Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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GRIFFITHS , WILLIAM ( Ifander , 1830 - 1910 ), choral conductor and adjudicator ;

b. at Aberavon, Glam. , in 1830 , son of Manuel Griffiths . When he was 20 years of age he moved to the Swansea valley to work in the tin-plate industry and, having settled at Pontardawe , soon achieved a reputation in his new home as a teacher of music and a choral conductor . His principal achievement in the world of song was, perhaps, his success in founding ‘ The Temperance Choral Union of the Swansea Valley ’ in 1861 — a choral society which became celebrated throughout South Wales because of its magnificent contribution to the development of choral and congregational singing in the sixties. He was the first in West Wales to give a performance of Handel 's ‘ Messiah ’ with an orchestral accompaniment. This was at Ystalyfera and Swansea in 1862 . The following year the society gave three performances of Tanymarian 's ‘ Ystorm Tiberias .’ In the years which followed, Ifander strove hard to improve Glamorgan singing, in eisteddfod, concert, and choral festival, and he became one of the most popular adjudicators of his time. He composed various anthems and airs , and a cantata composed by him, based on Ceiriog 's ‘ Gwarchae Harlech ,’ was sung by his choir early in 1864 . In 1869 he left Wales to take over the supervision of tinplate works at Workington . There, too, he made a notable contribution to the art of choral singing, and more especially to Welsh singing, by arranging eisteddfodau and conducting music festivals in the last years of the century. He d. at Workington in 1910 .

Sources:

  • ‘Recollections’ in Y Cerddor , 1902-3 .

Author:

David Hughes Lewis, Llanelli / Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959