SIONED WILLIAMS – HARPIST -REVIEWS 2011 – 2018
RECITAL A delicious recital. Such that I mouthed to my companion “how lucky are we?” to be hearing a world expert, in a subject about which both harpists and non-harpists need enlightening. The presentation was excellent, and had the audience rapt, each little anecdote representing hours of painstaking research with primary sources. In Ffarwel y Telynor, both composer Paul Lewis and his wife were overcome. For me, Le Soir (premier impromptu) and The Tear were the highlights, the recitation of their poetic mottos, a really ravishing touch.
Keziah Thomas and I agreed it was a masterclass on how to present a performance of great class, however informal the setting.
Alexander Rider-Pilgrim Harps Open Day September 2017
RECITAL I was especially struck by the way you played at our event in the same way as you would have if it had been for instance at the Royal Albert Hall. To hear stories, context and anecdotes about each piece brought, in some cases very familiar pieces, to life in a new way for me adding an extra dimension to the music. 2018 will be my fortieth year making, designing, restoring and servicing harps and in that time I have accrued a few ‘extra special’ and most treasured memories and now included in this is your playing for us at our Open Day. Your exquisite playing accompanied with such enlightening stories and background to each piece by John Thomas will be something I will always recall with huge fondness. The audience was a wonderful mix of eminent harpists, students and many ‘non-players’ yet you were able to communicate through your sensitive performances and fascinating introductions in a way that was enthralling to all. I think this was the reason why I was aware of a collective feeling that we were all very privileged to have been there to hear you that day. You have that special ability to hold an audience completely in the palm of your hand which was borne out by the fact that you could hear a pin drop’ as you both spoke and played. We are all in agreement here in the workshop that it was our best ever Open Day and as you say, our visitors were clearly extremely happy to be there.
Jerry Blumire – Artist and Harpmaker Pilgrim Harps -Pilgrim Harps Open Day September 2017
RECITAL What Anne-Sophie Mutter is to the violin, Alison Balsom to the trumpet and Sabine Meyer to the clarinet, so is Sioned Williams to the harp. ..while all four artists have had major new works composed for them, the harpist’s commission of six pieces to celebrate her 60th birthday would seem to be a record. Williams knows how to hold a mood before, during and after the sounds; that, as much as her modesty, enthusiasm, sound-palette and generosity as a teacher passing on the essential human values of music-making, marks her out as a truly great artist.
David Nice – Purcell Room, London Southbank October 2014
RECITAL Sioned Williams’ untiring commitment to the harp has always included research into hitherto unknown music..charming,.. delightful, This programme was a veritable feast of exciting music for solo harp for which we express profound gratitude.
Sheila Larchet Cuthbert – Dublin October 2013
RECITAL Your concert in Dublin was truly impressive, the audience were entranced by the magic of your superb playing; also your dialogue between each piece was very helpful and showed that you are a good communicator! My piece worked well as an exciting opener to a brilliantly conceived programme of diverse and approachable English music. I was delighted with your interpretation of “Spirals”, you skilfully captured the personality of each movement and displayed an amazing technique and expertise in the demands of contemporary music. It was a thrilling premiere and a very memorable experience.
Thank you so much!
Paul Patterson- Dublin October 2013
RECITAL It was a delightful concert, a great honour to write for you, and I meant every word I said afterwards. You captured the POETRY of the piece perfectly, the fantastic little grace-note groups, the delicately melancholic sense and phrasing of the melodies, the resonances held for just the right amount of time, and the overall shaping, everything was perfect. ….That you managed to capture this exactly as I had imagined, was – as I told you – ‘magical’.
Michael Finnissy- RWCMD October 2013
RECITAL Folk-Roots and Composerly Sophistication from Sioned
This excellent recital by Sioned Williams was a quiet but eloquent counterblast to the kinds of pressures exerted by the “fashion and educational politics” of which (David Owen) Norris writes, and a heartening re-affirmation of the creative energies implicit in the “profound repository” of folksong. Her intelligent empathy with the uses to which a number of writers for the harp had put folksong irradiated her playing throughout the recital…We had the chance to enjoy ..the harp played with intelligence, sensitivity and brio. One could ask for little more.
Glyn Pursglove- RWCMD October 2013
RECITAL It’s the first time I’ve heard music and really understood what it was all about.
Sylvia Scott- Sandbach October 2013
RECITAL Sioned Williams wowed the audience with her harp playing.. she was absolutely brilliant.
The (Sandbach) Chronicle October 2013
RECITAL ‘Williams’ performance was a breath-taking and beautiful display of musicianship and research, which demonstrated unequivocally the range and vitality of the repertoire for this instrument.
Jim Driscoll – Ashleywood Festival August 2012
CONCERTO the romantic, almost whimsical Concerto for Harp by Joseph Jongen, …with its generous flourish of a cadenza, was a vehicle for the brilliant Sioned Williams.
Rian Evans-The Guardian 29 June 2014
CONCERTO Life is nothing if we don’t take risks, and when they are calculated and in the hands of the best people, then the results are always worthwhile. You did a superb job!
Paul Hughes- BBCSO Manager – Graham Fitkin’s MIDI harp concerto 2011
ORCHESTRA I have to note unforgettable moments; harpist Sioned Williams’ loveladen flourishes.
David Nice- Britten Albert Herring November 2013
ORCHESTRA In the Param Vir, there’s harp writing to match Britten’s, gleaming in the hands of the incomparable Sioned Williams.
David Nice – Proms 2013
ORCHESTRA…deeply eloquent, down to the slightest fleck of Sioned Williams’s harp-playing in the chamber ensemble.
David Nice- Britten War Requiem November 2013
As you could see from the giant grins on all our faces, we spent a joyful evening in the company of Sioned Williams last night! Sioned treated us to a fascinating lecture recital on the life and music of Victorian Welsh harpist John Thomas. With her beautiful playing of a selection of his compositions, we discovered that he was so much more than just ‘Watching the Wheat’ and Sioned highlighted the depth of emotion in his music with elegant subtlety. After our tea break we looked at some of the technical work involved in Thomas’ music, scribbling down all the practical tips we were offered! Sioned’s passion for the composer left us all incredibly inspired to learn and discover more about our wonderful instrument. Thank you Sioned!
Keziah Thomas- Meet and Retreat February 2018
Sioned –I loved it! The pieces were gorgeous , so perfectly played within the style, and the musicality was so sensitive. I don’t think anyone else could play John Thomas so beautifully. Also you pitched it just right because it was interesting to people who have a knowledge of the harp, and also to those just learning, and the choice of pieces you played to break up the talk was also really good, playing the study and lesser known pieces.
Louisa Duggan -Meet and Retreat February 2018
ILLUSTRATED LECTURE I have an enormous admiration for Sioned Williams’ passion and ambition towards her art. The amount of dedication and thought that she must endure to achieve a successful commission is a long and painful process but nonetheless is probably one of the most rewarding outcome that music has to offer. She discussed the working relationship and the financial obstacles that one must overcome in her field of work. She battles these problems elegantly and proving where there’s a will, there is certainly a way. A role model for today’s musician who aspires to push forward and make a difference. Sioned will no doubt eternally integrate herself within the harp repertoire as a commissioner and editor of the harp works alongside composers of the highest integrity. Not only is she a hard and diligent worker, she is most importantly one of the best musicians I have come across.
Llywelyn Ifan Jones -Lyon and Healy Masterclass RWCMD Cardiff February 2013
ILLUSTRATED LECTURE A magnificent evening of instruction and entertainment at RAM, London. Sioned Williams entranced harp students and public visitors who’d never heard of the great Parry (John, blind Welsh). She read her paper, but in so lively a manner you’d never think so, with a Welsh intonation and, too, a few readings in musical Welsh… The event was hugely enhanced with a visual commentary on screen, an exemplary use of technology. This lecture/recital would make a splendid video/DVD RAM 2012
ILLUSTRATED LECTURE… an exceptional lecture by Sioned Williams about ‘Collaborating with Composers’; an excellent evening and the most innovative music discussion I have ever experienced.
Prof. Anita Simmons- RAM 2011
ILLUSTRATED LECTURE the harp department at the Royal Academy of Music experienced a first in an exceptional lecture by Sioned Williams about ‘Collaborating with Composers’.
Mary Reid – RAM 2011