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Rhian Samuel (b.1944)
Rhian Samuel was born in Aberdare in 1944 and was educated in Britain and the United States. Her orchestral works span from Elegy-Symphony (St Louis Symphony Orchestra, conductor Leonard Slatkin, 1981) and La belle dame sans merci for chorus and orchestra (co-winner of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers’ Rudolph Nissim Award, 1983) to Dawnsiau’r Nant (Dances of the Stream) for the Welsh Proms, Cardiff, 1999, Tirluniau (Landscapes) for the BBC Proms, London, 2000 (BBC National Orchestra of Wales), and Lights in the City, written for her students at City University and premiered in 2010. Much of her vocal music is concerned with women ‘speaking for themselves’; it ranges from Clytemnestra for soprano and orchestra, premiered by Della Jones and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in 1994, to Cerddi Hynafol, settings of early Welsh women’s poetry, for the Fishguard Festival, 2001. She has collaborated extensively with the Anglo-American poet Anne Stevenson in works such as Daughters’ Letters, premiered in 1997 by Valdine Anderson with Sinfonia 21, conducted by Martyn Brabbins, and Nantcol Songs, 2003, for Gillian Keith, soprano, and Simon Lepper, piano, a work about Snowdonian landscapes. In March 2006 The Flowing Sand, a song-cycle to poems by Samuel Beckett, was premiered at the Beckett/Proust/Deleuze conference held at the School of European Studies, Cardiff.