Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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ROBERTS , OWEN OWENS ( 1847 - 1926 ), schoolmaster and choral conductor ;

b. [ 27 Jan. 1847 ] at Talsarnau, Mer. He inherited his musical ability from his father, Owen Roberts , who was one of the founders of the Harlech castle music festival . The son was appointed headmaster of the elementary school , Dolgelley , in 1872 , and founded the Idris choral society the same year. At the same time he was one of the principal founders of the Merioneth eisteddfod , of which he remained the secretary for many years. He rendered yeoman service as conductor of the Idris choral society from 1872 to 1926 ; indeed, it was a remarkable feat to have kept together a choir of this description for so long a period and to have succeeded in producing a classical oratorio each year without a break. It was not, therefore, surprising that the University of Wales conferred on him, in 1926 , the degree of M.Mus., honoris causa . Another institution to which he devoted a great deal of attention was the Harlech castle music festival , of which he was secretary for many years. He was privileged to conduct at its concerts on more than one occasion. He did not approve of competitions, and all his life consistently refused to compete; he attributed the success of the Idris choral society to the fact that it had never entered any competition. In his view the performance of a classical oratorio was in itself the highest reward to which a choral society could aspire. He was a very original character, and stories of his wit and of his methods of dealing with people are still told. He d. 26 Nov. 1926 .


  • Personal knowledge.


John Hughes, Mus.Bac., (1896-1968), Dolgellau

Published date: 1959