What is Abertawe Festival for Young Musicians?
ABERTAWE FESTIVAL for YOUNG MUSICIANS is a member of The British and International Federation of Festivals of Music, Dance and Drama, of which Her Majesty the Queen is Patron
What we stand for..
The ‘AFYM’ exists to improve and widen music education, and to provide performance opportunities and support in general for young musicians across the region. It is run by a honorary committee and supported by a host of volunteer stewards.
AFYM is an annual event comprising of competitive and non-competitive classes in Piano, Strings, Woodwind and Ensemble sections. We hold a Primary Schools Day including school ensembles, recorder solos, as well as duet and group classes.
Who is it for?
There are classes for all ages and all abilities. Informal workshops are held throughout the six days of the festival which is held in three glorious venues at the Guildhall, Grand Theatre, Swansea and All Souls Church, Tycoch.
In Partnership with..
BBC NOW run workshop days here at the festival and the lucky AFYM students have the opportunity to attend a BBC NOW concert for which the tickets are sponsored by the BBC NOW Education Department. The City and County of Swansea also help with the smooth running of the festival along with students from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama who do placements with us during the festival as well as Swansea Metropoliton University.
When finances permit the AFYM offers Bursary Awards, either to individuals or to schools. Awards have been given to: Blaen y Maes Primary School to purchase instruments, Clase Primary School to buy guitars.
To individual students to help with; The purchase of a piano stool, the purchase of a flute/alto flute, summer school fees, youth orchestra fees.
Vision to Reality
The AFYM was founded in 1993 by two local music teachers Nicky Excell and Penny Davies. They had a vision to improve and widen music education for all children, providing support and performance opportunities for these ever growing musicians. Featuring competitive and non-competitive classes for players of instruments both as soloists and ensembles, the first Festival took place in the Taliesin Arts Centre and involved 70 children. With adjudicators being drawn from the nation’s top performers and music educators the festival has grown in strength and numbers over the years and in 2010 there were approximately 700 children involved. Performers are invited to come from all over South Wales, including Haverfordwest to Newport, Hereford to Peterborough and sometimes all the way from London. Since the festival has grown, so has the space in which it is performed in. We are now housed in the Guildhall complex making use of the stunning facilities at the Brangwyn Hall. We are ever grateful to the City and County of Swansea for the continued use of such a beautiful building over the last few years.
Workshops & Masterclasses
Each year the Festival hosts a Masterclass with one of our nation’s top performers offering all performers the chance to take up this wonderful opportunity to advance their skills. In 2012 & 2013, International saxophonist Gerard McChrystal took a workshop for saxophone players culminating in a group performance in the Brangwyn Hall. Workshops also take place throughout the festival and 2013 saw the return of our successful partnership with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales who held a string workshop. 2014 will see the rerurn of our saxophone workshop with Gerard McChrystal, Harp Workshop with Valerie Aldrich-Smith, as well as a workshop with Paul Harris where participants will get to play Paul Harris compositions with the composers own workshop feedback.
AFYM students have gone on to study at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Trinity College (London), Royal Northern College of Music, Yehudi Menhuin School, Purcell School, Chethams Music school, Wells Music School. Some have gone on to study abroad, notably in Hungary, and some have even gained orchestral positions. Our performers regularly gain prizes at the Eisteddfod, in the BBC Young Musician of the Year, The Texaco Young Musician of Wales, and in the Young Musician of Dyfed Competitions.
Hannah Stone, the previous Royal Harpist, is an ex AFYM performer, the current Royal Harpist Anne Denholm, as was Claire Jones another previous Royal Harpist. Also, Huw Morgan, an ex AFYM Trumpet performer won the Royal Overseas League Competition.