Music Director Grant Llewellyn and the North Carolina Symphony will present "Grant's Postcards from Home," a program of celebrated 20th- and 21st-century music from Llewellyn's native land, Wales. The concerts will take place in Wilmington's Kenan Auditorium on Thursday, April 19 and in downtown Raleigh's Meymandi Concert Hall on Friday and Saturday, April 20-21. All three concerts begin at 8:00 p.m.
On April 19, UNC-Wilmington's Dr. Barry Salwen will lead a pre-concert talk on the music inside Kenan Auditorium beginning at 6:50 p.m.
In Raleigh, Dr. Randolph Foy of North Carolina State University will present a pre-concert talk in the Swalin Lobby of Meymandi Concert Hall on Friday, April 20 at 7:00 p.m., while Catherine Brand of WUNC-FM hosts the concert's special guest, harpist Catrin Finch, among others, for "Meet the Artists" on Saturday, April 21 at 6:30 p.m.
The notion of an evening of works by Welsh composers was first suggested to Llewellyn by audience members at a post-concert discussion. Though skeptical at first, the conductor soon warmed to the recommendation. "As the idea of this concert developed," he says, "I was very keen to represent a cross-section of Welsh composers with a variety of names (some more pronounceable than others!)"
Also featured on the program is Catrin Finch, a Welsh harpist. H.R.H. Charles, The Prince of Wales appointed Finch Official Royal Harpist in 2002, saying of her, "When I re-established the ancient tradition of appointing a harpist to The Prince of Wales, little did I imagine that I would find someone with such a rare and special talent as Catrin. She is a credit to Wales, and I could not be more proud of her."
"Grant's Postcards from Home" includes work by William Mathias, the first Welsh composer of which Llewellyn was aware and, later, met. "I first played his Celtic Dances when I was eleven years old and a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Wales," he says. The Symphony will perform Mathias's Symphony No. 3, his final major work.
The evening also includes music by two of the exciting young generation of Welsh composers: Ceiri Torjusson's Momentum and Pwyll ap Siôn's Gwales. The latter was written in memoriam of Mathias, with whom Pwyll studied. "It's a take on Mozart's Requiem which was one of Mathias's favorite works," says Llewellyn, "and you will recognize elements of it in Gwales."