The astounding response to Cantata Memoria; a tribute to Aberfan


The premiere of the latest work by composer Sir Karl Jenkins and poet Mererid Hopwwod to mark 50 years since the Aberfan disaster, Cantata Memoria: For the children, has received a phenomenal response.

The new choral work was performed to a sold-out audience at Wales Millennium Centre on Saturday, 8 October. Among the audience were family members of the victims who lost their lives in the disaster on 21 October 1966.

The response to the concert has astounded S4C's Chief Executive, Ian Jones, after its broadcast on S4C the following night.

Ian Jones says; "I have been astounded by the response we've received. The composer, the writer and the performers have been universally praised, and people have been moved to pay their own tributes to the community of Aberfan.

"The journey to bringing Cantata Memoria to life, from that very first conversation with Sir Karl Jenkins right up to the outstanding performance at the Wales Millennium Centre, is an experience I will never forget. Together, Sir Karl Jenkins and Mererid Hopwood have created a precious and lasting tribute to the strength of the people of Aberfan, and I'm extremely proud of the key role that S4C, as commissioners of the work, played in creating a work of such national importance."

The exceptional performance of Cantata Memoria will be shown again on S4C on Thursday 20 October at 9.30 – on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the disaster.

This unique broadcast is available for viewers around the world on S4C's international online service,, along with the documentary detailing the emotional journey of its creation in the programme Aberfan: Stori'r Cantata Memoria.

The piece was performed by some leading Welsh classical stars, including bass-baritone Bryn Terfel, soprano Elin Manahan Thomas, harpist Catrin Finch, euphonium soloist David Childs, violinist, Joo Yeon Sir, the Sinfonia Cymru orchestra, a mixed choir and a choir of young voices.

The work is released as an album by Deutsche Grammophon. The Aberfan concert was a co-production between Wales Millennium Centre and MR PRODUCER on behalf of The Aberfan Memorial Charity and produced for television by Rondo Media for broadcast on S4C.

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