Our Ambassadors represent a diverse, eclectic, artistic melting pot from Wales, UK and beyond and we‘re truly grateful for their input, interest and enthusiasm.
BRYN TERFEL BASS BARITONE
The Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel has performed in all the great opera houses of the world, and is especially recognised for his portrayals of Figaro, Falstaff and Wotan. He made his operatic début in 1990 as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte for Welsh National Opera. His international operatic career began in 1991 when he sang the Speaker in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels and in the same year he made his United States début as Figaro at the Santa Fe Opera. Other roles performed during his career include Holländer in Der fliegende Holländer, Méphistophélès in Faust, both the Title Role and Leporello in Don Giovanni, Jochanaan in Salome, Scarpia in Tosca, the title-role in Gianni Schicchi, Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress, Wolfram in Tannhäuser, Balstrode in Peter Grimes, Four Villains in Les contes d’Hoffmann, Dulcamara in L’Elisir d’Amore and the Title Role in Sweeney Todd.
Bryn is also known for his versatility as a concert performer, with highlights ranging from the opening ceremony of the Wales Millennium Centre, BBC Last Night of the Proms, and the Royal Variety Show to a gala concert with Andrea Bocelli in Central Park, New York. He has given recitals in the major cities of the world and for nine years hosted his own festival in Faenol, North Wales.
He is a Grammy, Classical Brit and Gramophone Award winner with a discography encompassing operas of Mozart, Wagner and Strauss, and more than ten solo discs including Lieder, American musical theatre, Welsh songs and sacred repertory.
In 2003, Bryn was made a CBE for services to Opera in the Queen’s New Year Honours list and in 2006 was awarded the Queen’s Medal for Music. He is also the last recipient of the Shakespeare Prize by the Alfred Toepfer Foundation, Hamburg.
Highlights in recent years include Bryn’s debut in the role of Hans Sachs in the critically acclaimed production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg for Welsh National Opera, his return to La Scala, Milan to open the 20011 season singing Leporello in Don Giovanni and Scarpia in Tosca. Highlights in 2012 include the role of Wotan in Wagner’s Ring Cycle for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and the Metropolitan Opera, New York, the title role in Der fliegende Holländer for Zurich Opera, Scarpia for Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich and host to a four day festival, Brynfest, at the Southbank Centre, London as part of the Southbank Centre’s Festival of the World.
Bryn is pleased to have an association with several companies, most notably Rolex, Clogau Gold and the Penderyn Distillery.
Described as “The Queen of Harps”, Catrin has delighted audiences with her performances in the UK and worldwide. Inspired to learn the harp at the age of five, her rise to prominence started almost immediately, achieving the highest mark in the UK for her Grade VIII exam at the age of nine. She studied with Elinor Bennett for eight years before entering the Purcell School. Catrin graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 2002 where she studied with Skaila Kanga and received the Queen’s Award for the most outstanding student of her year.
Her first major competition success came in 1999 winning the Lily Laskine International Harp Competition in France, one of the premier harp competitions in the world. On winning the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in New York, Catrin went on to play in over thirty states in the USA, including recitals and concerto debuts in New York, including the Lincoln Centre and Weill Recital Hall, Boston and Washington D.C. In May 2004 she was nominated for a Classical Brit Award and has also received an “Echo Klassik” in Germany.
Catrin is the former Royal Harpist to H.R.H. the Prince of Wales. Holding the appointment from 2000-2004, she had the honour of reviving this ancient tradition last held in 1873. During her period as Royal Harpist she played regularly at the Royal Palaces and performed to Royalty from around the world.
She has performed extensively throughout the U.S.A., south America, the Middle East, Asia and Europe. She has appeared with many of the world’s top orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Pops, the Philharmonia, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the London Mozart Players, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Charlotte Symphony, the Lake Charles Symphony, the North Carolina Symphony and the Manchester Camerata. Festival appearances include Salzburg, Edinburgh, Spoleto, Smithsonian Folklife, MDR Musiksommer Festival in Leipzig, Le Domaine Forget and Lanaudiere Festivals in Canada and the Gödöllő Harp Festival in Hungary.
In November 2012 Catrin released a CD on the DG label celebrating a new collaboration between Catrin and celebrated composer, John Rutter. The Cd, which also features a composition by Catrin herself, the Celtic Concerto went to number 1 in the UK classical charts.
2012 highlights include concerts in North Carolina, New York, Hong Kong and Australia, concertos with the European Union Chamber Orchestra, the BBC NOW, premieres of two new harp concertos written for her, a tour with Malian kora player, Toumani Diabaté and various recitals.
A singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, author and broadcaster. She hosts a Sunday morning music show on BBC 6 Music and makes documentaries for television as well as BBC Radio 2 and 4.
Cerys has, since childhood, collected, sung and played traditional songs from Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England, and has gone on to share them with audiences worldwide. She is now an avid collector of songs from all over the globe.
Cerys is a columnist for the number one World Music magazine ‘Songlines’, and writes reviews and articles for the likes of The Guardian, The Times and Grazia, and is author of children’s stories ‘Tales From The Deep’. The follow up, ‘Gelert, A Man’s Best Friend’, is due out in 2013.
She has written and presented documentaries on subjects such as Cuba, the Mississippi river, poetry, fishing, Mahalia Jackson, Blue Horizon, early female blues payers and Sacred Harp singing.
Cerys played the Isle of Wight and Hay festival in 2012, the latter with a Woody Guthrie tribute show and collaborated with artists such as Arun Ghosh, Tunde Jegede, Attab Haddad, Frank Moon and the London Bulgarian Choir. 2012 also saw her play music from her acclaimed and popular selling collection of Welsh traditional songs ‘TIR’, with Ballet Cymru, ending in a show in Sadler’s Wells.
She was lead singer and songwriter for multi-million selling band Catatonia, and duets with Sir Tom Jones on perennial winter favourite ‘Baby, Its Cold Outside’. Her first Christmas album, of the same name, is released this year, and 2013 will see the release on Penguin of her ‘Sing-a-long’ book, which is a collection of hummable classics with song histories and personal anecdotes.
Cerys is Vice-President for Shelter Wales, is the Arts Ambassador for Linden Lodge – a Specialist Sensory and Physical College, and was a judge for the Dylan Thomas literary Prize, 2012.