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Composer clinches prestigious Eisteddfod award

GarethPhD student Gareth Hughes has received the prestigious Musician’s Medal at this year’s Vale of Glamorgan National Eisteddfod.

The Medal, given by Urdd Cerddoriaeth Cymru, is awarded for a sonata for harp and flute, to include at least three contrasting movements, lasting up to ten minutes. Gareth’s work (submitted under the ‘pen name Deryn Amheuthun) consisted of three movements based on John Morris Jones’ lyrical poem, ‘Cwyn y Gwynt’. The competition adjudicators found that the work was current, sophisticated and showed the composer’s understanding of the latest thinking on metre (cynghanedd).

Speaking to The Western Mail, Gareth said: “I’ve had an interest in the Eisteddfod for many years and that’s linked with the fact I have an interest in writing music for the Welsh speaking community. I love using Welsh lyrics, Welsh text, the strict Welsh metres and the language in general.

“Writing for the harp is difficult because it is very technical but it’s a wonderful instrument. I have an affinity with the harp, composing for it translates well to elements of jazz composition which I am very interested in, so this year’s competition was perfect for me.”

This isn’t Gareth’s first Eisteddfod success. In 2004 he was awarded the prize for composing an orchestral movement, and he came third in the piano solo in 2004 and second in 2010.

It also marks a successful year for School of Music composers. In June, undergraduate student Aled Wyn Clark was awarded the Composer’s Medal at the Urdd Eisteddfod in Gwynedd for his composition for harp and clarinet. Second place in the competition went to another talented Cardiff composer, Rhydian Gwyn Lewis who is studying for a Joint Honours degree in Music and Welsh.

Photograph of Gareth courtesy of