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Remarkable lost story of Aberystwyth Conservatoire

May 28th, 2015

The short-lived history of Aberystwyth’s School of Instrumental Music is one of the subjects covered at the Gregynog Festival Day held at the National Library of Wales on Saturday, 13 June.

The School was established in 1914 by Gwendoline Davies, who, along with her sister, Margaret, was a great patron of the arts and amassed a superb collection of Impressionist paintings later donated to the National Museum Wales.

Gregynog Festival’s Artistic Director Dr Rhian Davies will tell the lost story of the School – including the xenophobic reaction to members of the Gaston Le Feuve Quartet from Paris, who headed up the teaching staff – in an illustrated talk at 2.30pm.

The eminent New York-based Escher String Quartet will honour the Gaston Le Feuve Quartet with a programme of twentieth-century French repertoire in a concert on the evening of 13 June at 7.30pm.

The concert offers a rare opportunity to hear the last of the three Quartets by Vincent d’Indy whose work at the Schola Cantorum music school in Paris influenced Gwendoline’s decision to found the School under the supervision of Gaston Le Feuve and his colleagues.

Before then, the vibrant music scene of fin-de-siècle Paris will be evoked in a lecture-recital given by pianist Iwan Llewelyn-Jones at 4.00pm, featuring the work of Franck, Debussy and Ravel plus Fauré’s seventh Nocturne which was written at Llandough in 1898.

Admission to the Dr Rhian Davies talk (2.30pm) and Iwan Llewelyn-Jones lecture/recital (4.00pm) is £10.00; admission to the Escher String Quartet concert at 7.30pm is £15.00.  A reduction of £5.00 will be given to tickets purchased for both events.  Tickets can be purchased direct from the Library tel 01970 632 800 or through our events page

The Gregynog Festival Day is part of the Gregynog Festival, Wales’ oldest classical music festival.  This year, the spirit of revolution sweeps through the Festival in a programme which focuses on French music and musicians.

Dr Aled Gruffydd Jones, National Library of Wales Chief Executive and Librarian, said:

“The Gregynog Festival keeps alive the spirit of the extraordinary Davies sisters by bringing leading international artistes together to perform in mid Wales.

“We’re delighted to be working with the Festival to host this one-day event at the National Library, which also promises to shed light on a fascinating and little-known aspect of our musical history.”


  • The Gregynog Festival takes place between 12-28 June. For full details of the Festival’s series of concerts, workshops, talks and events please visit the Gregynog festival website
  • The Gregynog Festival has Visit Wales Signature Status, which demonstrates its key cultural and economic importance to Wales.
  • The Gregynog Festival was launched by Gwendoline and Margaret Davies at Gregynog Hall, near Newtown in 1933.
  • The National Library of Wales can be found off Penglais Hill in Aberystwyth.  It is clearly sign-posted along the main roads into the town.
  • The Library is home to over four million printed volumes, including many rare books such as the first complete Welsh translation of the Bible (1588).