Skip to main content


Sir Bryn Terfel teams up with RWCMD to support future young artists and create new song prize

On Saturday 25th February Sir Bryn Terfel CBE, one of the world’s greatest singers, announced a new foundation with the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, Wales’ national conservatoire.

Share post


Development, Music

Date published

Published on 26/02/2023

Cronfa Syr Bryn Terfel

First published: 27/02/2023

On Saturday 25th February Sir Bryn Terfel CBE, one of the world’s greatest singers, announced a new foundation with the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, Wales’ national conservatoire.

Sharing a determination to amplify the importance of the arts in our society and to champion future generations of creators and performers, RWCMD and its Vice President Sir Bryn have launched Cronfa Syr Bryn Terfel* to build a significant new source of support for talented young artists training at the College.

Bryn’s life was transformed through singing and the particular opportunities he received from a young age. Cronfa Syr Bryn Terfel will be a new foundation, developed with RWCMD, providing similar opportunities with a focus on scholarships and bursaries for students who might otherwise be unable to benefit from its advanced training because of financial barriers.

It will also fund projects that celebrate Bryn’s musical heritage and reflect his passion for the Welsh language and Welsh culture, starting in 2024 with a new international biennial song prize. Celebrating the rich diversity in individual cultures and the potential of powerful expression through different languages, competitors will be required to include at least one song in Welsh and one in their own language in their programmes. It will be open to singers from the College but also from other UK conservatoires and international Colleges and the winner will receive a £5,000 prize.

'At the start of their careers young artists dream of achieving great things, just as young sports men and women do.

But with funding for arts education and the arts in general constantly squeezed and under pressure, it’s becoming more and more difficult for our next generations – particularly those who don’t start with financial advantage – to come through as I was able to do.'
Sir Bryn Terfel CBE

'It now matters deeply to me to get behind them and to establish a permanent foundation here at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama. This is Cronfa, and my wife Hannah and I are working closely with the leadership and development teams at the College to find and inspire the first philanthropists and donors who will join us on this exciting journey to build a new and lasting fund and to create the opportunities and support that are so desperately needed.’

This is part of a bigger scholarship story for RWCMD, giving opportunities to deepen representation and inclusion in the creative industries. For example, in 2021 RWCMD announced a sector-leading bursary programme, awarding bursaries of up to £1200 to all its new UK undergraduate students with a household income of below £30k per annum, further helping its students in financial need.

‘We are thrilled and honoured that Bryn is aligning himself so closely with the Royal Welsh College and all that we are trying to achieve here. Together we are going to work to build  Cronfa Syr Bryn Terfel into a powerful new fund – one that will help us to bring a wider diversity of talented young artists, including more students from Wales, to our advanced training and then offer them some extraordinary opportunities while they are training with us.

'In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and amidst huge financial pressures, life in the arts is not an easy choice to make, so we need to make sure that future generations of young people feel they can join us to break new ground, create outstanding work and feed into the industry to make positive change.

Our partnership with Bryn, Cronfa Syr Bryn Terfel and those special people who support it, will help us to do this.'
Helena Gaunt and Tim Rhys-EvansPrincipal and Director of Music, RWCMD

Cronfa Syr Bryn Terfel was launched at the Canu’r Dydd/ Sing the Day fund-raising event, hosted by Bryn with special guests, at the Royal Welsh College ahead of the Wales vs England Six Nations rugby tournament game.

The lunchtime entertainment included first year undergraduate students from every music department performing and singing with Bryn as part of RWCMD’s Integrated Musician module, which celebrates the embodiment of music. It also included music by Welsh traditional musician, composer and arranger Patrick Rimes and a specially commissioned poem by Welsh poet Mererid Hopwood.

An RWCMD jazz group brought a swing vibe to a Tom Jones classic and a quartet of students from the Musical Theatre MA performed The Impossible Dream. It ended with a medley of Welsh music, hymns and arias, arranged for solo baritone and chorus. Song sheets were available for guests to sing along, led by Sir Bryn himself.

*Cronfa is the Welsh word for fund.

Editors notes

New Welsh music module: As the national conservatoire of Wales, the College is increasingly aware of its need to connect with the whole breadth of Welsh musical heritage. In the new Welsh music module musicians will work with contemporary and Welsh traditional musicians in new and interesting ways.

Sir Bryn Terfel, RWCMD Fellow and Vice President, and one of the Circle of Presidents of the David Seligman Opera School Welsh bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel has established an extraordinary career, performing regularly on the prestigious concert stages and opera houses of the World, including the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; the Metropolitan Opera, New York; Opéra National de Paris; Teatro Alla Scala and Zürich Opera. 

Roles for which he is most noted include Falstaff, Dulcamara, Wotan and Holländer. Recent additions to his repertoire include Reb Tevye, Boris Godunov, Sweeney Todd and Don Pasquale. A Grammy, Classical Brit and Gramophone Award winner, Sir Bryn was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for his services to Opera in 2003, was awarded the Queen’s Medal for Music in 2006 and received a knighthood for his service to music in 2017. 

He was the last recipient of the Shakespeare Prize by the Alfred Toepfer Foundation and in 2015; he was given The Freedom of the City of London.

Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama attracts the best creative talent from across the globe. As Wales’ national conservatoire, we fire imagination and drive innovation, offering training to almost 1000 actors, musicians, designers, technicians and arts managers from more than 40 countries. Our students’ extraordinary talent and potential is fused with exceptional teaching and unrivalled industry links, to bring dreams to life. A space for everyone, creative ambition and collaboration are central to our excellence.

We nurture our future professionals so they push new boundaries and make their mark in the creative industries, aspiring to brilliant careers.

The College is the first UK conservatoire to achieve a gold standard level of quality assurance across Music, Drama and Under 18s in the recent international Musique, Music Quality Enhancement review. Reviewers were particularly impressed with the College’s approach to the individual student experience, multidisciplinary collaboration, and overall ambition, citing RWCMD as a shining example of best practise across European conservatoires, and reflecting the College’s exceptional people and unique community.

Other news posts