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Last Updated: Monday, 3 January 2005, 10:31 GMT
Celebration year for Welsh arts

Jon Gower
BBC Wales Arts and Media Correspondent

Riverfront Arts Centre in Newport
The Newport arts centre was one of two big openings in 2005
The year had plenty of musical celebration.

Wales' finest composer Alun Hoddinott turned 75 and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales premiered his works throughout the year.

Our best known bass baritone, Bryn Terfel won not one but two Classical Brit awards at a glittering ceremony.

And Solfach school in Pembrokeshire won the Classic FM Young Composer of the year award with their musical account of a pilgrimage.

It was also a year of musical chairs.

Welsh National Opera's musical director Tugan Sokhiev left after only a year to be replaced by Carlo Rizzi, who was happy to return to the company.

Xu Bing
Xu Bing's unusual exhibition won the first Artes Mundi competition

In the world of visual art a work made from dust won the inaugural Artes Mundi prize, worth 40,000.

Xu Bing, a Chinese artist from New York was inspired by the tragedy of Ground Zero. 75,000 visitors saw the work of all the shortlisted artists at the National Museum and Gallery in Cardiff.

In May the Polish born artist, who found wartime sanctuary in Ystradgynlais, Josef Herman, was honoured by the establishment of a foundation in his honour.

In the literary world the Welsh Book of the Year awards for 2004 went to Aberystwyth-based writer Niall Griffiths for his book Stump and to Jerry Hunter for his book about the role of the Welsh in the American Civil War.

Swansea launched one of the UK's biggest literary awards, the Dylan Thomas prize, worth 60,000, to be given to the writer of the best book written in English by an author under thirty.

2004 also saw the creation of The Library of Wales, a plan by the Welsh Assembly Government to create a collection of books which will be given free to schools in Wales.

Tugan Sokhiev
Tugan Sokhiev left the Welsh National Opera after only a year

In the summer a play staged at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival about Orson Welles - 'Rosebud' by playwright Mark Jenkins from Cardiff won the first Carol Tambor award, which paid to have it staged in New York.

Clwyd Theatre Cymru's Mobile Theatre was back on the road, courtesy of a grant from the Welsh Assembly Government.

November saw two new major arts centres opening - the Riverfront arts centre in Newport which houses two theatres, a dance studio, a recording studio and an exhibition gallery and the Wales Millennium centre, a 106m home for seven arts companies with the majestic 1900 seat Donald Gordon theatre at its heart.

At the year's close the Arts Council of Wales managed to wrap itself in enough asbestos to not be entirely burned in First Minister Rhodri Morgan's so-called "bonfire of the quangos"

The year was saddened by the deaths of authors Eirug Wyn and Alun Richards, as well as the master craftsman in stone, the sculptor Jonah Jones


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