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Tŷ Cerdd celebrates 35 years of excellence in youth music

Date:18 September 2017

From 1st October 2017 all national youth music ensembles will be administered by the newly formed National Youth Arts Wales Ltd. Information about its programme of events, application procedure and auditions will be published at towards the end of September.

Press release: 13.09.17

Tŷ Cerdd celebrates 35 years of excellence in youth music

– and hands the reins to National Youth Arts Wales

The final concert by the 2017 National Youth Brass Band of Wales this coming Saturday (16 September, St Asaph Cathedral) will be extra special for Tŷ Cerdd, as they hand delivery of the national youth ensembles to the newly formed National Youth Arts Wales.

National Youth Brass Band of Wales was formed in 1982 by the Welsh Amateur Music Federation (which merged with the Welsh Music Information Centre in 2004 to create Tŷ Cerdd). The Band was quickly followed by the National Youth Choir in 1984, and other ensembles ensued as a need for more opportunities for young performers became clear. The mission throughout has been to provide excellent and fulfilling performance opportunities, and to connect young people with Welsh music. Over that time seven ensembles have nurtured Wales’s very best young musicians, many of whom have gone on to notable careers in music – not least Bryn Terfel, Katherine Jenkins and
Tim Rhys-Evans, all alumni of the National Youth Choir of Wales.

Welsh music is fundamental to Tŷ Cerdd’s work, and a great many new works have been commissioned specially for the ensembles from a broad range of composers including Alun Hoddinott, Mervyn Burtch, Hilary Tann and this year’s composer-in-residence, Rhian Samuel.

Deborah Keyser, Director of Tŷ Cerdd, reflected: "We are immensely proud of the work Tŷ Cerdd has delivered with and for Wales’s very best young musicians over quarter of a century. It’s been an immense privilege to play such an important part in their musical development and to provide them with such valuable and enjoyable experiences. We wish National Youth Arts Wales every success as they take over this important work, and look forward to supporting them to engage with Welsh music and composers.

"While we’ll miss delivering the ensembles, we are excited about the opportunity it provides for us to work with new groups of children and young people around Wales – complementing the work that NYAW will deliver through its ensembles. Wales has a rich musical heritage and a vibrant scene of music making, and we look forward to engaging with young people across the nation."

This final concert under the aegis of Tŷ Cerdd takes place at the North Wales International Music Festival in St Asaph Cathedral: the National Youth Brass Band of Wales, conducted by Ian Porthouse, performs a sparkling, virtuosic programme including Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, William Mathias’s Vivat Regina, and Taliesin, a new work written specially for the band by Rhian Samuel. Full details and tickets:

For further information, please contact

Notes to editors

Tŷ Cerdd

Tŷ Cerdd’s mission is to promote and celebrate the music of Wales. Through our activities – including an in-house recording studio, record label and publishing imprint – and with a variety of partners, we work: to bring Welsh music to audiences across our nation and around the world; to protect the legacy of Welsh music of the past; to support the creation & performance of new music.

Cerdd’s national youth ensembles

National Youth Brass Band of Wales (NYBBW)

Formed in 1982 by the Welsh Amateur Music Federation.

President: Prof Edward Gregson

Conductors have included Arthur Kenny, Bramwell Tovey, Howard Snell, James Gourlay, James Watson, Robert Childs, Ray Farr, Nigel Boddice, Philip Harper and Ian Porthouse

Commissions by Alun Hoddinott, Mervyn Burtch, Gareth Wood, Christopher Painter, John Phillips, John Pickard, Peter Graham, Nigel Clarke, Hilary Tann and Martin Ellerby

Tours to The Netherlands, Norway and Canada

Performances at the major Welsh Festivals, including the Welsh Proms, Aberystwyth MusicFest, Swansea Festival, Fishguard International Festival of Music

National Youth Choir of Wales (NYCW)

Formed in 1984

President: Bryn Terfel (former member)

Conductors include George Guest, Gregory Rose, John Hugh Thomas, Simon Halsey, Ralph Allwood, Ben Parry, David Rowland, Islwyn Evans and Neil Ferris.

Commissions by Gareth Glyn, John Hardy, Mervyn Burtch

The NYCW has given concerts in London, Berlin, Leipzig, Bruges, Brussels, Paris, Vienna and Budapest, in addition to performing throughout Wales, at many of the major cathedrals in England and at the BBC Proms.

It broadcasts regularly on television and radio

National Youth Wind Orchestra of Wales (NYWOW)

Formed in 2002

Conductors include Ben Gernon, Tim Reynish, Mark Heron, Marco Pütz, Nigel Boddice and Simon Wills

Strong reputation for performance of contemporary works and premiering new pieces. Commissions by Gareth Wood, Adam Gorb (Farewell, winner of the 2009 British Academy of Songwriters, Composers & Authors award for best wind/brass work), Gareth Glyn, Colin Touchin, Chris Petrie and Simon Wills. In 2012 NYWOW premiered a new score by Charlie Barber for the Jean Epstein’s 1928 classic silent film The Fall of the House of Usher.

National Youth Training Choir of Wales (NYTCW)

Formed in 2005 to provide some of this additional choral experience for younger singers prior to, or in conjunction with, their auditioning for the NYCW. The majority of the current Youth Choir are NYTCW alumni

Conductors include Tim Rhys Evans, Simon Toyne and Nia Llewelyn Jones

Concerts in Wrexham, Swansea, Monmouth, Abergavenny, Welshpool and the Wales Millennium Centre

Commissions by Einion Dafydd, Mervyn Burtch and Rhian Samuel

National Youth Jazz Wales (NYJW)


MDs include Percy Pursglove and Stan Sulzman

Performances at Aberystwyth MusicFest and the Welsh Proms

National Youth Training Band of Wales (NYTBW)


Conductors include Tom Davoren and Philip Harper

National Youth Symphonic Brass Wales (NYSBW)

Conductors include James Watson & Simon Wills

Performed at the opening of the Wales Millennium Centre and the Senedd

National Youth Arts Wales Ltd

For information on the new NYAW organisation, and delivery of the programme for 2018 and beyond, please contact Peter Bellingham: