Composers And Arrangers

Valerie Aldrich-Smith was born in Powys, Wales. She received a B.Mus. from Birmingham University and completed her harp studies with Ann Griffiths at the Welsh College of Music and Drama gaining the Advanced Diploma for performance. Currently, she is principal harpist with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, a post she has held for twenty years, as well as a regular tutor for the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the University of Wales, Cardiff.


Tony Bremner was born in Sydney in 1939, studied piano at the NSW Conservatorium and moved to London in 1961. In 1968 he joined the Glyndebourne Festival Opera chorus as a tenor and remained there for ten years, until he changed to counter-tenor, when his first audition, at Covent Garden, landed him the job of understudy to James Bowman. In 2000 he won the Gregynog Composer of the Year prize with his Three Divine Poems of John Donne for chorus and piano. He has also conducted new recordings of classic film scores, including Lawrence of Arabia and The Big Country with the Philharmonia Orchestra, and Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons with the Australian Philharmonic. His three films scores and In the Shrubbery have been released.


The Italian composer Leonello Capodaglio (b. Lendinara, 1945) studied in Venice with Gian Francesco Malipiero and Ugo Amendola (composition), Gino Gorini (piano), Egida Giordani Sartori (harpsichord) and Franco Ferrara (conducting). His catalogue currently contains 235 works including three oratorios and two operas and there have been over two hundred performances, some of which were devoted entirely to his works. He has won ten national and international prizes for composition, including the “Atoll” prize for choral composition from the Haute Acadédemie Internationale de Lutèce (Paris), the “Valentino Bucchi” prize for piano composition (Roma) and the international competition “7ème Centenaire de la translation de la Sainte Maison” for masses for a capella choir (Lorette). Several of his works have been on the list of obligatory pieces for national and international violin and piano competitions. Leonello Capodaglio has taught piano, composition and theory, was the director of the state conservatory of Adria and has been principal conductor of several Italian chamber and symphony orchestras. A man of letters, essayist and lecturer, he has also written works of prose and poetry. He received the “G. Spagnol national prize” for a historical novel.


Born in Bagillt in North Wales, Glenda Clwyd began playing the harp at the age of ten and achieved many successes at the Urdd and National Eisteddfodau during her teens. In her early professional years she played in orchestral concerts and played in a pop band, composing a number of their songs. She went on to study harp and performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with Ann Griffiths and during this time received the prestigious Pernod award in recognition of her work as an ambassador of the harp.
Throughout her career as a professional harpist she has performed for royalty, appeared on TV and radio, played at most major UK concert venues alongside choirs and soloists and performed in touring shows and in symphony orchestras.


Eric Crees was born in London and studied at the University of Surrey and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He soon joined the London Symphony Orchestra where he spent twenty-seven years; in 2000 he was appointed Principal Trombone at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. As director of London Symphony Orchestra Brass for many years he regularly conducted them at the Barbican Centre and internationally.  He has made five CDs with the ensemble: two originally for Collins Classics, American Brass and Cathedral Brass, featuring many of his arrangements. Since joining Covent Garden, he has directed the Royal Opera House Brass Soloists in concert at the Floral Hall to great critical success in what promises to be a continuing series: to date, the ensemble has completed three live recordings. He has also written acclaimed arrangements for The London Trombone Sound and The London Horn Sound and has worked with many of the world’s most distinguished ensembles and brass bands. His symphonic version of Bernstein’s Suite from West Side Story has been commercially recorded four times. Recent original compositions include Silk Street Stomp (for Big Band),Two Antiphonal Fanfares,  Frighteners’ Gallop (for eight horns),  Orage (for sixteen trombones), Processional for PJ (for large brass ensemble),  The Birth of Conchobar (for symphonic brass and percussion),  Three Sketches from Rackham (for flute and harp), Flourish (for solo trombone) and Carillons (for six harps). Eric is also an internationally renowned teacher and is Professor of Trombone, B.Mus. course tutor, Conductor of Wind, Brass and Percussion, and arranging and composing lecturer at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.


Branka Crowder was born in Montenegro and grew up in Belgrade, Serbia, where she began studying the harp from an early age. During and after her studies she was already working professionally as the principal harpist of the National Opera and Ballet Orchestra of Novi Sad and Belgrade. Branka has given numerous solo performances, as well as live and recorded appearances for Serbian Radio and Television. A graduate of the Academy of Music in Belgrade where she studied with Ljiljana Nestorovska and Milica Baric, Branka continued her studies with Caryl Thomas at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, graduating with distinction. Branka's own arrangements of traditional Balkan music won her the 3rd prize at the International Folk Harp Competition in Caernarfon, Wales. This led to performances at the Serbian Harp Festival in Belgrade and the European Harp Symposium in Cardiff. Due to popular demand Branka is currently arranging and promoting these enchanting and captivating melodies for the harp.


Born in Cardiff, Einion Dafydd studied music at Bangor University and Mills College (California) before becoming established as a freelance musician in north Wales.  He is currently the Senior Music Officer for the Arts Council of Wales.  As co-director of the William Mathias Schools Service Youth Jazz Band, one sees his penchant for jazz which pervades much of his music.  This is evident in works such as the big band suite Hei! Ferchetan and the cerdd dant setting Y Clwb Jazz.  He is also influenced and inspired by Welsh folk songs.  Many of his harmonic traits surface in the many arrangements for choir, traits which suggest a liking for the music of Weil and Milhaud.


Haldon Evans was formerly Lecturer in Music at Swansea College, and Head of Faculty at QEHS Carmarthen.  He is now a busy freelance composer, arranger and trumpeter in the South Wales area. A graduate of University College, Cardiff, he studied postgraduate composition with Alun Hoddinott, gaining an M.Mus. Detailed research into the compositional techniques of Béla Bartok prompted him to explore the possibilities inherent in Welsh folk music. This has remained central to his output as both composer and arranger.


Described as "The Queen of Harps", Catrin Finch has delighted audiences with her performances in the UK and worldwide. Inspired to learn the harp at the age of five,  her rise to prominence started almost immediately, achieving the highest mark in the UK for her Grade VIII exam at the age of nine. She studied with Elinor Bennett for eight years before entering the Purcell School. Catrin graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 2002 where she studied with Skaila Kanga and received the Queen's Award for the most outstanding student of  her year.

Her first major competition success came in l999, winning the Lily Laskine International Harp Competition in France, one of the premier harp competitions in the world. On winning the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in New York, Catrin went on to play in over thirty states in the USA.

Catrin is the former Royal Harpist to H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, holding the
appointment from 2000-2004: she had the honour of reviving this ancient tradition  last held in 1873. During her period as Royal Harpist she played regularly at the Royal Palaces and performed to Royalty from around the world.

She has performed extensively throughout the USA, the Middle East, Asia and Europe. She has appeared with  many of the world's top orchestras including the Boston Pops, the New York Philharmonic, the Philharmonia, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields at the Barbican's Mostly Mozart Festival, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the London Mozart Players, the  English Chamber Orchestra, the Charlotte Symphony, the Lake Charles Symphony, the North Carolina Symphony and the Manchester Camerata.

2005/ 06 highlights included her concerto debut at the Lincoln Centre for the Mostly
Mozart Festival, a recital at the Weill Recital Hall in New York, her debut at the Salzburg Festival, a performance at the MDR Musiksommer Festival in Leipzig  and an appearance at the Edinburgh International Festival.

2006/ 2007 saw a return to the Welsh Proms at Cardiff's St. David's Hall and the Spoleto festival in South Carolina, a concert tour of Japan, concerts in Istanbul and the Isle of Man, a UK tour of her big band 'CF47', performances in South America, and concerts throughout Wales and the UK.

2008 also saw the opening of  'Acapela", a converted chapel on the outskirts of Cardiff which Catrin and her husband Hywel have transformed into a recording studio and concert venue. More information may found at

2009 saw Catrin's recording of J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations released by Deutsche
Grammophon and published by ALAW, followed  by a UK concert tour of the Goldberg Variations. Her co-operation with world music performers continued  in March 2009 when she toured the UK with Cimarron from Colombia followed by a USA concert tour with the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra. 2009 also saw the opening of The 'Catrin Finch Centre' in Wrexham, a new £3m state-of-the-art conference and performance centre at Glyndwr University, named to honour Catrin's contribution to the music industry in Wales.

Catrin has appeared on all the major television and radio networks in the UK and  many abroad. Among her earliest appearances on TV were two features on the BBC's 'Blue Peter', and since then there have been many appearances on  radio and television in the UK. In 2003, Catrin presented a documentary about herself entitled 'Charlie's Angel' which was awarded a BAFTA Cymru/ Wales award for the best music programme.

She has collaborated closely with composer Karl Jenkins, including the premiere of a  new double harp concerto commissioned by H.R.H. the Prince of Wales. Catrin is currently working on new works for the harp with composers John Rutter and  Howard Goodall.

Catrin has recorded for most of the major international recording companies, including Universal Records, Deutsche Grammophon, EMI and Sony Classical, both solo and with notable artists such as Bryn Terfel, Sir James Galway and Julian Lloyd-Webber.  Her versatility in different musical genres is demonstrated in her many recordings, which range from solo classical recitals and concertos through to an eclectic cross-over mix with her own 14 piece band "CF47". She has received  honours from the University of Wales Aberystwyth and Bangor, the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and the Royal Academy of Music. She is a Visiting  Professor at the latter two musical institutions.

Known for her work within the community and with the younger generation, Catrin is
committed to promoting the harp and classical music in general to a new and wider


Gareth Glyn was born in Machynlleth in 1951, and is a music graduate of Merton College, Oxford. He began composing while still at school in Mold, Flintshire, and his works were first broadcast by the BBC while he was still at University. Gareth's compositions have been commissioned and played by eminent orchestras, including the LSO, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the North Carolina Symphony, the Strasbourg Philharmonic, the Ulster Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, I Musici de Montréal and the Royal Ballet Sinfonia. His output includes orchestral, chamber, solo instrumental and vocal works, musicals, songs and song-cycles for professionals, amateurs and children, music for brass band and large-scale works for orchestra, narrators, actors and audience-participation. His work is widely published (Spartan, Gwynn, Curiad, Adlais, Chanterelle, Alaw) and recorded (principally on ASV/Universal, Sain, Laserlight). Gareth Glyn received an Honorary Fellowship from Bangor University, and the rank of Honorary Druid in the National Eisteddfod’s Gorsedd of Bards, for his services to music in Wales, a country whose history, song tradition, language and landscape inform his work. Gareth lives in Bodffordd, Anglesey, with his wife Eleri Cwyfan; he has two grown-up sons, Peredur and Seiriol.


Gillian Green is from North Wales and was one of the first music students to enter Chetham's School of Music, Manchester and furthered her music studies at University College, Cardiff. In addition to performing, she has tutored many promising young harpists and many of her students have been awarded top prizes at national music festivals. Gill is a co-director of Telynau Morgannwg.


David Hellewell was originally a jazz musician but didn’t take up serious composition until his late twenties. As a composer he is self-taught and first made his name internationally as a composer, conductor and performer of avant-garde music in the 1970’s & 80’s. In 1969 he formed, as conductor and musical director, APOLLO CONTEMPORARY MUSIC, an ensemble of virtuoso players dedicated to the performance of new music. The ensemble gave many premiers and commissioned new works, with concerts at leading London venues and in the provinces, as well as BBC broadcasts on Radio 3’s “Music in our Time”.


Meinir Heulyn is one of Wales’ most proficient and versatile harpists and is at the forefront of the Welsh harp scene. Classically trained, she enjoyed thirty years as Principal Harpist for the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera where she performed internationally and recorded extensively.

Meinir is a highly respected and dedicated teacher and until 2011 she was Head of Harp Studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Since 2002 she has been able to develop her solo career in international festivals and music clubs, as well as representing Wales in showcase performances for the Welsh Assembly Government in New York, Dubai and Hong Kong.

Her performances display superb musicianship and her passion for traditional music: she is a prolific arranger and has published over thirty volumes of harp music, seventeen of these being volumes of Welsh traditional music. They are proving to be an invaluable addition to any harpist’s library, taking Welsh culture all over the world.


Jeffrey Howard was born in Cardiff and studied at the University of Wales College, Cardiff, and the Royal Academy of Music, London, specializing in organ performance and Church Music.  Since leaving college, Jeffrey has pursued a free-lance career as organist, pianist, singer, coach and conductor.  He has accompanied singers from several of the world’s leading opera houses, including Bryn Terfel, Sir Willard White, Jason Howard and Rebecca Evans and as a choral accompanist has worked with many mixed and male choirs, including the BBC Welsh Chorus, the Swansea Bach Choir and as arranger and tutor for the National Youth Choir of Wales. He is currently accompanist and resident arranger for two semi-professional choirs: Serendipity, a mixed choir and the young male chorus and Only Men Aloud! Jeffrey has performed in concert halls and cathedrals throughout the United Kingdom and Europe  and has worked with many orchestras including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Royal Philharmonic, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the Budapest Symphony Orchestra.


Delyth Jenkins was brought up on the border between Wales and England: her family roots firmly fixed in Montgomeryshire while living just over the border in Shropshire. She came to south Wales to go to university; she stayed, and it was there that her two daughters were born. She only took up the harp in her early twenties, but since then she has come to be regarded as “one of the leading exponents of the Celtic harp” (Dirty Linen). Delyth started her career with the Swansea-based folk group Cromlech, moving on to be one of the founding members of the pioneering instrumental trio Aberjaber, a group that cherished the traditions of Wales while moving that tradition forward in new and exciting ways She also has a well-established solo career spanning many years, and has toured extensively in many countries in Europe, America, as well as at home in Wales.


Skaila Kanga was born in India and came to live in England in 1950. She studied piano and singing from an early age at the Royal Academy of Music and at 17 years began to study the harp with Tina Bonifacio. She quickly became established in London working with all the major London orchestras under many great conductors such as Kempe, Maazel, Mehta, Monteux, Guilini, Abbado and Boulez.  Skaila is also renowned for her long extensive career in both classical and pop records, television and her amazing list of nearly 500 film soundtrack credits, including Harry Potter, Shrek and James Bond.  She has recorded numerous albums for over the years, performing with the likes of  Elton John, Paul McCartney, Sting, Robbie Williams, James Galway, Joni Mitchell, Michel Legrand, Henry Mancini, John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, Pat Metheny, Frank Sinatra, Joan Sutherland, Pavarotti, Katherine Jenkins and many more.

For 25 years Skaila was the solo harpist with the Nash Ensemble, with whom she gave over thirty premieres and toured worldwide.  She has been the Principal Harp of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields since 1971 and more recently the London Mozart Players.  Her chamber music performances and records have received much critical acclaim over the years. For over twenty years Skaila and Tommy Reilly, virtuoso harmonica player, performed and recorded many works for their unique duo.  Skaila’s solo recordings are available on the Chandos, Hyperion, Naxos and ASV labels.

In 2003, Skaila, who was Head of Harp at the Royal Academy of Music from 1999-2010, was awarded Professorship of the University of London. Skaila is regularly invited to sit on juries of international harp competitions and has given lecture-recitals and masterclasses in Russia, Europe and across America.   She was guest presenter at the World Harp Congress in Dublin in 2005, gave a masterclass at the European Harp Symposium in Lyon and has twice been a guest lecturer at the American Harp Society’s Annual Conference and featured concert artist at the USA International Harp Competition.  She gave a masterclass at the European Harp Symposium in Cardiff in July 2007, another at the Camac showrooms in May 2007 and has taught regularly as a guest professor at the Paris Conservatoire and the Amsterdam Conservatory since 2008 . In 2006 she co-founded the renowned summer International Harp Academy ‘HarpMasters’ with Milda Agazarian.Having completed its 6th year, it has become one of the most sought after harp courses, inviting a wide array of harp celebrities to give recitals, workshops and lectures. Skaila was appointed the distinguished title of Professor Emerita of Harp at the Royal Academy of Music in 2010.

Skaila has received numerous awards for her contribution to the promotion of the harp, worldwide. Parallel to her performing and teaching career, Skaila is a prolific composer and arranger. She has, so far published 18 books of harp music of all levels from beginners to advanced works many of which are on the ABRSM exam syllabus and performed worldwide. She has collaborated with a generation of composers in their harp works and has commissioned over 19 new works for her students and for the Academy Harp Ensemble which she founded in 1993.

Skaila works closely as Harp Consultant to the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, having recently worked on a new exam syllabus, producing a new sight- reading book and a highly successful series of children’s books. Her latest composition is ‘Towards the Light’, a collection of three concert pieces for solo harp. Her highly popular arrangement of Ravel’s Sonatine for flute, viola and harp is due for publication in 2011.

Skaila is always in constant demand for concerts and recordings for films, albums and television. She recently performed in the 25th Anniversary concert of Les Miserables at the 02 Arena, Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary concert at the Royal Albert hall , is a regular member in the BBC TV Songs of Praise Orchestra, Children in Need’s Charity Gala for BBC TV and is now performing in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new Production of Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium.  Skaila was featured soloist in the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong’s opening concert of the season ‘Harp Extravaganza’ in Bach’s concerto for 4 harps BWV 1065.  In 2011 she gave masterclasses in Amsterdam, Hong Kong, London and Switzerland. Skaila’s articles have appeared in the Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine, WHC’s Review, American Harp Society Journal, Harp Column, Harp Today and the UK Harp Association magazine. Skaila was honoured to be featured in the Musicians’ Union magazine’s ‘Hall of Fame’ article in March 2010.


Trombonist Achilles Liarmakopoulos is a prize winner of the II Christian Lindberg International Solo Competition held in Valencia, Spain, in April 2008. He has won numerous other competitions and awards including the International Trombone Festivals’ Robert Marsteller/Conn-Selmer, Solo, and Larry Wiehe competitions, as well as the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Concerto Competition.  In 2004, at the age of 19, he performed as a soloist at the Walt Disney Hall as the Grand Prize Winner of the Pasadena Showcase House Instrumental Competition, judged by members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. A native of Athens, Greece, Mr. Liarmakopoulos has performed internationally with orchestras such as the San Francisco Marin Symphony, Santa Cruz County Symphony, San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, Athens Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the European Union Youth Orchestra. In 2005 he was a member of the American Institute of Musical Studies Festival Orchestra in Graz, Austria. Founder of the harp-trombone duet “hArT”, he has performed in prestigious venues in US and Europe. Achilles Liarmakopoulos is a strong supporter of new music and new works for trombone and has premiered many pieces from new composers who have written specifically for him. As soloist he is dedicated to an expanding, attractive repertoire of new pieces and important works revived from archive as well as standard repertoire.


Alison Martin began playing the harp at Malvern Girls' College, and later studied both piano accompaniment and harp. She has been principal harp with the orchestra of English National Opera since 1984, and guest principal at Sydney Opera House as well as most London orchestras. She began arranging while she was a student playing background music (to entertain herself as much as anyone else) with repertoire ranging from Stevie Wonder to Mozart.


Coline-Marie Orliac, from France, is a prize winner in several international harp competitions including the bronze medal and the Mario Falcao prize in the 7th USA International Harp Competition (2007), the International Harp Competition of the Cité des Arts of Paris, the Vera Dulova Harp Competition (Moscow), and the 2005 UFAM International Harp Competition (France). As a member of the Dolce Suono Chamber Society she performs with musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra and with trombonist Achilles Liarmakopoulos she formed the duo “hArT”, which regularly performs throughout Europe and USA. In 2006 Ms. Orliac was invited by Claudio Abbado to tour Europe with the Gustav Mahler Jugend Orchester. She has also performed with the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Nice, and at the Spivakov Festival in Moscow. In July 2009 she will be a harpist of the Berlin Philarmonic Orchestra, under the baton of Simon Rattle, at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, France. Ms. Orliac entered The Curtis Institute of Music in 2006 and prior to this she studied at the Nice Conservatoire, receiving two diplomas of musical studies and first prizes in harp and piano. She has also studied with Judith Liber, former principal harp of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra; Isabelle Moretti from the Paris Conservatoire; Marie-Pierre Langlamet, principal harp of the Berlin Philharmonic; and Elisabeth Fontan-Binoche. After her first recital at the age of seventeen, Isabelle Perrin studied for three years at the Juilliard School of New York before joining the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. Since 1990, she has been co-principal harpist with the Orchestre National de France.


An international soloist, Isabelle Perrin has given many concerts and master-classes throughout Europe, Russia, USA, South America, Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Australia, and Africa. She has recorded a number of CDs, including one highlighting the works of Bernard Andrès and original works by Arnold Bax for flute, viola and harp. She has performed a world premiere recording on a single action harp of F.A. Boieldieu’s works, including the Sonata and the famous Concerto in C Major as well as one of Pierick Houdy’s pieces for harp and miscellaneous instruments, among them the “Concerto Français” which he dedicated to her. She has recently recorded a Super Audio CD of favourite repertoire pieces, a recital of the most famous French impressionist works for harp and quite recently a second Bernard Andrès CD with Mexican harpist Baltazar Juarez. Isabelle Perrin teaches at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris and has been appointed Visiting Professor to The Royal Academy of Music in London. As its president and artistic director, Isabelle Perrin organized the 6th European Harp Symposium, which took place in Lyon, France and is vice president of the World Harp Congress. Isabelle Perrin has also been knighted in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in recognition of her involvement in the international musical world.


A director of Alaw, Brian Raby studied with Denis Wick, was principal trombone with the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera for over twenty years and was Musical Director of the Welsh Brass Consort. From 1994 until 2006 he was a member of the trombone section of the world-class London Philharmonic Orchestra, playing on countless recordings and films, including The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He left the LPO in 2006 to concentrate on freelancing, teaching, writing and music publishing.

As a freelancer Brian has worked extensively with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, playing the bass trumpet in numerous cycles of Wagner’s Ring as well as other operas. He has held teaching posts at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Royal College of Music, University College Cardiff and The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Brian has coached at numerous youth orchestra courses, including the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and the National Youth Orchestra of Wales. He is a prolific arranger for brass and his work has received the highest critical acclaim.


Ailie Robertson is one of Scotland's leading harpists. A five-time National Mod Gold Medalist and a BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2008 finalist, Ailie also won first prize at the inaugural London Harp Competition, was judged best overall musician at the Edinburgh Competition Festival and won the St Albans New Roots award. She has represented Commun na Clarsach for Scotland at the Pan Celtic Festival in Ireland and played at two World Harp Congresses. With a scholarship from the English Speaking Union in recognition of her 'virtuosic harp playing', she gained a 1st-class MA in Irish Music Performance course from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance. An experienced teacher, she is committed to promoting Scottish music and culture across the world.


Caryl Roese studied at the Royal Academy of Music, London and at the University of Wales, Cardiff, where she gained a M.Ed. Degree. With much world-wide travel and teaching experience, Mrs. Roese was the head of music at University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC), UK, where she specialised in training students to become music teachers in both Primary and Secondary schools. Caryl's main concern has always been to broaden children’s musical minds at an early age and to give every child the opportunity of making music with as much fun as possible.


Gwen Màiri Sinclair grew up in St. Andrews where she started clàrsach lessons in school with Janet Annand.  Having taken up pedal harp she moved to Glasgow in 1999 to study at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama with Karen Vaughan (co-principal harp, LSO) and also had clàrsach lessons with Karen Marshalsay. Since graduating with a BA (hons) and PGDipMus (performance), Gwen has been enjoying a busy and varied freelance career playing with professional orchestras as well as with artists such as Katherine Jenkins and Kanye West. She also spent a summer as resident harpist and teacher at the Tamnak Prathom Harp Centre, Bangkok and continues to have many pupils back home in Glasgow.


Jane Stewart (now Jane Fielding) studied music at Birmingham University, England, and since graduating has taught and composed extensively. Her experience teaching pupils of all ages has made her very aware of the problems they face when first learning an instrument. Jane has worked with small instrumental groups where she has encountered first hand the challenge of ensemble playing - quite a different matter from playing the parts on their own! As an accompanist Jane understands the problems involved in playing all orchestral and band instruments and has witnessed her own son learning to play the trumpet! While she was aware of the early technical difficulties, she soon discovered a disappointing shortage of fun ensemble music for the beginner. Her compositions and arrangements are written to encourage learners to play and listen at the same time.


Robert Swain was born in Cardiff in 1947. He studied composition with Alun Hoddinott and analysis of 20th century music with Arnold Whittall at University College of Wales, Cardiff. He has held a number of teaching and lecturing posts during his career and was appointed HM Inspector for Education and Training (Wales) in 1989. Although most of his professional life has been involved with music in education, he has always been active as an experienced and talented composer, arranger and performer. Commissions received over the last three decades include a BBC European Music Year Commission, performed at the BBC Wales St.David's Festival, the Swansea Festival, the Vale of Glamorgan Festival as well as at most London Venues. Artists performing his works include the Dartington and Endellion String Quartets, The Fires of London (under Peter Maxwell Davies), the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra, the London 20th Century Ensemble and the Welsh Brass Consort. Almost all the world premieres were broadcast by BBC Radio 3.


Katey Thomas is a freelance flautist. She was a member of the D’Oyly Carte and Birmingham Royal Ballet companies and has played regularly with many British orchestras She was a member of Garsington Opera and Glyndebourne on Tour. Katey Thomas and Meinir Heulyn formed the flute and harp duo Cameo Music after a long mutual association with Welsh National Opera. They continue to enjoy arranging and performing together and have published several albums for this classic combination.


Katherine Thomas is a harpist who has performed with artists ranging from Bryn Terfel and Rolando Villazon to Katherine Jenkins and the Manic Street Preachers. She has toured extensively as a soloist and with orchestras such as the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera where she holds the post of Principal Harp. She has worked closely with many of the world's finest conductors including Sakari Oramo and Sir Simon Rattle.

A graduate of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Katherine plays the traditional Celtic and triple harps as well as the pedal harp. Her recordings range from classical music and traditional Welsh music to contemporary recordings, with recent projects including new releases by Sheku Kanneh-Mason and The Four Seasons re-imagined with the CBSO.

As a chamber musician, Katherine is a member of the Enigma Duo with violinist Laurence Kempton. Replacing the harpsichord and used as a continuo instrument in works such as sonatas by Handel and Corelli, the harp then becomes an entire orchestra as in their version of Bartok's Romanian Folk Dances and Danse Macabre by Saint-Saëns. Striving to expand the repertoire for their combination, the duo compose and commission new works, challenge the boundaries of the harp’s capabilities - no more so than in the Cesar Franck violin sonata.

As a former student of Meinir Heulyn (who is Co-Director of Alaw), it was always inevitable that Katherine would be drawn into the world of teaching and arranging. Working with Alaw, Katherine has compiled and edited the by now world-renowned four volumes of Scales and Arpeggios for harp students preparing for the Asscociated Board of the Royal Schools of Music examinations.


Kari Vehmanen was born in 1967 in Helsinki, Finland: he is a bassoonist, music copyist, arranger and amateur harpist. He first played piano and recorder and began to study bassoon at the age of fifteen in the Helsinki Conservatory, later studying at the Sibelius Academy. As a freelance musician, he has played with all the major Finnish symphony orchestras, including the Helsinki Philharmonic  and Finnish National Opera in particular. Vehmanen has arranged many styles of music, from ‘classical’ to modern rock, his largest undertaking to date being Berg's "Lulu Suite" for concert band; his Piazzolla arrangement – “Histoire du Tango” for flute and harp was published 2005. He began to play harp as a pedagogical student at the Sibelius Academy in 1998 under the tutelage of Laura Hynninen, the principal harp of Finnish National Opera. He also collects books on music copying, orchestration and instrumentation, and enjoys reading Shakespeare.


Arne Werkman was born in 1960 in The Hague, Netherlands and grew up in Geneva, Switzerland. He had his  musical  training at the Conservatoire de Genève and read musicology at the Université de Genève. He graduated on “Music in Commercial Advertising” (La musique dans la publicité), further developing his compositional skills with the late Tristan Keuris at the Utrecht Conservatory, Netherlands (1991-1993). His compositions have been written for and performed by many outstanding Dutch musicians such as the violist Emmy Verhey, bassist Quirijn van Regteren Altena & pianist Beijersbergen van Henegouwen, oboist Pauline Oostenrijk and harpist Manja Smits. In 1992 he took the initiative of composing music for the opening ceremony of parliament by H.M. Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands.