Alumnus awarded prestigious Musician’s Medal

5 August 2016

Gareth Olubunmi Hughes
© Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru/National Eisteddfod of Wales

Alumnus Gareth Olubunmi Hughes has been awarded the prestigious Musician’s Medal at the National Eisteddfod this week.

Gareth, who completed his PhD in Composition under the supervision of Dr Arlene Sierra and graduated earlier this year, was honoured at a special ceremony on the Pavilion stage.

This year composers were asked to compose four songs with piano accompaniment, using Welsh words by a modern poet. Gareth chose Deryn y Felys Gainc, ‘Eos un noson’: Four poems by Llyr Gwyn Lewis from the Storm ar Wyneb yr Haul collection as the words for his songs.

Osian Llyr Rowlands, adjudicator for this year’s competition along with Jeffrey Howard, said on stage: “This work is of a professional standard, already ready for publication. Cleverly, the four poems have been linked to create a chain of songs and this is a mature composer who knows exactly what the performer needs to present to the audience.

“Each movement has a strong structure, and the accompanist and singer are required to work together closely to present a successful performance of this work. It is obvious that the composer is not only a master on the piano but also understands how to compose for voices and has thought carefully about the whole work with effective use of strong themes and a firm structure. These are four songs which create a composition which displays the musicality of the composer himself.”

This is the second time that Gareth has won the Musician’s Medal following his success at the 2012 National Eisteddfod with a sonata for flute and harp inspired by work by the poet Sir John Morris-Jones. During his time as a doctoral student at Cardiff his work has been performed by a variety of professional musicians and ensembles, including the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Rarescale, Exaudi, the Carducci String Quartet, Lontano, harpist Catrin Finch and flautist Fiona Slominska.