James Pantefedwyn Foundation

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Anwen Thomas

I am so grateful to the Foundation for my grant. I used it to help pay for my tuition fees for the final year of my Master of Arts course at the Royal Academy of Music in London. The grant allowed me to make the most of my education on the harp before graduating and starting to work in the freelance world.

Over the year at the Academy, I had many opportunities to perform, including in Master Classes with Anne-Sophie Bertrand and Sylvain Blassel. I also performed in concerts with my new flute/viola/harp ensemble, 'Albeo Trio'. We as a trio still work and play together, and have concerts planned in England and Wales over the coming months. One of the highlights of the year for me was performing in the Academy's production of the musical 'Carousel'. I really enjoyed the experience of playing in a 'pit' and I hope to have the opportunity to do more of this type of playing professionally in the future!

I've also worked with RAM's 'Open Academy' department, working with Wigmore Hall and their 'Singing with Friends' and 'Out of the Ordinary' sessions to bring music to people living with dementia and their carers. I also worked with year 3 children and the company 'Hold the Drama' to create and perform a musical on the theme of belonging in a community. This work was very special and I am determined to continue bringing music to people of all ages and backgrounds.

By studying at the Academy, I have had the best education with Catrin Finch and Skaila Kanga. The lessons with these two teachers have been amazing and I feel ready to be out in the world of work, bringing happiness to people through performing. This education has helped me to achieve high marks in my exams and to graduate with distinction as well as DipRAM. I also won the 2023 Harp Award for getting the highest mark in the final exams of the harp section.

Now I have graduated, I continue to teach my students and to perform as a freelance harpist. I played with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in their BBC Proms concert over the summer, and I'm starting my year as 'Foyle Future First' with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, after a successful audition in June. I'm really enjoying working as a freelance harpist so far, and this wouldn't have been possible without the Foundation's kind support. Diolch yn fawr!