A WORLD renowned harpist who was forced to pull out of a major festival last year, because she was battling breast cancer, is keeping her promise to perform at this year’s event instead.

Former Royal Harpist, Catrin Finch will have a starring role at the Wales Harp Festival at Galeri in Caernarfon on April 17 and 18.

After being diagnosed with stage-three breast cancer, she had seven rounds of chemotherapy over four months and underwent a double mastectomy at Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff.

In 2000 Ms Finch, who hails originally from Llanon, in Ceredigion, became the first person since 1872 to hold the post of Royal Harpist.

Her four years playing for the Prince of Wales provided a springboard to a glittering career.

She said: “I was determined to perform at this year’s Wales Harp Festival. I’m looking forward to it and I’m just sad I had to miss out on last year’s event.

“ I will be performing works by French harpists as well as music by Bach, Piazzola and William Mathias.

“While I’ll be performing a more classical programme, Monika Stadler will perform more of her own jazz-based compositions. It will be an interesting mix of styles.

“I’m really looking forward to playing in Caernarfon as I’m currently heavily involved working on a project with Seckou Keita, a Senegalese kora player and drummer.

“We have together released two albums and are touring, bringing a collaboration of very different music styles to a wider audience.

“I’m also working on bringing the World Harp Congress to Cardiff in 2020.”

Just like the Olympics, the International Harp Festival is held every four years and in the intervening years the smaller-scale Wales Harp Festival encourages young harpists.

Elinor said: “As well as welcoming Catrin Finch and Monika Stadler to perform in Caernarfon, harp classes and workshops will be held during the day for harp learners of all ages,with a team of experienced teachers from North Wales – Dafydd Huw, Catrin Morris-Jones, Elfair Grug and Elinor Bennett.

“On April 17 the competition to commemorate the renowned harpist, Nansi Richards, will be held. The Scholarship, worth £1500, will be awarded to a young harpist from Wales or living in Wales.

The Nansi Richards Competition deadline is Monday, March 15, and the deadline for a place in the classes and workshops is the following Friday, March 22. See: www.walesharpfestival.co.uk