Tenor Wins Byn Terfel Urdd Scholarship

A talented tenor is the winner of this year’s Bryn Terfel Urdd Scholarship.

Rhydian Jenkins was awarded the coveted award and a £4,000 cash prize in the final staged at the Memorial Hall Theatre, Barry.

Rhydian Jenkins, the winner of the 2019 Urdd Eisteddfod Bryn Terfel Scholarship
Rhydian Jenkins, the winner of the 2019 Urdd Eisteddfod Bryn Terfel Scholarship

The 22-year-old from Maesteg is studying vocal and performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. He has had success on the National Eisteddfod stage, winning the Dr Aled Lloyd Davies Award for Cerdd Dant Solo in Cardiff in 2018.

Further successes came in Conwy this year with a first for the Tenor Solo, the Under 25 Lieder prize and the Lady Herbert Memorial Prize. Rhydian is also a promising rugby player and plays for Pontypridd.

Accepting the prize he said: “I’m not sure if words can convey how I feel. This is my second time in the final and the standard had risen each time. It’s a privilege to compete again.

“I have two years left on my college course after which I hope to study opera – the prize money will go towards that. This is the pinnacle of my career so far… and now, who knows what’s ahead.”

Thomas Matthias, Steffan Lloyd Owen, Cai Fon Davies, Daniel Calan-Jones, Rhydian Jenkins and Morgan Llewelyn-Jones
Thomas Matthias, Steffan Lloyd Owen, Cai Fon Davies, Daniel Calan-Jones, Rhydian Jenkins and Morgan Llewelyn-Jones

The other competitors were Cai Fôn Davies and Steffan Lloyd Owen, both from villages near Llangefni; Thomas Mathias from Aberystwyth, Daniel Calan Jones from Cardiff and Morgan Llewelyn-Jones from the Gwendraeth Valley.

The Scholarship aims to nurture the talents of some of Wales’ foremost young performers and offers a prize of £4,000 towards further training in their field of the performing arts.

Earlier this year, the Urdd announced a new international element to the scholarship, and Rhydian will have the opportunity to perform at one of the worldwide celebrations on St David’s Day in 2020.

Sir Bryn Terfel
Sir Bryn Terfel

The competitors were all selected during the Urdd Eisteddfod 2019 in Cardiff and the Vale, by a panel of judges from various performing arts. The judges this year were Glain Dafydd, Dr Jeremy Huw Williams, Cerian Phillips, Ffion Dafis, Einir Wyn Jones with the Chair of the Eisteddfod Board, Gwenno Mair Davies, chairing the panel.

Einir Jones said: “We were completely unanimous. To be honest, we were spellbound. The competition was fantastic, and all the competitors were very memorable in their chosen fields.

“We’ve had a feast of entertainment, the audience has had a feast and have all enjoyed every minute.

“But one competitor, in particular, thrilled us… His comprehensive programme, the way he communicated with the audience and, for me personally, his subtlety… He truly is amazing.”

The scholarship was set up in 1999 by opera superstar Bryn Terfel following a concert at Pwllheli. The knight has always acknowledged the role the Urdd played in encouraging him as a singer during his schooldays.

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