Swansea University honours esteemed Welsh composer

Eric Jones

Swansea University has presented an honorary degree to eminent Welsh composer Eric Jones.

Mr Jones received the award today (8 January 2018) during the ceremony for the College of Arts and Humanities.

Eric Jones was brought up in Pontarddulais.  He was educated at Gowerton Boys’ Grammar School.  His love of music was evident from an early age, and he went on to obtain a degree in the subject from the University of Wales in Cardiff.

He started his teaching career in Llanelli subsequently becoming the Head of Music and Creative Arts at Mynyddbach School, Swansea. After a period as Deputy Head of Ysgol Gyfun Gŵyr, in 1997, he became Headmaster of Ysgol Bro Myrddin, the Welsh medium comprehensive school at Carmarthen, retiring in 2006.

He holds a Fellowship Diploma in composition from the Trinity College of Music, London, and a Master’s degree from the Open University.  His reputation means that he is frequently asked to adjudicate at the National Eisteddfod in vocal and composition competitions.

He was admitted as an honorary member to the Ovate Order of the Gorsedd of Bards in 1996 for his services to music in Wales, and elevated to the Druid Order in 2010 for long and distinguished service to the Eisteddfod and the Gorsedd.

As a composer he has published seven volumes of songs and a large number of choral works, as well as music for the theatre. He has received commissions from a wide range of choirs within Wales and beyond, and his music is frequently chosen as test pieces in national competitive festivals, recorded on disc and broadcast on radio and television. Performances of his music have been given in all of the major concert halls in Wales as well as venues in England including Symphony Hall in Birmingham and the Royal Albert Hall in London. He is President of the renowned Côr Meibion Pontarddulais, having been their accompanist from 1973 until 1991.

Presenting the award was Sir Roderick Evans, Pro-Chancellor of Swansea University Council.  Sir Roderick said: “Mr Jones’ contribution to modern Welsh music has been inestimable with some of his choral compositions now regarded as concert standards. 

We are thrilled that Mr Jones is to become part of the University’s honorary fellowship, particularly at a time when we are developing musical scholarship at the University, with the aim of bringing professional performers and talented student musicians to Swansea and nurturing that talent to enrich the cultural life of the University and region. 

We can think of no one better to represent Wales’ passion for music than Eric Jones, and we are delighted to present to him today this honorary award.”

On receiving his award, Mr Jones said:I am both delighted and humbled to receive this prestigious award, particularly from the university rooted in the City and County of Swansea, where I was born, brought up, attended school and worked for several years. I gladly accept it with gratitude, and pride. Diolch o galon i Gyngor a Senedd Prifysgol Abertawe am yr anrhydedd.”