The 2012 season took Venice as its inpiration to mark one hundred years since Gwendoline and Margaret Davies, the founders of the Festival, began purchasing their paintings of the city by Monet, Boudin, Whistler and Sickert. These iconic images used to hang in the Music Room at Gregynog Hall, the Festival's principal performance space, and now form part of the core collection at National Museum Cardiff.
From the mystery of the mask to the special place of women in Venetian music, Gregynog Festival 2012: Venezia explored seven centuries of Venice's astonishing contribution to the arts through the works of its greatest composers. We enjoyed an outstanding roster of international performers to interpret our theme, many making debut appearances in Wales and exclusive appearances in the UK this season.
Stellar soloists included Jordi Savall, Giuliano Carmignola, Ottavio Dantone, Pavlo Beznosiuk, Xuefei Yang, Alessandro Taverna, Marta Rodrigo and Andreas Martin, alongside the distinguished ensembles Le Concert Spirituel, La Venexiana, Accademia Bizantina, Sonatori de la Gioiosa Marca, QuintEssential and The Avison Ensemble.
The Festival visited Cardiff for performances alongside the art that had inspired the 2012 theme. Rhodri Davies gave a concert in the Gregynog Gallery at National Museum Cardiff featuring Sounds of Venice by anniversary composer John Cage and Rhodri's Festival commission Acqua Alta, while Quintessential celebrated Gabrieli's anniversary with a memorable performance of polychoral music composed for Saint Mark's Basilica in the appropriately spacious acoustic of the Main Hall.
The Festival held its closing weekend in the charming Georgian town of Montgomery with a full programme of Venetian-themed events suitable for the whole family including mask-making, films and exhibitions as well as concerts by Le Concert Spirituel at St Nicholas' Church (their only UK appearance in 2012 apart from the BBC Proms) and by L'Avventura London at the Town Hall.
The concerts by La Venexiana and Alessandro Taverna were recorded for broadcast by BBC Radio 3 as part of The Early Music Show and Wales Festivals Week respectively.
Watch Artistic Director, Dr Rhian Davies, introduce the 2012 Festival in a short video.
The Avison Ensemble
Le Concert Spirituel
Sonatori de la Gioiosa Marca
The fully illustrated souvenir programme of the 2012 Festival features an introductory article on the Davies' sisters and their art which inspired the 2012 theme, together with features on Venetian music and musicians. It is available to order online for £5 including postage and package.