Harpist plucks a top note

13th April 2007 at 01:00
Champion young musician of Wales is overjoyed with her victory and wants to play professionally

SHE SPENDS four hours a day training to be a world-class harpist but still finds time for her other great love: swimming.

Glain Dafydd beat off competition from four other finalists to take the Texaco Young Musician of Wales 2007 title in Cardiff last month. At 15, the pupil from Ysgol Tryfan, Bangor, was the youngest competitor ever to reach the final.

Despite her tender age, she is already a competition veteran. She had just turned 13 when she reached her previous big final.

The Texaco competition, which was launched by former Prince of Wales Royal harpist Catrin Finch, is a showcase for young Welsh musical talent.

Glain impressed the judges with her solo piece Sonata, by Paul Hindemith, and her rendition of Gabriel Pierne's Konzertstueck with the orchestra.

Since her win, the teenager has spent her Easter holidays practising with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, in Gloucestershire.

Apart from the concerts and the competitions, Glain still manages to find interests outside of music and has a particular passion for sport, especially swimming and skiing.

"I had to stop swimming competitively about two years ago because playing the harp is the thing I want to do most, but I still swim when I can," she said.

Glain began playing the harp when she was eight, following in the footsteps of her mother, who also plays the traditional Welsh stringed instrument.

The teenager has completed all her grades and now hopes to go on to study music in London or Paris before taking up playing professionally.

She is well used to high-profile competitions, but Glain still admits to pre-performance nerves.

"It has been a great experience and I was really thrilled when they announced I had won," she said. "My parents, my family and my friends have all been really supportive."

Glain also plays with the Gwynedd Mon Youth Orchestra and Harp Consort as well as attending the Youth Choir at Glanaethwy, a performing arts school.

Steffan Morris, a 15-year-old cellist from Neath, came second in the competition, and 17-year-old violinist Joseph Devalle, from Cardiff, was third.

* aled.blake@tes.co.uk

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