The second series
Following the Second World War and the death of Gwendoline Davies in 1951, a second series of Festivals, 1956-61, was directed by Ian Parrott, one of Walford Davies’ successors as Gregynog Professor of Music at Aberystwyth. Evelyn Rothwell (Lady Barbirolli), Redvers Llewellyn and Helen Watts were among the distinguished soloists whom he engaged. First performances were also given of compositions by two of his most brilliant students, William Mathias and David Harries.
After the death of Margaret Davies in 1963, Gregynog became a Conference Centre of the University of Wales. A one-off Festival was held in 1972 and featured a recital by Benjamin Britten, Peter Pears and the harpist Osian Ellis during his time as a Gregynog Arts Fellow.
The modern Festival
The third and present series of Festivals was revived by the tenor Anthony Rolfe Johnson from 1988. Gregynog Festival continued to attract international artists including John Lill and Benjamin Luxon and created opportunities for emerging young musicians who went on to develop their own stellar careers such as John Mark Ainsley, Frederick Kempf and Bryn Terfel.
Rhian Davies, the soprano, music historian and broadcaster, became Artistic Director following Tony's retirement in 2006. Gregynog Festival is now firmly established as one of the premier cultural events in Wales and the UK and builds on the unique heritage of chamber, choral and early music at Gregynog by programming performances by international artists of the highest quality. Amongst those who have appeared at the Festival in recent seasons are Jordi Savall and Hesperion XXI, Accademia Bizantina/Ottavio Dantone, The Academy of St Martin in the Fields, The Nash Enemble, Le Concert Spirituel/Herve Niquet, Giuliano Carmignola, Paul O'Dette, Mahan Esfahani, Alison Balsom, Catrin Finch, Emma Johnson, Nicholas Daniel, Iestyn Davies, Christopher Maltman, Andrew Kennedy, Dame Emma Kirkby, The King's Singers, The Sixteen, Tenebrae, Vox Luminis, The Flemish Radio Choir and The Tallis Scholars.
Gregynog Festival concerts continue to be held in the Music Room, although we also visit venues in the local community and other historic locations in Wales as appropriate to each year's curatorial theme. At the invitation of the Welsh Government, the work of the Festival has been showcased as part of Wales Washington Cymru at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Washington DC, in 2009, and at Wales Week USA in the Lincoln Center, New York City, in 2010. The Festival has been a memner of REMA, the European Network for Early Music since 2013, is a revenue client of Arts Council Wales and a signature event of the Welsh Government.