Ann Williams, Seimon Menai, Robin Zebaida and Gillian Williams
Soprano, Baritone and Piano Duo
26th September 2015
Gillian Williams studied piano and violin at the Royal College of Music, where she graduated with honours in 1985. Her subsequent career has proved varied and wide-ranging, combining performing engagements as both soloist and member of the Philharmonia of North Wales with teaching skills, including choral and orchestral directing as well as adjudicating at local and national level.
Her involvement with Parish and Diocesan Liturgy resulted in an increased emphasis on organ skills and in 1996 she gained the Diploma of Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, being awarded both Harding and Durrant prizes for highest marks. She has since played for master classes in Paris and King's College, Cambridge, and her performances have been broadcast on both radio and television.
She has travelled widely with her work, giving performances not only within Europe but also as far afield as South America where she gave a series of duo recitals with Robin Zebaida in 2004.
Gillian has examined for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music since 1998, and as a member of the Diploma Panel since 2003. She was appointed Trainer in 2005 and apart from tours to Italy, Portugal, Turkey, Serbia and Greece, her examining has included visits to the Far East where she has acted as coordinator for tours to Hong Kong and Malaysia. She has also examined in Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, ]apan, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, USA, Bermuda, ]amaica and Mexico, and as a member of the Presenter Panel has given numerous master classes and seminars in support of the Board's work.
Born in the village of Llithfaen on the Llyn Peninsula, Ann Williams comes from a very musical family and from a young age she sang with her parents and twin brother Dafydd in concerts and musical evenings, and later in Eisteddfodau and classical concerts. Over the years she has had vocal tuition with ]oan Carlyle, Gwyneth Sol Owen and Sian Gibson.
She has enjoyed considerable success at Eisteddfodau, winning the second prize at the Urdd National Eisteddfod in Bethesda in 1986 as well as the soprano solo competition under 25 at Fishguard in the same year. She also won second prize in the open soprano competition at the Royal National Eisteddfod in Llanrwst in 1989 and in Bala in 1997.
An inaugural member of Cor Godre'r Eiﬂ, she sang with the choir for 35 years, during which time the choir won several times at the National Eisteddfod, as well as at the Sligo Choral Festival in Ireland. The choir also represented Wales at the Pan Celtic Festival in Lorient, Brittany. Ann currently sings with St. ]oseph's Schola with whom she had the privilege of singing as soloist in Lourdes where the services were broadcast on S4C. She also sings as soloist for the Dyffryn Peris Choir, with whom she went on tour to Malaga in Spain.
Recently she has sung regularly as a duo with Seimon Menai who joins her for tonight's concert.
Singing has been a part of Seimon's life from a young age. He's no stranger to the local stage and was encouraged by positive responses to his performances to develop his vocal ability and consequently has received tuition by tenor Rhys Meirion through the William Mathaias Music Centre. Seimon has a varied repertoire, which is continuously expanding. He joined forces with Ann Williams for a charity concert over seven years ago and both have entertained audiences throughout North Wales ever since. Seimon is a member of St ]oseph's Schola, having received much valued tuition from its conductor Gillian Williams who accompanies him for tonight's concert.
Described after a Liszt recital as 'a Pianist of Herculean stamina’, ‘ ROBIN ZEBAIDA enjoys a performing career that has frequently . taken him around the world. Highlights of recent seasons have included visits to USA, Canada — where he collaborated with the A OrchesU'e Metropolitain under Yannick Nézet-Séguin — Central America, Europe, the Far East and Australia, where his Sydney recital was reported as achieving ‘a warmth and empathy with the audience rarely seen’. At home in London he has performed at several venues including St. ]ohn's Smith Square and the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Away from the concert platform, Robin Zebaida's broadcasting experience includes studio recordings and live appearances on radio and television for several national and foreign networks. As a Steinway artist he was specially chosen to demonstrate the qualities of the ‘Rolls Royce of the piano world’ in an interview for the BBC World Service to mark the publication of a new history of § Steinway pianos. Robin Zebaida was born and educated in London, later winning an exhibition to read music at New College, Oxford, from where he graduated with maximum distinction in l performance. He completed his formal studies with a postgraduate year at the Royal College of Music.