday, August 28 with a programme of Schubert.
The festival closes at 7.30pm with a festive ‘Finale!’ in which Drake is joined by a roster of internationally acclaimed musicians including Mark Padmore, Leon Bosch and the Navarra Quartet.
The first three days of the festival are traditionally devoted to Welsh music and musicians, curated by artistic director Dennis Jones. The traditional Cymanfa Ganu (Congregational Singing) with by Cor Bro Meirion, which is free, opens the festival on Sunday, August 21 at 7.30pm.
Monday lunchtime brings a recital by four-time winner of the Urdd piano solo competition Charlotte Kwok, joined by her sisters, Melody and Yola Kwok.
Three popular Welsh soloists, tenor Robyn Lyn, soprano Gwawr Edwards and bass Trystan Lewis come together to perform an engaging and entertaining programme on Monday evening, followed by an intimate candle-lit performance of traditional Welsh folk music by harpist Siân James at 10pm.
Flying Seagull Project delivers a free family friendly event of laughter, magic and music on Tuesday, August 23 at 1pm, followed by a dynamic evening performance by Cantorion Gogledd Cymru with baritone Steffan Lloyd Owen and soprano Aneira Evans.
The full festival programme is available on www.machynllethfestival.co.uk .
As well as the musical programme, MOMA Machynlleth Gallery’s fine art and sculpture are open to the public during the festival and year-round.
Summer 2022 exhibitions include the annual Tabernacle Art Competition and renowned wildlife painter Terence Lambert’s collection of drawings and mixed media paintings ‘Nature is in the Detail’.
Other exhibitions include Robert Bryce Muir’s powerful sculpture instillation ‘Conversation with the Silent’, Pembrokeshire Artists’ collection of Welsh artists curated by Myles Pepper and selected works from The Tabernacle Collection.
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