Ceredigion harpist Catrin Finch is working hard in her new role – musical director of MusicFest.
This year’s festival takes place from 29 July to 5 August, with evening concerts, lunchtime recitals and workshops taking place all over Aberystwyth Arts Centre.
Catrin is delighted to have taken on the role of musical director of the festival, and told First Person about some of the events she is most looking forward to this year.
“Dafydd Iwan will be closing the festival with a special one-off concert with the Welsh Pops Orchestra, and his songs will be arranged and orchestrated by our MD John Quirk,” said Catrin.
“We also have Lucy Crowe and Nicky Spence singing on the Thursday evening, both of whom were on the King’s recent honours list and have been given OBEs!
“The lunchtime recital series is all welsh, opening with the amazing Llyr Williams on the Monday at Aberystwyth Arts Centre, which will be a real treat.”
This is Catrin’s first year of involvement with the festival.
“When Joan Rowlands, MusicFest manager and member of the board] asked me last year if I would get on board, I thought if there was any festival I would like to be involved with it would be MusicFest, as Aberystwyth is, technically of course, where it all started for me!
“Our aim this year was to bring a bit of Wales back to the festival - hence all the welsh artists! It really does showcase the best of Welsh talent in all genres, and both up and coming and settled talent.”
Like most things, the Covid-19 pandemic put a stop to MusicFest. Until then, it had been an annual musical extravaganza in Aberystwyth.
The festival organisers managed to put some events online during the pandemic, but it returned with some in-person events last year.
As ever, there was a range of concerts for members of the public to enjoy as well as courses for students. This year’s festival contains an equally packed programme of events. But, the festival needs the support of the public as Catrin, originally from Llanon, explained.
“It’s been a challenging time for the creative industries – especially the music industry – and Joan and everyone at MusicFest work so hard to try and keep this festival alive, in what are increasingly difficult circumstances and times.”
Catrin is the former Royal Harpist to HRH the Prince of Wales.
Holding the appointment from 2000 to 2004, she had the honour of reviving this ancient tradition last held in 1873
She has performed extensively throughout the US, the Middle East, Asia and Europe, with many of the world’s top orchestras including the Boston Pops, New York Philharmonic, the Philharmonia, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
To find out more about this year’s MusicFest, visit musicfestaberystwyth.org. To listen to the harpist in action, watch the video above.