Rhydian Jenkins, a 22-year-old tenor from Maesteg, is the winner of this year’s Bryn Terfel Urdd Scholarship. The winner was revealed on S4C tonight (Saturday, October 12, 2019) in a broadcast of the final held at Memorial Hall Theatre, Barry.
The other competitors were Cai Fôn Davies from Bangor, Daniel Calan Jones from Cardiff, Morgan Llewelyn-Jones from the Gwendraeth Valley, Thomas Mathias from Aberystwyth and Steffan Lloyd Owen from Pentre Berw.
The Scholarship aims to nurture the talents of some of Wales’ foremost young performers and offers a prize of £4,000 towards further training in their field of the performing arts. Earlier this year, the Urdd announced a new international element to the scholarship, thanking Wales Arts International for working together to provide unforgettable opportunities in nurturing young Welsh talent. It was announced that this year’s winner will have the opportunity to perform at one of the worldwide celebrations on St David's Day in 2020.
The competitors were all selected during the Urdd Eisteddfod 2019 in Cardiff and the Vale, by a panel of judges from various performing arts. The judges this year were Glain Dafydd, Dr Jeremy Huw Williams, Cerian Phillips, Ffion Dafis, Einir Wyn Jones with the Chair of the Eisteddfod Board, Gwenno Mair Davies, chairing the panel.
“We were completely unanimous,” said judge Einir Wyn Jones of the panel’s decision. “To be honest, we were spellbound. The competition was fantastic, and all the competitors were very memorable in their chosen fields. We’ve had a feast of entertainment, the audience has had a feast and have all enjoyed every minute. But one competitor, in particular, thrilled us... His comprehensive programme, the way he communicated with the audience and, for me personally, his subtlety... He truly is amazing.”
Rhydian is studying vocal and performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. He was an undergraduate at Cardiff University studying Welsh before completing a PGCE course at Cardiff Metropolitan University. He has had success on the National Eisteddfod stage, winning the Dr Aled Lloyd Davies Award for Cerdd Dant Solo in Cardiff in 2018. Further successes came in Conwy this year with a first for the Tenor Solo, the Under 25 Lieder prize and the Lady Herbert Memorial Prize. Rhydian is also a promising rugby league player and plays for Pontypridd.
"I’m not sure if words can convey how I feel…” said Rhydian on being announced the winner. “This is my second time in the final and the standard had risen each time. It’s a privilege to compete again. I have two years left on my college course after which I hope to study opera - the prize money will go towards that. This is the pinnacle of my career so far… and now, who knows what’s ahead.”