Catrin Finch biography

Catrin Finch

Last updated: 05 November 2009

Born in Llanon, Ceredigion in 1980, Catrin Finch was immersed in music, and especially the harp, from a very early age.

At the age of five, she was taken to Lampeter Music Club to watch a harp recital, enthusing her with a passion for the traditional Welsh instrument.

My aim is to popularise the harp as an instrument. It is quite unknown really.

Catrin Finch

For her sixth birthday, she was given a celtic harp and the following year she was taken on by leading Welsh harpist and tutor Elinor Bennett, who would be her mentor until the age of 16.

Finch joined the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain aged 10, becoming the youngest member of the orchestra to play at a BBC Prom at the Royal Albert Hall.

She won first prize in the junior section of the World Harp Festival in 1991, and in 1994, aged just 14, achieved second place in the adult section of the same competition.

In 1996 Finch started studying with Skaila Kanga, first at the Purcell School then at the Royal Academy of Music from 1998. It was at the academy that she got aq call from Buckingham Palace, inviting her to fill a long-dormant position, not filled since 1873: that of Royal Harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales.

After seeing Finch play at his 50th birthday celebrations, Prince Charles had described her as "a credit to Wales". She had no hesitation in accepting the invitation to perform at both public and private events in Buckingham Palace, Windsor, Highgrove House and St James' Palace.

Finch had to give up the position in 2005 when she passed the maximum age of 25, but by this time she had risen far in the public eye. Her concert performances span the globe, appearing with many of the world's major orchestras.

In 2009 her recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations, originally written for keyboard, was issued by Deutsche Grammophon.

She has also appeared frequently on radio and television, including presenting a documentary about herself, Charlie's Angel, which received a BAFTA Cymru/Wales award for the best music programme.

Her collaborations with fellow Welsh composer Karl Jenkins have been fruitful, with releases on Sony Classical in 2003. She followed that with a Classical Brit Award nomination in 2004.

Finch has also formed a big band, CF47, with which she has toured the UK and with her husband has set up Acapela, a recording studio and concert venue in a converted chapel in Cardiff.

In 2009 the Catrin Finch Centre, a state-of-the-art conference and performance centre, opened at Glyndwr University in Wrexham, honouring Catrin's contribution to the music industry in Wales.


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