SIONED WILLIAMS Hon.FTCL; FRAM; FWCMD; Dip.RAM; LRAM; LWCMD; FISM
Former Principal Harpist, BBC Symphony Orchestra
Honorary Research Fellow RAM
President and Honorary Member, United Kingdom Harp Association
Emeritus Senior Fellow in Harp Studies, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Sioned’s imaginative approach to the harp has earned her an enviable reputation as a performer and creator of unique flair and individuality. Principal Harpist of the BBCSO for28 years, she has enjoyed working with respected conductors including Belohlavek, Boulez, Bychkov, Davis, Lazarev, Oramo, Robertson and Slatkin, and composers Adams, Cage, Carter, Gubaidulina, Harvey, Knussen, Tippett, Turnage, and countless others, in hundreds of premières and on Radio 3 and in television broadcasts.
As a concerto soloist, Sioned has performed all the standard repertoire as well as three concertos written especially for her including: A Persian Reflection by Tafreshipour; No Doubt by Fitkin (on Camac Harp’s innovative Midi pedal harp, for which she was awarded a special medal by Jakez Francois) both the aforementioned concertos were performed with the BBCSO, and more recently, the Concertino for Soveida harp and ensemble (on another wonderfully intriguing new harp, created by Amir Konjani and built by Master Abassi in Iran) which she performed with the LSO. Sioned relinquished her position at the BBCSO in 2017 and has relished a new-found freedom to explore even more avenues of creativity.
In recitals, Sioned has collaborated with Michael Chance, Martyn Hill, Steven Isserlis, Neil Mackie, Aurèle Nicolet, Mark Padmore, Andrew Watts, Roderick Williams and Jeremy Huw Williams. Sioned has performed with choirs including The BBC Singers, The Sixteen, The Holst Singers, Cantamus, Tenebrae, The choristers of Westminster Cathedral and Abbey, King’s College Cambridge, and St Paul’s Cathedral, Winchester Quiristers and Oxford Voices, and her extensive discography includes partnerships with James Galway, Lisa Milne, Anthony Rolfe-Johnson and Frederica von Stade. In 2012 the disc of Debussy Danses Sacrée et Profane with the Brodsky Quartet for Chandos, was brilliantly reviewed.
Sioned is renowned for commissioning new works for harp; a passionate researcher and scholar, she presents lively and engaging presentations on a wide range of subjects: The harp in Wales – an unbroken tradition, and a new outlook; The harp in Britain – composers and players; Blind John Parry – Master of High Baroque; John Thomas – Harpist to the Queen (Victoria); Benjamin Britten – his harp legacy; The lesser-known works of Hasselmans; The spirit and passion of Ruskin; New music, innovation and the importance of collaboration; A Welsh harpist’s spiral of English delights; Demystifying Berio’s Sequenza for harp; Contemporary writing for harp; The orchestral harpist; The diverse harpist; A portrait of folk-music within original music for harp; J.S.Bach -Suite BWV 1006a the research and the consequence.
Sioned pioneered integrated harp courses in Britain and is enterprising in her teaching, creative workshops, lectures, seminars and master classes. Awarded an Emeritus Senior Fellow in Harp Studies at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Sioned is also President, and more recently, Honorary Member of the United Kingdom Harp Association (UKHA) and was the first Welsh board member of the World Harp Congress. She continues to write articles and reviews, interviews harpists, and is in the process of collating over fifty years worth of her life stories in words and photographs, sound and video recordings, for publication and presentations.
In 2013 she launched ‘Sioned’s Spiralling 60th’ a concept for her 6th decade (see details elsewhere on the website). The collating of Sioned’s work will probably take until the very end of the Spiral (2023) but it will prove she has not been idle!