A Set of Recent Reviews of Sioned’s Work



RECITALWilliams’ 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 2012


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


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



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


LECTUREan 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, 2011 RAM lecture


MASTERCLASS  Both the participant and the listener leave the experience satisfied. Perhaps the most thrilling part of her classes is when she sits at the harp and we are made aware of her formidable technique and the sheer sound that emanates from the instrument. She might faultlessly play an extract of any given piece or demonstrate a tricky exercise that might alleviate a technical issue.  It is clear that Sioned is comfortable in any musical context, whether it is teaching (both publically and privately); playing in the orchestra; or giving solo recitals, yet she still maintains an admirable humility. 

Murdo Macrae – Guildhall School of Music and Drama 2013



Sioned Williams’ reading of the Deux Danses is so alluring and natural that you forget that these were actually commissioned as killer exam pieces for the Brussels Conservatory. With a sure sense of structure underpinning both movements, Williams gives us a lilting, hymnal ‘Danse Sacrée’, full of innocent joie de vivre, followed by a Danse Profane whose swirling, decadent climax is breath-takingly seductive.

Charlotte Gardner – BBC WEB 2012


Sandbach Concert Reviews



The (Sandbach) Chronicle   3/10/13

….Sioned Williams wowed the audience with her harp playing.. she was absolutely brilliant




 As chief harpist in the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Sioned had virtually come straight from the hectic schedule of the Proms, not to mention all her other musical commitments. Covering English music from the 16th – 20th centuries, Sioned’s inspirational playing created a joyous evening, enhanced by her explanation of each piece. Particularly poignant was the story of the Welsh valley that was submerged to provide water for a nearby city.  One audience comment after the concert summed up the evening: ” It’s the first time I’ve heard music and really understood what it was all about”.  Then there was the couple attending their first concert who bought season tickets for the series before the evening’s end.

But above all, the sight of Sioned, sitting surrounded by young musicians after the concert, and no doubt quite exhausted, chatting and probably giving them the benefit of her experience, seemed to “say it all”!

Sylvia Scott


English Music Spiralling Through the Centuries




20TH OCTOBER 2013 2.30PM


English music spiralling through the centuries


Four amazingly diverse compositions by composers

                        Anthony Bolton *     Michael Finnissy *

 Paul Patterson **      Michael Stimpson *

together with works by

John Dowland  … a courtly renaissance master

Henry Smart … a splendid classical composer in the style of Haydn

Elias Parish-Alvars …  Berlioz called him ‘The Liszt of the harp’

Benjamin Britten  … a central figure of 20th century music

York Bowen  … nicknamed ‘The English Rachmaninov’

William Alwyn  … Hugh Ottoway said ‘how directly this music communicates’

Arnold Bax … profoundly influenced by Ireland, after reading Yeats he said ‘In a moment, the Celt within me stood revealed’


** World premiere    * Irish premiere



Sioned’s presentations have been described as

‘a special, generous and illuminating experience for the audience.’

This recital will be briefly introduced from the platform with information and anecdotes about the composers and the harpists for whom the pieces were written…






Paul Patterson b. 1947                   Spirals



Twists and Turns






John Dowland 1563-1626          My Lady Hunsdon’s Puffe


Henry Smart 1778-1823              Sonata for Harp

Allegro moderato

                      Andante con espres

           Allegro vivace

William Alwyn 1905-1985              Crépuscule

Anthony Bolton   b. 1950                Impromptu for harp


Elias Parish-Alvars  1808-1849        Papagallo (Souvenir de Naples)                                                            





Michael Finnissy  b. 1946                 Welsh Harp


Arnold Bax, 1883 – 1953                  Valse



Benjamin Britten 1913-1976          Interlude from

                                            A Ceremony of Carols Op.28



Michael Stimpson  b. 1948             The Drowning of Capel Celyn 

                                               (Boddi Capel Celyn)                                


                                                              First Light (Golau cynta’r wawr)

                                                                    Wheels of treason (Olwynion brad)

                                   Flooding (Llifogi)

                                      Sunken (Suddedig)

                                     Farewell (Ffarwél)

Edwin York Bowen 1884-1961                  Arabesque


A Portrait of folk music within a recital for concert harp

Programme for lunchtime 11th October 2013

RWCMD  Dora Stoutzker Hall 1.15pm

Sioned Williams

As part of ‘Sioned’s Spiralling 60th

‘A portrait of folk music ’ within a recital for concert harp


This recital portrays the use made of folk music within original compositions for harp from four centuries. Based on folk music from Wales, England, Hungary, Switzerland, The Basque Country, and Persia, in some pieces, the folk melody is obvious and in others there is a more sublime use of various elements of an original tune- a rhythmic pattern or a harmonic/modal structure, or even a description in music of a story from the words of a folk song. From tonal 18th century elegance through expressive and atmospheric, to contemporary brilliance, the recital includes a World premiere, ‘Welsh Harp’ by Michael Finnissy, and two Welsh premieres- ‘Maisry’ by the highly acclaimed composer Michael Stimpson and Saakene Ravaan’ by the Iranian composer, Amir Sadeghi Konjani.



Tre Pezzetti                                                                     Ferenc Farkas (1905-2000)  Hungary

Maestoso- poco rubato;   Piu mosso;  Allegro moderato


Welsh Harp                                                                     Michael Finnissy (b. 1946)  ** Wales

Variations on a Swiss Air  WoO.64                 Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) Switzerland


Maisry                                                                                   Michael Stimpson (b. 1948) * England

Canciones para arpa del folk-lore Vasco           Jesus Guridi (1886-1961) The Basque Country


Nere maitea; Aritz adarean;  Ator, ator mutil; Agura zarkilun; Zorabiatua naiz; Garizuma luzerik

Saakene Ravaan (Stillness Afloat)                                 Amir Sadeghi Konjani (b. 1983) *  Persia



Sioned’s performances have been described as

‘a special, generous and illuminating experience for the audience’







Sandbach Concerts – English Music Spiralling Through the Centuries


Sioned Williams –Harp

Sandbach Concert Series 25th September 2013 7

English music spiralling through the centuries


Two poignant yet amazingly diverse compositions by composers Michael Stimpson and Anthony Bolton

and works by

Dowland… a courtly renaissance master

Smart… a splendid classical composer in the style of Haydn

Parish-Alvars…  Berlioz called him ‘The Liszt of the harp’

Britten… a central figure of 20th century music

York Bowen… nicknamed ‘The English Rachmaninoff’

John Dowland 1563-1626          My Lady Hunsdon’s Puffe


Henry Smart 1778-1823              Sonata for Harp

Allegro moderato

                       Andante con espres

             Allegro vivace

Anthony Bolton   b. 1950               Impromptu for harp


Elias Parish-Alvars  1808-1849      Chanson Grec de Santorino


Benjamin Britten 1913-1976          Interlude from

                                            A Ceremony of Carols


Michael Stimpson  b. 1948             The Drowning of Capel Celyn 

                                               (Boddi Capel Celyn)                                 


                                               First Light   (Golau cynta’r wawr)

                                                   Wheels of treason (Olwynion brad)

                  Flooding (Llifogi)

                     Sunken (Suddedig)

                    Farewell (Ffarwél)


York Bowen 1884-1961                  Arabesque