Music maestro is special guest at Llanelly Boys Grammar School reunion

HUW Tregelles Williams OBE is a former Llanelly Boys Grammar School pupil. He has a long and illustrious career in the music industry. Born in Gowerton he attended the Llanelly Boys Grammar School in the 1960’s.

During his postgraduate study, he recorded several recitals for Radio 3 on completion of which he joined the BBC as music producer. He was appointed Head of Music, BBC Wales in 1985 and first Director of the newly-expanded and renamed BBC National Orchestra of Wales in 1993. His 15-year tenure of these posts included 11 music series for BBC1 and BBC2 and orchestral tours to prestigious venues in North America, Japan, the Soviet Union and throughout Europe.

He established CD recordings, education outreach and substantial sponsorship as regular features of the Orchestra’s work and also commissioned new work from three generations of international and Welsh composers.

He has produced a series of programmes for S4C television on historic European organs and has given inaugural concerts at St. David’s Hall and the National Museum of Wales, recitals at Sydney Town Hall, St. Paul’s Cathedral and a special edition of BBC1’s Songs of Praise from the Royal Albert Hall to celebrate the restoration of its Willis organ.

In 1998 he was appointed OBE and Fellow of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama for service to music in Wales which has included membership of the Arts Council and the Council of the Royal College of Organists.

In January of this year Sir Roderick Evans, Pro-Chancellor at Swansea University presented a DLitt award to Mr Williams. In doing so Sir Roderick Evans paid tribute to the talented musician by saying:

“Huw Tregelles Williams has contributed immensely to Wales’ reputation as a land rich in musical tradition. He has dedicated his life to the production of music, and has played a major part in keeping the wonderful practise of organ-playing alive for a television audience. Swansea and the region has a fine cultural heritage, and the University is building on this by increasing its musical scholarship. We are very proud to welcome Huw Tregelles Williams into our Honorary Fellowship and as an ambassador for music and arts in the region.”

On receiving his award, Mr Williams said: “I am particularly honoured by such an award from Swansea University. Having retired to my native city, I have been delighted to play a part in its artistic life, for example by directing its renowned Festival of Music and the Arts.”

Loud applause for the rising young star: Daisy Owens

Huw Tregelles Williams OBE was born in Gowerton and educated in Llanelli Grammar School. It was here he visited on Friday (Oct 5) for the Annual Reunion Dinner. Also in attendance were Nia Griffith MP, Lee Waters AM and civic dignitaries representing the rural, town and county council. Musical entertainment was provided by the talented Daisy Owens accompanied by Catrin Hughes from Loud Applause Rising Stars.

Master of music: Huw Tregelles Williams OBE

Speaking to Llanelli Online about the event Huw Tregelles Williams said: “It has been lovely to catch up with a lot of people who were in my year in Grammar School. This is the year the whole school came together on this site in Pwll. It is great to see the new facilities here at Coleg Sir Gar. It reminds me of 1960 when the old school was a new building. It has been a real walk down Memory Lane.

Asked about how he got into the music industry he said: “I studied music and it was really just a question of actually finding a job which I thought might be interesting and might offer different kinds of opportunities. When I saw the BBC were advertising for a music producer’s job I thought well this could open doors in various directions and so it turned out. It was a very interesting to work with lots of creative people.”

Speaking about his concerns for the future of music in our schools Mr Williams said: “Wales still has no plan, Wales has no national educational plan for music. Scotland England and Northern Ireland do. The point I am making is that now our schools services are in such a crisis that we need one if our children are to continue to have instrumental lessons as part of their state education.”

Asked if he thought there had been changes for the better in the music industry he replied: “Music is taught in a far more broad ranging way now. There is a greater range of music which is being covered and of course pupils are encouraged to be more creative by the use of music technology. In my days it was manuscript and paper. Now with computer systems you can create pieces as you go along, which is a wonderful facility.”

Old meets the new: Grammar School old boys at Coleg Sir Gar

When asked about the value of the school reunion Huw Tregelles Williams concluded: “Reunions like this are a very precious opportunity to meet people who otherwise you probably wouldn’t meet in the natural course of life. It has been an enjoyable evening.”

You can listen to the audio interview here.

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