Talented Cardiff pianist wins top prize at music festival

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Winner of the Tomos Boyles Senior Piano Competition. Photo by Geraint Thomas

Submitted by Alistair Syme

A talented young pianist won first prize at a piano festival after presenting a virtuoso performance.

Tomos Boyles, 21, from Cardiff, was the winner in the senior category at the Wales International Piano Festival at Galeri in Caernarfon.

He received a £ 3,000 award from the Roberts food company of Port Dinorwic.

It was the second time that Tomos took part in the festival. In 2016, he participated in the junior section.

He was extremely happy to win the first prize.

Tomos said: “I am in third year studying music at Christ College Oxford and hoping to do postgraduate studies at a conservatory. I am in the process of applying and winning this competition will be a boost Certainly, the prize will help with living expenses wherever I go to study.

“Knowing that someone is paying attention to every note I play makes me more nervous. I treated this competition as a performance that I wanted people to enjoy listening to.

“The acoustics of the Galeri Caernarfon are very good and appeal to those who attend the courses organized by Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias every week.

A former student of Cathedral School in Cardiff, Tomos has been playing the piano since the age of eight.

He hopes to become a concert pianist with performances in Aberystwyth and Lampeter already planned.

The festival, which takes place every four years, has been organized by Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias (William Mathias Music Center) which is headquartered in Caernarfon and has satellite bases in Denbigh and Ruthin.

It features concerts by professional musicians, masterclasses and educational outreach projects, as well as prestigious piano competitions with prizes totaling nearly £ 10,000 this year.

This year the festival adopted a hybrid format with evening concerts pre-recorded and streamed online, while competitions and other events took place live at Galeri, Caernarfon.

It was originally scheduled to take place in May 2020 to mark the year of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth in December 1770.

Despite 18 months of logistical setbacks caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2021 festival drew a full complement of participants in the competition.

It is one of the few festivals in the world to include an accompanist category.

Iwan Llewelyn-Jones, artistic director of the festival, said the level of the competition was “extremely high” and congratulated all the pianists who participated.

Iwan said: “We had a good number of competitors from all over the UK and beyond.

“The level of play was extremely high. Everyone had prepared meticulously and were very confident in the finals.

“Several made strenuous efforts to attend despite the various restrictions of Covid-19.

Iwan paid tribute to the competitors and supporters who trusted the festival, as well as festival administrator Catrin Morris Jones and CGWM staff who worked incredibly hard to make it such a success.

He added: “I’m so glad we were finally able to put on the festival. It is earning a special place in the music calendar and we hope to build on that.

“We made the decision to stage it in a hybrid fashion with pre-recorded concerts being broadcast online and it worked well.

“I will sit down with other officials in the next few weeks and start planning for the next festival. I already have a few ideas in mind.”

But before that, Iwan hopes to bring back this year’s winners for a special concert after all restrictions are relaxed to give them and the audience the opportunity to enjoy their music.

Virtual concerts are always available on the website here

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