Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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EVANS , WILLIAM JOHN ( 1866 - 1947 ), musician ;

b. 29 Nov. 1866 , at Aberdare, Glam . He was apprenticed to his father, Rhys Evans ( DWB , 249) and worked with him in his tailoring business . He was given every encouragement at home to cultivate and develop his musical talent and he devoted himself wholeheartedly to the pursuit of music. After his appointment as organist of Siloa Chapel , Aberdare , he was called upon to give organ recitals in many parts of south Wales . He also became a regular adjudicator at eisteddfodau and soon acquired popularity as a conductor of singing festivals throughout Wales . He conducted hundreds of these festivals. At Aberdare he rendered valuable service to the musical life of the town by establishing an orchestra and holding concerts at which the choral works of the great masters were performed . His orchestra won the chief prize at the Pontypridd national eisteddfod . The Mountain Ash male voice choir was victorious under his baton at the Albert Hall eisteddfod in London . He was co-editor of the Welsh congregational hymnal — Y Caniedydd Cynulleidfaol Newydd , 1921 , and Caniedydd Newydd yr Ysgol Sul , 1930 . Five of his own tunes were included in the former and his tune ‘ Rhys ’, composed in memory of his father for the Elvet Lewis hymn ‘ Rho im yr hedd ’, remains popular. Many musical compositions were performed by him and his father at Aberdare . He m. Mary Elizabeth Milligan sometime during Apr.-June 1895 . After the death of his wife he retired from business and went to live with his son, Ifor L. Evans (see above) , then principal of the University College of Wales , at Aberystwyth . He d. 12 Dec. 1947 at his son's home and was buried in Aberdare cemetery.

Sources:

  • Y Cerddor , Aug. 1899 , Aug. 1905 , and Jan. 1917 .

Author:

Robert David Griffith, M.A., (1877-1958), Old Colwyn

Published date: 2001