ONE of Wales’ greatest composers will be remembered at the festival he created nearly 50 years ago.

Among those paying tribute to the late Professor William Mathias, who founded the North Wales International Music Festival in 1972, will be one of his proteges, Paul Mealor, who is also a globally renowned royal composer.

Paul Mealor will be discussing the life and music of William Mathias with his daughter, Rhiannon Mathias, during a special evening at St Asaph Cathedral to mark what would have been his 85th year.

Prof Mathias, who died in 1992 at the age of 57, was head of the music department at Bangor University.

The event at St Asaph Cathedral on Sunday, September 22, will feature works by Prof Mathias and also music that he loved, by composers including Mozart, who was one of Mathias’s favourite composers, Grace Williams, Debussy and Gershwin.

Among the performers will be the acclaimed harpist Elinor Bennett, the hugely talented pianist Iwan Llewelyn-Jones and mezzo-soporano Ann Atkinson, who is the festival’s artistic director.

Ann Atkinson will sing three of Mathias’ arrangements of Welsh folk songs - Y Gwydd (The Loom), Dafydd y Garreg Wen (David of the White Rock) and Tôn y Melinydd (The Miller’s Song), accompanied by Elinor Bennett on the harp.

The occasion will be an emotional one for Dr Rhiannon Mathias.

She recalled: “The festival was very, very important to my father's life.

"As today, things had to be planned well in advance and he very much enjoyed contacting the artistes.

"The festival remains a wonderful celebration of music, which is very much how he regarded it."

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