AN acclaimed teaching centre is hoping to tug at the heart strings of music lovers by inviting them support talented young harpists.

Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias – which provides tuition for more than 400 musicians in its centres in Caernarfon, Denbigh and Ruthin – has launched its Sponsor a String appeal, whereby people can “buy” one or more of the strings on a traditional Welsh triple harp.

Money raised will go towards creating three scholarships of £1,500. These will be offered as prizes to winners of the youth competition at this year’s fourth annual Wales International Harp Festival at the Galeri Caernarfon, from April 1-7.

Festival director Elinor Bennett said: “The youth competition at the Wales International Harp Festival is for young harpists aged 19 or under and the prizes are to help the winners pay for a series of lessons.”

Stage one of the youth competition will be held from 9am on the third day of the festival, Tuesday April 3, with the final at 3pm on the Wednesday. Elinor added: “In the run-up to the festival, a copy of an 18th century triple harp, with 90 strings, is being exhibited at Galeri.

“A label with the name of a sponsor will be tied on to one of its strings when a pledge of money is received.”

Gwenan Gibbard, who has been a harp tutor at the William Mathias Centre at the Galeri Caernarfon for over 10 years, said: “The three scholarships are the perfect way to help nurture the best young harpists of the future.”

The opening concert will feature the premiere of a new poem, entitled Osian, by chaired poet Mererid Hopwood, which honours the life and work of globally-renowned harpist Dr Osian Ellis CBE.

The festival will conclude with a sell-out concert by Sir Bryn Terfel, accompanied by his partner, the former royal harpist Hannah Stone, at the Bryn Terfel Theatr, Pontio, Bangor, on April 20.

See or call in at Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias, Galeri, Caernarfon.