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Home > Pwyll ap Sion: Beyond Borders

Pwyll ap Sion: Beyond Borders

Commissioned by:

Galeri Caernarfon Cyf and European Union Chamber Orchestra

Event date:

November 2012

This commission will enable Pwyll to explore thematic and musical, and landscape and language similarities between 2 Celtic regions (and 2 sister languages: Welsh and Cornish).


A message from Galeri Caernarfon Cyf:

“Galeri Caernarfon is delighted to be awarded and honoured to be receiving the highly competitive PRS for Music Foundation Beyond Borders grant. This funding will enable us to commission Welsh composer Pwyll ap Sion to compose a cycle of songs for solo voice and chamber orchestra focusing on musical material and lingustic synergies between Welsh and West Country folk melodies, drawing on such sources as  Dunstan’s ‘Cornish Song Book’ 1929 and Gundry’s ‘Canow Kernow’. These and other Welsh sources will provide a springboard for creative and innovative reinvention using post modernist and post minimalist compositional techniques.  We look forward to working with Pwyll and The European Union Chamber Orchestra along with the distinctive soprano Elin Manahan Thomas on this unique project.”

For more information on Galeri Caernarfon visit:

Pwyll ap Sion says:
“As a composer who has strong family ties to Cornwall it has long been an ambition of mine to explore folk material of the South West of England and Wales. I have already used folk and hymn material in instrumental works: Concerto for Bombard, Triple Harp and Pibgorn (1996) and The White Wheat for Solo Violin (2008). The original material, Welsh and Breton, was juxtaposed with new material. This underwent transformation or served as a starting point for a series of free variations. This time the challenge will be combining language and voice with traditional material in an original and creative manner.”

Born Pembrokeshire 1968, read music at Magdalen College, Oxford, graduating in 1990. Awarded a Vaughan-Williams scholarship. He studied composition with John Pickard, David Gottlieb and Martin Butler at Bangor University and received a doctorate in 1998. Winner Composers’ Medal prize in the Welsh National Eisteddfod, 1991. Composed for Wales’ foremost performers and also musicians outside Wales, eg. Japanese group, Ensemble Tozai. 2008 commissioned to compose a test piece for the junior category of the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition. Eclectic elements feature strongly, ranging from minimalism, rock and pop influences and postserial techniques.

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