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Ensemble make it to the shortlist; MUSIC Orchestra in line for top live classical award.

Byline: By GARETH BICKNELL

DESPITE being established less than six years ago, 25-piece orchestra Ensemble Cymru has been shortlisted for the UK's most prestigious award for live classical music.

Ensemble Cymru - which has a mission to take classical music into deprived areas of North Wales - is one of only three ensembles to have been shortlisted for a Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) Music Award in the Chamber Music category for its work in 2005.

The shortlist was announced at London's Barbican Hall on April 5. The winners will be announced on May 9.

Established in 2000, Ensemble Cymru is already one of the busiest music groups in Wales.

Last year, it performed 114 concerts and workshops to 7,500 adults and schoolchildren across North Wales and in Cardiff.

The performances included a recital series of over 60 concerts in North Wales and Cardiff and special family concerts. One of the more recent family concerts, called Ploryn, is a story specially written for Welsh speakers and learners by Gareth Glyn and Angharad Tomos with pictures by Marc Vyvyan Jones.

Last month, Ensemble Cymru began realising its international ambitions as featured ensemble during the Wales in New York week, promoting the best in Welsh classical music for American audiences.

The ensemble performed as part of the opening week of the Wales Millennium Centre and the opening gala night of Caernarfon's new Arts Centre, Galeri, billed alongside Bryn Terfel and Catrin Finch. It can also be heard on Bryn Terfel's hit CD, Benedictus.

The annual RPS Music Awards - which honour a broad sweep of musicians, composers, writers, broadcasters and inspirational arts organisations - are now regarded as the UK's most prestigious recognition of achievement for live classical music.

Winners are decided by independent panels comprising some of the music industry's most distinguished practitioners.

Ensemble Cymru's Artistic Director, Peryn Clement-Evans, said: "It's a huge honour for Ensemble Cymru, which is still a very young organisation, to have been selected among the top three in the United Kingdom. Having our work recognised in this way has given us all a great boost.

"There are quite a few fingers crossed here for May 9 when we go to London to hear the name of the winner."

Pro-vice Chancellor of the University of Wales, Bangor, Meri Huws, said: "Ensemble Cymru's activities play a significant role in the university's work in bringing benefits to communities across Wales, especially those in more disadvantaged areas.

"I am delighted that the Ensemble's work has been recognised in this way and wish them great success in the final round."

Welsh Assembly Government Minister for Culture Alun Pugh said: "I congratulate Ensemble Cymru for being short-listed for this prestigious award.

"Their contribution in the fields of artistic excellence and social justice deserve to be recognised.

The Ensemble can be heard in its recital series across North Wales and in Cardiff starting in May. For more information visit www.ensemble cymru.co.uk for details

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North Wales Ensemble Cymru has earned national recognition
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 14, 2006
Words:499
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