Looking back at the Wales International Harp Festival 2018 (1-7 April 2018)

10 Apr 2018

The Fourth Wales International Harp Festival took place on April 1- 7, 2018 at Galeri, Caernarfon and celebrated the 90th birthday of the legendary harpist, Dr. Osian Ellis CBE, and the enormous contribution that he made to music-making over a period of 70 years.

Concerts, competitions, master-classes, lectures, fun classes for absolute beginners, harp exhibitions and much more was held as part of the festival.

Harpists from all over the world came to Caernarfon to join in the celebrations, and make friends through music.


Anne Denholm, Arfon Gwilym, Ben Creighton-Griffiths, Blánaid Murphy, Cai Fôn Davies, Calan, Côr Palestrina, Dylan Cernyw, Dynamic Harps, Elinor Bennett, Ensemble Cymru, Ensemble Telyn DIT, Geraint Lewis, Glain Dafydd, Glian Llwyd, Gwenan Gibbard, Gwyn Owen, Huw Llywelyn, Isabelle Moretti, Mared Emlyn, Mererid Hopwood, Nic Gareiss & Maeve Gilchrist, Rhys Meirion, Siân James, Sian Wyn Gibson, Sioned Gwen Davies, Sioned Webb, Sioned Williams, Two Blonds and a Harp, Valeria Voshchennikova

Competition Results

Here are the results of the Wales International Harp Festival 2018 competitions:

Chief Musician Competition:
1st: Evgeniia Marchenko (Russian Federation)
2nd: Veronika Lemishenko (Ukraine)
3rd: Manon Browning (Wales)

Youth Competition:
Winners of the three scholarships of £1500:
Mared Emyr Pugh-Evans (Wales), Anwen Mai Thomas (Wales) & Evelien Vaneysendeyk (Belgium)

Junior Competition:
Winners of the three scholarships of £500:
Silvia Capé (Italy), Dasha Rumiantseva (Russia), & Audrey Zhang (USA).

World Music Competition:
1st: Joshua Doughty (England)
2nd: Nora-Elisa Kahl & Patrick Huss (Germany)
3rd: Calum Macleod (Scotland)

Harp Duo Competition:
1st: Liliana Safikhanova & Anna Aleshina (Russia)
2nd: Aaron Ma & Shimeng Sun (China)

The Fifth Wales International Harp Festival, which will be held in Galeri Caernarfon from 5th – 11th April 2023, will be a golden opportunity for people to come together to be inspired by the music of the harp from many cultures. I look forward enormously to hearing performances in concerts, recitals and competitions and sharing the traditions of the harp around the world along with harpists from Wales, other Celtic countries, Colombia and Gambia.

Music can transcend geographical borders and military conflicts and can strengthen friendships with people in other lands. There will be a warm welcome awaiting all visitors to Caernarfon next Easter when the thrilling sounds of dozens of harps will resonate through the spaces of Galeri Arts Centre, after the silence and nervousness of the Covid pandemic.

As this will be my last Festival as Artistic Director, I have chosen music that has given me great pleasure in the past and reflects the path of my career from the folk music of my early days to the classics of the harp repertoire and new works.

Elinor Bennett.
Artistic Director, November 2022

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Chief Musician

Open to harpists born on or after September 1st, 1987


Open to harpists born on or after September 1st, 2003


Open to harpists born on or after September 1st, 2009

World Music

Any Age


Opening Concert

5 April 2023, 7:30pm

Elinor Bennett & Meinir Heulyn (Harps), Côr Telyn Gogledd Cymru (conductor Tudur Eames), Côr Godre’r Aran (conductor Eirian Owen).
Premier of “Llechi” by Math Roberts & Ifor ap Glyn performed by  Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias alumni.

Elinor Bennett  (Harp)
Menna Elfyn (Poet)
Glesni Rhys Jones (Soprano) 
Elain Rhys Jones (Harp)

6 April 2023, 2:00pm

Programme will include ” Hymn for a Welshman – in Memoriam R S Thomas” by Menna Elfyn and Pwyll ap Sion
Welsh folk songs arranged by Grace Williams for voice and harp.

JAZZ – Deborah Henson-Conant (USA)

6 April 2023, 7:30pm

Recital – Isabelle Moretti (France)

7 April 2023, 7:30pm

Harp Classics from France

Concert- Catrin Finch (Cymru) & Edmar Castaneda (Colombia)

8 April 2023, 7:30pm

Recital – Sioned Williams

9 April 2023, 5:00pm

World Music Concert

Pedair (Cymru)
Veronika Lemishenko (Ukraine)
The Griot Brothers

10 April 2023, 7:30pm

Chief Musician Concert

11 April 2023, 7:30pm

The final round of the Chief Musician Competition, where three young harpists shall perform solo works and Saint-Saëns duet for violin and harp.

All Events

See all the festival events.

Sponsors of the Wales Harp Festival 2023