An arts-loving care organisation has joined forces with opera superstar Bryn Terfel to launch a search for the world’s best young singers.
The announcement about the prestigious competition will be made on Thursday evening at a concert with the globally renowned Welsh bass baritone at Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.
Pendine Park care organisation will be donating £5,000 a year for the next three years for the first prize for what will be known as the Llangollen International Young Singer competition and the winner will receive the annual Pendine Prize.
Meanwhile, the Bryn Terfel Foundation will be contributing £2,500 for the singer who comes second and the festival itself will be giving £1,500 towards the third place prize, making a total annual prize pot of £9,000.
The aim is to develop the existing Voice of the Future contest to attract talented young singers from right across the world and make it a truly international competition
According to the festival’s Musical Director, Eilir Owen Griffiths, increasing the annual prize pot from 2017 onwards will “catapult the competition into a whole new league”.
He said: “This is a truly remarkable gesture by Pendine Park and the Bryn Terfel Foundation which will lead to a big surge in interest for new vocal talent.
“The timing is especially appropriate as we will be celebrating our 70th anniversary in 2017 and looking forward to an even brighter future.”
Pendine Park are long-standing supporters of the festival and this year they sponsored the opening night concert starring internationally acclaimed opera stars Kate Aldrich and Noah Stewart.
They are also the sponsors of the Thursday evening concert with Bryn Terfel and the world class Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja where the announcement will be made.
Proprietor Mario Kreft MBE said: “The ethos of the Eisteddfod chimes perfectly with the values of my wife, Gill, and I at Pendine Park in nurturing young talent.
“I firmly believe in the vital role played by music and arts in social care and as part of our enrichment programme for people with dementia we regularly have world-class musicians from the Hallé orchestra and Welsh National Opera as part of our enrichment workshops and staff training and development programme.
“Again this year we will be showcasing the value of the arts in social care and are organising a series of activities on the festival field, including dementia workshops. and intergenerational music workshops on Children’s Day.”
“For some years now we have supported evening concerts at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod and we want to provide further impetus to this unique festival and the Voice of the Future Competition in particular by increasing the prize money available to the winner.”
He added: “The message of the Eisteddfod about the importance of peace and harmony is as relevant today as it’s ever been.
“We’re absolutely delighted to be giving this extra support to the Eisteddfod as on Children’s Day at last year’s festival we will never forget seeing over 800 young people from local schools taking part in music workshops we hosted with members of the Welsh National Opera.
“As Terry Waite, who is President of the Eisteddfod, has often said, there is nothing more important than giving good memories to young people.”
Bryn Terfel was delighted his charitable foundation was backing the beefed up competition, particularly as it was being hosted by Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.
He said: “Competing at Llangollen played an important role in my development as a young singer and I am always pleased to have the opportunity to return to perform here.
“This year is extra special for me because I am excited about the potential of the Llangollen International Young Singer competition which I believe can be of real global significance.
“I am passionate about nurturing the talent of young singers through my foundation , and, with the extra prize money and the prestige that brings, the competition will be able to attract the very best of the world’s young singing talent.”
The Llangollen International Young Singer competition will be open to young soloists under the age of 28 and the prize moneyis intended to help them advance their professional career.
The prize also includes the chance to perform at future festival concerts.
During the two-day competition, singers will be required to deliver a contrasting programme of up to eight minutes of music, including oratorio, opera, lieder and song, performed in its original language.
In the final competitors will have to present a programme of music lasting up to 10 minutes.