Wyn ap Gwilym from Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd, Ruthin, has recently passed his grade 3 harp exam.
Wyn studies the harp with Morwen Blythin at Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias Music Centre in Denbigh. He previously passed his grade 8 piano whilst a student at Abergele Grammar School, before he went on to study Micropaleontology (the study of micro-fossils) at Aberystwyth University.
Whilst studying at Aberystwyth, Wyn happened to visit Carmarthen Eisteddfod where he saw a stand displaying a brand new harp which was made out of carbon fibre. Wyn was drawn to the instrument, and decided to buy it.
He took the harp back with him to the Solomon Islands where he was living at the time. Wyn found that playing the harp was a rewarding activity and it reminded him of his Welsh roots, especially being so far from Wales. He recalls:
‘I played the harp in numerous locations on the Islands, the most interesting place was on a French research ship called, The Norris. The majority of the crew came from Brittany, and we had a lot of fun singing Breton lyrics to Welsh folk melodies!’
It wasn’t until Wyn returned to Wales in the 70s to study a doctorate degree in Aberystwyth that he started to have harp lessons. But with the pressure of work and a new baby, he had to put the harp to one side for a while. Despite this, the harp travelled with him when he moved back to the Solomon Islands, then on to Singapore, and even to Saudi Arabia, where he lived and worked until 2013 before finally moving back to Wales.
In 2015, Wyn started his lessons with Morwen Blythin and now a year later he has passed his grade 3 harp exam with distinction. His tutor said:
‘To think that Wyn has only been having harp lessons with us here at Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias Denbigh for a year, he has made significant progress and learns very quickly. Wyn is incredibly enthusiastic about learning the harp, and I enjoy teaching him immensely.’
Wyn is now looking forward to continuing his lessons and preparing for his next grade.