John Thomas (harpist)

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John Thomas

John Thomas (born March 1, 1826 in Bridgend , † March 19, 1913 in London ) was a Welsh harpist and composer .

Sponsored by Lord Byron's daughter Ada, he studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London from the age of thirteen . In 1851 he went on a European tour with an opera orchestra. Also of note was a concert in London on July 4, 1862, at which he appeared with no fewer than 400 choir singers and twenty harpists. A year earlier he had received the title Pencerdd Gwalia (German: Main Musician of Wales ). In 1872 he became the official harpist of Queen Victoria and retained this position under Edward VII .

Thomas composed numerous solo and orchestral pieces for harp, published a collection of Welsh melodies and arranged several songs by Schubert and Mendelssohn Bartholdy .

It is also worth mentioning that his younger brother Thomas Thomas (1829–1913), who - to avoid confusion with his brother - called himself Aptommas, was also a virtuoso harpist and also composed some works and arranged them for the harp. Little is known about him.


  • 24 o ALAWON GYMREIG - JOHN THOMAS - 24 WELSH MELODIES. Y casgliad cyflawn o'r 24 o Alawon Cymreig i'r delyn. The complete recording of the Victorian Harpist, John Thomas' collection of 24 Welsh Melodies for the Harp, published in 1862, Sain SCD 2195-J (Double CD) (recording with Elinor Bennett)
  • SERENAD. Deuawdau Telyn Pencerdd Gwalia. Harp Duos by John Thomas performed on Erard Gothic harps with Meinir Heulyn. Sain SCD2254 (recording with Elinor Bennett and Meinir Heulyn)

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