Elgan Llŷr Thomas is a tenor from Llandudno who has now settled in Manchester. As well as his passion for teaching he has a busy career as a freelance opera singer and has worked with English National Opera, with whom he is a Harewood Artist, Scottish Opera, Opera Holland Park, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, Opéra National de Bordeaux, La Monnaie in Brussels and has performed at numerous festivals worldwide including the Ojai Music Festival in California, the Adelaide Festival in Australia and the Aldeburgh Festival in Suﬀolk.
Equally in demand on the concert platform he has performed with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Copenhagen, the Xi’an Symphony Orchestra, China, Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne and a particular highlight was to perform as tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Elgan trained at the Royal Northern College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. During his studies he was the recipient of many awards and prizes, these include the 2015 Stuart Burrows International Voice Award and audience prize, the 2015 Young Artist Award and audience prize at the Les Azuriales Festival in Nice, the 2012 Osborne Roberts Memorial Prize and 1st place in the Musical Theatre solo at the National Eisteddfod of Wales, he is a past winner of the Urdd National Eisteddfod Bryn Terfel Scholarship.
The young Welsh Mezzo Soprano, born in the old slate-quarrying village of Deiniolen, but who now lives outside Caernarfon completed her music training at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester gaining a Diploma in professional performance. Sian won scholarships from The Countess of Munster Trust and The Peter Moores Foundation, along with the Buttle Memorial Trust Award, the Gwilym Gwalchmai Prize, and was a finalist in the prestigious Frederick Cox competition. Sian’s Opera performances are numerous, having been with The D’oyly Carte Opera Company and Opera North, Leeds, and her Oratorio performances include Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas”, Handel’s “Messiah”, and Mozart’s “Requiem Mass in C”. Sian is now concentrating on her Concert and Oratorio work, and also works as a singing tutor at Coleg Menai, and at her home near Caernarfon where she lives with her husband and two young children.
Originally from Betws yn Rhos, Siân graduated from the University of North Wales Bangor, having studied under William Mathias, who was her personal tutor for part of the course and where her practical studies concentrated on piano and voice. Following 4 years teaching music in the secondary sector, she went on to study as a Post Graduate in Performing Arts at the Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. Since then, Siân’s career has been a varied one. Working for the BBC and then for HTV in Cardiff, Sian’s work included performing, composing, scriptwriting, researching and presenting before returning to North Wales in 1990 to work as an Assistant Producer for Teledu’r Tir Glas TV company in Caernarfon. In 1994, Siân became a director of Gwdihw TV company producing documentaries, music and light entertainment programmes for both the BBC and S4C as well as for Radio Cymru. In 2000, Siân and her husband established RYGARUG, a community performing arts project for young people in the Dyffryn Peris area. During that time, Rygarug produced 4 original musicals which were performed in Theatr Seilo, Theatr Gwynedd and Galeri. In 1983 Siân won the Can i Gymru competition and still is a prolific songwriter. A selection of some of her most recent works for children will be published in 2015. Between 1999 and 2010 Siân was the conductor of Côr Eryri and since April 2013, she has been the Musical Director of Côr Dre, an SATB choir from Caernarfon. During this time Côr Dre have been extremely busy with numerous concerts, choral competions and recording sessions at Stiwdio Sain as well as being successful in various festivals such as the National Eisteddfod, Eisteddfod Powys and winning the title Best Choir of the Festival at the recent Pan Celtic Festival in Derry. Sian has been a tutor at CGWM since 2003 teaching piano, voice and music theory. Throughout this time Siân has always continued to perform, compose and teach.
Rhys Meirion graduated as a Bachelor of Education and worked as a head-teacher before beginning his training as a singer. He completed his studies on the post-graduate Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Following this course, Rhys joined the English National Opera in 1999 and was subsequently a Company Principal from 2001 to 2004. His roles included Rodolfo in La Boheme, Pinkerton in Madam Butterfly, Alfredo in La Traviata, Nemorino in L’Elisir d’Amore and Nadir in The Pearl Fishers. In 2002, Rhys made his Australian debut as Rodolfo in La Boheme for West Australian Opera and his European debut as Rodolfo for Städtische Bühnen, Frankfurt-am-Main
Concert highlights include a gala concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London with Bryn Terfel, his BBC Prom debut at the opening night of the 2001 BBC Proms, televised on BBC 2 and the Desert Island Discs Anniversary Concert at Royal Festival Hall, London. Rhys has appeared at the Henley Festival, Cheltenham Festival, North Wales Festival, Swansea Festival, in concerts in Patagonia, Barbados, Toronto, Ottawa and Florida and often appears as guest soloist in opera galas with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Recordings include a duet album with Bryn Terfel entitled Benedictus on the SAIN record label. He has also released a CD entitled Bluebird of Happiness for the Australian label Stanza AV, and three solo CD recordings for the SAIN label, the most recent entitled, ‘Celticae’. Last summer (2010), Rhys returned to Welsh National Opera for a new production of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, highly acclaimed by the critics.
Marian Bryfdir was born in Gwynedd, North Wales, studied at the Royal Academy of Music and sang with the Glyndebourne Festival Opera and at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden before specialising in opera-in-education and voice teaching.
Awarded the Lord Harlech Memorial Fellowship for her work with young singers, Marian Bryfdir has worked for many years in Andalucia as performer and vocal coach, collaborating with actor/director Jose-Maria Penela in courses (not only for performers, but also speech therapists, interpreters and other professional voice users). Their book “A Workbook for the Speaking and Singing Voice” will be published in its Welsh translation shortly.
At her North Wales based voice studio “Y Stiwdio Llais” she offers specialised coaching to singers and actors on technique and repertoire. She arranges short intensive courses of vocal rehabilitation for individuals with vocal problems of all types and also gives short courses for young singing teachers.
Johanne teaches musicals, pop and Disney repertoire to her singing students at CGWM. She started singing in front of audiences at the age of 11, in her church, school productions and choir.
Developing her voice through classical and opera tuition and competitions, Johanne graduated with a B A Honours Degree in Performing Arts and Media. She went on to work as a Red Coat for a summer before establishing a career as a self employed singer performing in venues all over Wales. She has been giving voice and performance confidence tuition since 2004.
Johanne brings her students together twice a year to perform solos and group songs in a concert in Caernarfon. Her main aim is to instil confidence in people to believe in themselves, not only in singing but in everyday life.
After gaining her B.Ed from the University of Wales she initially pursued a teaching career. However, in 1990, Ann gained a scholarship to study singing with Kenneth Bowen at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Since this time she have performed as a freelance singer throughout the UK and abroad, in a variety of venues and with many of Britain’s leading Opera Companies including Scottish Opera and Glyndebourne Festival Opera.
Ann’s career has taken her to many different parts of the world, including Europe, the U.S.A., Asia and Australasia. During the summer of 2005 she toured New Zealand and Australia as the soloist with the Lions Choir. The culmination of the tour was a gala concert at the Sydney Opera House. In addition to her singing career Ann is the Artistic Director of the North Wales International Music Festival, Musical Director of the Bro Glyndŵr and the Trelawnyd Male Voice Choirs as well as being a vocal tutor for the William Mathias Music Centre
From 2002 to 2009 Ann was also Musical Director of the Fron Male Voice Choir. During this time they were prize winners at Llangollen International Eisteddfod and at the Harmonie Festival in Germany. In 2006 they secured a deal from Universal and the Cds ‘Voices of the Valley’ were launched and sold over 1 million copies. All four CDs were nominated for ‘Album of the Year’ at the Classical Brit awards. Ann is proud to have both conduct and sung two tracks on all these CDs. In 2007 they performed at the Classical Brit Awards and appeared on numerous television programmes and in numerous concerts over that busy time.