Welsh harpist Elfair Grug Dyer has recently returned to the UK after living in Bangkok, Thailand for two years working as harp teacher and harpist in residence at the Tamnak Prathom Harp Centre. The Harp Centre is supported by the Thai Royal Family and twinned with the William Mathias Music Centre in Caernarfon. During her time in Thailand, Elfair provided music at top Bangkok hotels such as the renowned Mandarin Oriental Hotel, and prepared students to perform and compete at International Harp Festivals and competitions in Asia.
Elfair completed her Master’s degree at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, after gaining her BMus degree at the conservatoire with first class honours in 2011 as an ABRSM Scholar. In August 2011 Elfair was awarded a Macklin Bursary from the ABRSM to assist outstanding ABRSM Scholars to launch their professional careers. In June 2012 and 2013 Elfair performed a full-length solo recital at the RNCM’s Gold Medal Weekend as one of the 12 outstanding RNCM student soloists which were all considered for the RNCM’s Gold Medal, the highest award the college gives for performance. She has been playing the harp since the age of eight and holds two ABRSM diplomas: DipABRSM and LRSM. As part of her MMus course Elfair was accepted for the professional experience scheme with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in Media City where she gained experience working with a professional orchestra. Elfair is very grateful for the support of the RNCM, Musician’s Benevolent Fund, the Arts Council of Wales, the James Pantyfedwen Foundation and the Elizabeth Evans Trust during her studies.
Born in Mynytho in the heart of the Llŷn Peninsula, situated not far from Abersoch, Elfair has enjoyed many successes at the Welsh Eisteddfodau and festivals including the Instrumental Solo Competition for the under 30 age group at the International Llangollen Musical Festival, winning the title ‘Main Instrumentalist of 2008′. Most recently she won the first prize at the Gŵyl Cerdd Dant Fesitval for Harp Solo in November 2012 and second prize in the senior harp competition at Pencerdd Gwalia Festival 2013 to remember the centenary of Welsh harpist John Thomas. During Summer 2013 Elfair won the Nansi Richards Scholarship for harpists and the Blue Ribbon Open Instrumental Competition – the Peggy and Maldwyn Hughes Scholarship at the National Eisteddfod of Wales.
Elfair studied with Eira Lynn Jones at the RNCM, and is a former pupil of Elinor Bennett at the William Mathias Music Centre at Galeri, Caernarfon. She was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain for three years, and played in venues such as the Royal Albert Hall during the Proms season. In 2008 she was one of 60 harpists playing at the Royal Opera House when Prince Charles celebrated his 60th birthday. Elfair had the great honour during the summer of 2009 of being invited to perform as a soloist in the ABRSM 120th Anniversary Concert at Cadogan Hall, London. In December 2010, Elfair was chosen to take part in a series called ‘Cyfle Cothi’ on BBC Radio Cymru; which involved lessons with Catrin Finch and playing with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in their Christmas Concert at St.David’s Hall, Cardiff. As well as playing with Manchester Camerata during July 2011, Elfair also went on tour around the UK to promote her first CD with the harp quartet CLOUDS whom in December 2011, performed twice at the Bridgewater Hall.
Elfair has embarked on a professional career as a harpist; as well as solo recitals around the country, the year 2012 included three concerto performances; Debussy Danses with String Orchestra at the RNCM Chamber Music Festival, William Mathias’ Harp Concerto with New Sinfonia and Mozart’s Flute and Harp Concerto with Liverpool Mozart Orchestra. During Summer 2013 after finishing her MMus course, Elfair was accepted on to the Live Music Now scheme and performs regularly around the North West of England and Wales. During 2013 she also toured extensively around the UK to promote her second CD with the harp quartet CLOUDS. A highlight for Elfair during 2014, following an audition, was to give a lunchtime recital at the Bridgewater Hall as part of The Manchester Mid-days Concert Society’s prestigious concert series.