New Choral Festival Launched by Former Llangollen  Music Director

With support from musical innovators Sir Karl Jenkins, Paul Mealor and Christopher Tin and in partnership with the University of Wales and University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Eilir Owen Griffiths, former Music Director of Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, launches the inaugural International Choral Festival Wales (ICFW) during Easter 2018.

With an exciting mix of competitions, concerts, informal performances and social gatherings, ICFW promises to be something truly memorable for all.

The competitive strand of the festival will include approximately 16 international choirs competing across four categories: Mixed Choirs; Single Voice Choirs (SSAA/ TTBB); Open Category; Young Voices (under 25’s). The overall winners will be titled Choir of Choirs and receive The Sir Karl Jenkins Trophy.

Sir Karl Jenkins, CBE said “I feel both humbled and honoured to have been approached to give my name to the International Choral Festival Wales Trophy. Over ninety nine percent of my compositional output has involved singers and singing and the sound of the human voice has been an inspiration to me over many years, whether by the conventional use of the voice as a vehicle for expressing a narrative or by using it purely as an instrument, as in my Adiemus project. Curiously enough, I rarely if ever sang, spending my time playing the oboe in the orchestra. Last week on the radio, I heard I was the answer in a quiz! This even trumps that.”

Commenting on the festival, Artistic Director, Eilir Owen Griffiths said “We are proud that Sir Karl Jenkins has supported this new venture and are delighted to have five honorary presidents including: Brit Award and Double-Classic Brit Award-winning composer, Paul Mealor; Grammy Award Winner, Christopher Tin; Internationally acclaimed conductors André Van Der Merwe and Ralph Allwood; and exceptional Welsh soprano, Elin Manahan Thomas. “

He went on “It has always been an ambition of mine to establish an international choral festival in Wales. I have gained a great deal of experience over the last six years as Music Director of Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod. I now see an opportunity to create a new festival on my door step. I’m very fortunate and thankful that my friends and colleagues have shared my vision”.

At the age of 30, Eilir Owen Griffiths was appointed Music Director of the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod. During his six year tenure, Eilir introduced a number of new competitions as well as developing the Outreach and Inclusion Projects, which recently won the Scottish Power Community Award. He drew national audiences by securing performances from global artists such as Status Quo, Manic Street Preachers, UB40, Burt Bacharach, Jools Holland and adding to this list of achievements, sustaining high quality artists that the Eisteddfod is famous for, including Sir Bryn Terfel, Joseph Calleja, Noah Stewart, Nicola Bennedetti, Alison Balsom and many more.

Owen Griffiths added “Wales is known as the Land of Song and it is my vision to bring together the best of the international choral community to Wales and establish Cardiff as a centre of choral excellence. International Choral Festival Wales is dedicated to promoting artistic excellence, global understanding, friendship and goodwill through choral music.”

Professor Medwin Hughes, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and University of Wales said – “We are very proud to be a supporting partner in the International Choral Festival Wales in their inaugural year, which reaffirms our role in promoting the arts in Wales and the World, and we look forward to showcasing the very best of the global choral community here in Wales.”

Chaired by the Festival’s Artistic Director there will be panel of world class adjudicators. The panel includes Lithuanian choral conductor, composer and music pedagogue, Vaclovas Augustinas, Norweigan pianist, singer and conductor, Maria Gamborg Helbekkmo, Brit Award and Double-Classic Brit Award-winning Welsh composer, Paul Mealor and Irish conductor and international adjudicator, Bernie Sherlock.

Paul Mealor said ‘”it’s a truly brilliant and welcome addition to the Welsh choral scene and I am delighted to be adjudicator in the festival’s inaugural year”. He added “I have no doubt that this festival will become one of the major events of the year!!”

Working alongside the festival are the travel specialists group, Rayburn Tours.  They will work with the choirs to create an itinerary that is tailored to their specific requirements, ensuring that they have a musical experience to remember.


The festival will take place at the Wales Millennium Centre’s Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff Bay over the Easter weekend [March 30 – April 01, 2018]. The full programme of activities will be announced soon and applications are now open. Choirs will be selected on the standard of their submitted application. Completed application forms and all supporting materials must be received by Saturday 21 October, 2017.

For more information about the International Choral Festival Wales and How To Apply, click here


New Choral Festival Launched by Former Llangollen Music Director

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