Benjamin Creighton Griffiths
1er Concours International de Harpe Jakez François
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In early 2004 Benjamin was invited, by Camac, to enter the 1st International Lever Harp Competition. Benjamin entered the "Espoir" category, open to Harpist 18 years old and younger. The other category "Soloist" being open to those 33 and under). Benjamin prepared very hard for the competition and was placed second. This is some achievement considering it took place two weeks before his eighth birthday. The Soloist Category was won by Catriona McKay (Scotland).

Photo: The Finalists
Benjamin (2 place) - Front and centre, also seen from left to right - Elisabeth Simon (3 place) Jakez François and Louis Salkin (1 place)
This is how Jakez François described the ethos of this new competition, which bears his name: “I wanted this first international competition to discover and reward young harpists who, by their dedication and their talent, will demonstrate that the Celtic (lever) harp is in itself a valid instrument, going beyond the folk image in which it is too often portrayed.”
AND ... from a review of the Competition by Armel Morgant (see below for translation)

"Chaque concours apporte son lot de surprises. Celui-ci n’a pas dérogé à la règle. Assurement, la plus grande surprise, et la vraie révélation, vint dans la catégorie espoir, en la personne de Benjamin Creighton Griffiths; un gamin gallois d’à peine huit ans, qui a tout de l’enfant prodige, aussi à l’aise dans l’interpretation d’un classique comme Greensleeves que dans celle du concerto de Haendel. Plus d’un auditeur lui accordait la première place dans sa catégorie, tant son approche musicale et la maturité de son jeu impresionaient. Mais nul doute que l’on aura l’occasion d’entendre à nouveau en Bretagne un jour prochain ce petit virtuose dont la notorieté est déjà bien établie en son pays (cf son site internet). Il n’eut donc que la deuxième place, devant Elisabeth Simon et derrière Louis Salkin, Quimperois élève de D4 July, 2013extNORMAL">Armel Morgant
writing in in “Musique Bretonne” and reprinted by kind permission in the Bulletin of the Association International des Harpistes et Amis de la Harpe (Winter 2004).


"Every competition has its quota of surprises. This one was no different. Assuredly, the biggest surprise, and the real revelation, came in the ‘espoir’ category, in the person of Benjamin Creighton Griffiths; a small Welsh boy, scarcely eight years old, a child virtuoso, equally at ease in a classic like Greensleeves and in the Handel concerto. More than one listener would have awarded him the first prize in his section, so impressive were his musical approach and the maturity of his playing. It is certain that it will not be long before we in Brittany will listen again to this young virtuoso - already well known in his own country (see his Internet site). So it was that he was placed second, before Elisabeth Simon and after Louis Salkin, who comes from Quimper, and who is a pupil of Dominig Bouchaud."

Translated by Ann Griffiths


1st Stage
Initial selection based on registration details, to include an audio recording

2nd Stage: Friday May 21st 2004, Nantes, France
Total duration of performance : Maximum 15 minutes on stage.
Programme as follows:
mandatory: "2nd Mazurka" by F. Chopin in Pièces Classiques vol. 5, Editions Billaudot
free programme, including a piece of contemporary aesthetic as well as a piece of traditional folk music.

Final stage: Sunday May 23rd 2004, Nantes, France
Total duration of performance : Maximum 25 minutes on stage.
Programme as follows:
Mandatory: "New Blues" by Deborah Henson Conant, Editions Golden Cage Music
Free programme.

The Judging Panel

Dominig Bouchaud – chairman / président (F)
Elinor Bennett (Wales)
Maïté Etcheverry (F)
Janet Harbison (IRL)
Isabelle Moretti (F)
Mary Radspinner (USA)
Kora Wuthier (CH)

Updated 4 July, 2013
Copyright ©2007-2017 Benjamin Creighton Griffiths