Philomusica give their spring concert under conductor Iwan Teifion Davies on Saturday, 23 March at Aberystwyth Arts Centre (8pm).

It opens with the overture to Joseph Parry’s opera, Blodwen, arranged by Dr. David Russell Hulme.

Joseph Parry (1841-1903) was the first professor of music at Aberystwyth University in 1874. It was in Aberystwyth that Blodwen was first performed on 21 May 1878 in Aberystwyth’s Temperance Hall on Queen’s Road. It was the first opera written by a Welsh composer and also to be performed in Welsh, and was successful, with a further 500 performances worldwide by 1896.

The concert also celebrates Hilary Tann (1947- 2023). The first woman to receive a degree in composition from the University of Wales at Cardiff, she earned master’s and doctoral degrees at Princeton University. Known for the lyricism and spirituality of her music, a combination of welsh origins, American domicile and an extended period of study of Japanese music has placed a unique stamp on Tann’s music.

Philomusica will perform From the Feather to the Mountain, composed in 2004.

There will be a free talk by Dr Rhian Davies on Hilary Tann at 6.30pm prior to the start of the concert.

Rhian was a personal friend and collaborator of Hilary’s. Tann has left her archive to the National Library of Wales and her ashes were buried in her beloved Ferndale in the Rhonda.

The final piece in the concert will be Czech composer, Antonín Dvořák’s (1841-1904) Ninth Symphony, subtitled, “From the New World”.

Having attained success in Europe Dvořák, in 1892, was invited to become the first director of New York’s Conservatory of Music.

Although he stayed a short time in America his interest in Native American and African American music was an amazing influence on his own music from that time.

The Ninth Symphony was premiered on 16th December 1893 at the Carnegie Hall. It was a resounding success.

This symphony needs no introduction as it is much loved, many will remember Ridley Scott’s ‘Hovis ad’ and Neil Armstrong took it on the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.