A REMARKABLE 15 world premieres will be performed at a top music festival in North Wales.

Some of the pieces have been especially commissioned by critically acclaimed Bangor Music Festival and many have been written by young composers based in Wales.

The event which focuses mainly on contemporary music has been a cultural highlight on the city’s calendar for nearly a quarter of a century.

This year it will be staged mainly at the Pontio Arts Centre at Bangor University from Thursday, February 15, to Sunday, February 18.

Artistic Director Guto Pryderi Puw, who has been involved with the festival since it was launched in 2000, said the theme of the 2024 festival is New Music, New Experiences.

In addition to a series of major concerts, it also features a range of discussions, lectures, workshops and educational projects.

Launching the programme for 2024 Guto, a Reader in Music Composition at Bangor University’s Department of Music, Drama and Performance, said: "The new compositions will be performed during our main concerts in Theatr Bryn Terfel at Pontio on February 17 and 18.

"They promise to be exciting concerts with a range of musical styles being performed for the first time."

The main concert on Saturday, February 17, will feature three brand new works.


Guto Pryderi Puw.

Guto Pryderi Puw.


Guto said the pieces, Motet IV - Accidental Activists by Richard Baker, The day following by Lynne Plowman and Nathan James Dearden's The Wind Sweepers were commissioned for the festival by UPROAR, Wales’ main new music ensemble.

"These are three new bold compositions, inspired by, and responding to contemporary life in Wales by three very exciting composers working and living in Wales," said Guto.

The concert, which starts at 7.30pm, also features music by well-known American composer John Adams' Son of Chamber Symphony and Symphonie Diagonale by Austrian female composer, Olga Neuwirth.

Beforehand there will be a pre-concert talk with the three commissioned composers in the company of festival chair, Rhiannon Mathias.

Earlier in the day pieces written by emerging composers feature in a lunchtime concert at Pontio's Studio theatre.

The festival's opening concert on Thursday, February 15 features Cardiff-based Afro Cluster who will join local ensemble Banda Bacana in an evening of music from two continents that is inspired by African music and Samba rhythms.

Staged cabaret style at Pontio's Theatr Bryn Terfel Guto said the auditorium seats will be replaced by tables and chairs but with plenty of space for dancing, which is encouraged.

"Banda Bacana’s music is great for dancing and the cabaret style setting will make it more of a gig than a formal concert," he said. “They have a great local following and their set is always lively and full of rhythmic energy.”

During the festival Marie-Claire Howorth will host sessions introducing music to children aged six months to three years old and later with four to seven year olds. These sessions are staged in collaboration with Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias. Also, Ash Cooke will host an improvisation workshop as part of the Tŷ Cerdd’s Off-Grid activities.

Tickets are available from the Pontio website at www.pontio.co.uk or telephone 01248 382828