Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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ROWLANDS, CEINWEN (1905-1983), singer.

Born 15 January 1905 in Holyhead, Anglesey, the only child of William Rowlands and his wife Kate (Jones). Her father, who was a native of Holyhead, kept the Anglesey Emporium, a men's outfitters shop, until his retirement in 1929; her mother, who came from Cerrigydrudion, Denbighshire, was a well known singer. Educated at Morgan Jones's school, Holyhead and Bangor County School for Girls, Ceinwen studied singing for nine years with Robert (Wilfred) Jones and after winning two first prizes for singing at the national eisteddfod in Mold (1923) and Pwllheli (1925) she received many invitations to sing in celebrity concerts and oratorio throughout Wales. She went to London in January 1930 and after further study there with Plunket Greene and Mabel Kelly she became one of the chief sopranos of her generation, whose services in concerts and broadcasts were in great demand. She sang many times in national eisteddfod concerts, including the first performance of Mendelssohn's ‘Hymn of Praise’ in Welsh at the Bangor national eisteddfod in 1943. She recorded several Welsh items for Decca, including songs by Meirion Williams, D. Vaughan Thomas, and Mansel Thomas. In 1946 she married Arthur Walter, of Welsh descent, of Portsmouth, Chief Official Receiver of Bankruptcy. There were no children of the marriage. He died in 1967, and in 1972, after spending over forty years in London, she moved to Rhyl. She died, 12 June 1983, in Clatterbridge hospital, Cheshire and her body was cremated in Colwyn Bay, 16 June 1983.

There is a collection of her papers at the National Library of Wales and a discography in O lwyfan i lwyfan.

Sources:

  • Eryl Wyn Rowlands, O lwyfan i lwyfan , Caernarfon 1999, Caernarfon, 1999;
  • Dafydd Hughes Jones, Ceinwen Rowlands , 1985, 1985;
  • personal knowledge.

Author:

Huw Williams, (1922-2002), Bangor / Prestatyn

Published date: 2008