Mared Emyr Pugh-Jones
Receiving a generous grant from the Pantyfedwen Foundation has undoubtedly been of great help to me over the last year of my MA (Performance) course at the Royal Academy of Music. Being able to focus on practicing and learning new works for the busiest academic year of my life was enough work, without having to worry about financial issues.
The purpose of the performance course is to prepare us to be professional instrumentalists. The pandemic had such a negative effect on the performing arts, and I believe that missing out on going to a concert, the theatre or the cinema has made all of us realize how important the arts are to us as a society, and that music especially can help us get through difficult times. So, for me, working as a musician is more important than ever.
I decided to study the 'Open Academy' module during the two years of the MA course - which is a scheme between the Academy and Wigmore Hall, one of London's most notable classical music centres. I worked on the 'Singing with Friends' scheme, which holds informal sessions for the elderly in central London, and 'Out of the Ordinary', held over Zoom for half a dozen people who have developed Dementia while still relatively young, and because of these experiences, I decided to apply for a place on the 'Open Academy Fellowship' scheme. This employs graduates to work in the community creating similar projects to include people who wouldn't normally have opportunities to enjoy quality music. I am delighted to have been appointed as one of only four Fellows for the 2022-2023 academic year. My hope is that I will be able to combine community projects with private work as a soloist and in chamber groups and orchestras.
I also managed to study the LRAM course (for prospective instrumental/music teachers) over the Easter holidays and passed with Honours.
Graduating on the Academy's 200th anniversary was a day to remember. I also received a DipRAM qualification for my final exam, as well as the Royal Academy of Music's 2022 Harp Prize.
Thanks again to the James Pantyfedwen Foundation for their generous financial support, and for the valuable support for so many students from Wales to continue with their education.