Back to RWCMD main site

Showcasing the College: ‘And The Sun Stood Still’ at St Davids Hall

What better way to continue the College’s 70th Anniversary celebrations than by showcasing our students’ talents with a symphony orchestra and chorus performance at St David’s Hall?

“It’s a realistic and hopeful showcase of the talent that is coming forward to feed the future of music in Wales and across the world,” said Kevin Price, Director of Music.

And The Sun Stood Still combines the talents of award-winning final year composer and clarinettist Sarah Jenkins, Concerto-winning pianist Yuki Minami, MA Opera student Jack Bowtell, graduate soprano Ellen Williams and the College Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.

Baritone Jack Bowtell.


Graduate and Soprano Ellen Williams.

Sarah’s composition, which gives the evening its title, was first performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra and broadcast live on Radio 3 last year. Inspired by the winter solstice, this will be its Welsh premiere.

Sarah at the premiere of her first BBC commissioned composition, again broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

She was commissioned to write it by the BBC after winning the BBC Proms Inspire competition.

“Musicians bring our pieces to life and each ensemble interprets them slightly differently, in their own voices, which is always a treat to experience,” said Sarah.

“Hearing your work rehearsed and performed live is always an invaluable learning experience.

I hope that people connect with the music and they are drawn in to the sound world that the piece inhabits, reflecting on the winter solstice and what it means for the natural world.”

Composer Sarah Jenkins discussing the final rehearsal with Conductor in Residence David Jones.

Piano student Yuki Minami was the winner of the RWCMD Concerto Prize and will perform Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1 

When Yuki was an exchange student in Cardiff she saw pianist Alice-Sara Ott perform this at St Davids Hall and was inspired to achieve the same goal:

“I hope to inspire small girls to feel the same passion I did when watching Alice-Sara Ott.

Piano Concerto No.1 is a real challenge because it’s such a huge and powerful sound, so I have to use my whole body to perform.

Although this is a very famous piece, I want the audience to feel the freshness, as if they’re hearing it for the first time, in my voice.”

Yuki Minami

The performance concludes with Faure’s Requiem, featuring the College Chorus and soloists Jack Bowtell and soprano graduate Ellen Williams, alongside the RWCMD Symphony Orchestra.

The Requiem presents a combination of technical and expressive challenges:

“The challenge comes in sustaining the atmosphere throughout the movements,” said Kevin Price.

“There is a lot of soft singing and playing which requires intense concentration and a great commitment to each and every word and musical phrase.

Yuki Minami performing Tchaikovsky’s Concerto at St David’s Hall.

It will make for an emotional yet serene ending to the evening:

“I hope that the audience will be able to forget the hustle and bustle of everyday life to sit back and enjoy a performance which will deliver an experience allowing quiet reflection, calm, and rest from a busy world,” said Conductor in Residence, David Jones.

Conductor in Residence David Jones.

And The Sun Stood Still marks a special occasion for the College and its students, not least Yuki, whose family are travelling from Japan to see her perform:

“It’s their first time in Europe so I will try to play for them rather than for the huge audience,” she says. “To perform at St Davids Hall is a dream come true.”

RWCMD Symphony Orchestra and Chorus at St Davids Hall.

Photos by Simon Gough.

Related Stories

Another Radio 3 Premiere for Young Composer & Clarinettist Sarah Jenkins

Top BBC Proms Inspire Young Composer Competition Win