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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 April 2006, 09:35 GMT 10:35 UK
Harpist helped to attend festival
Ceredigion-born Catrin Finch
Catrin Finch will play a new concert sonata at the festival
A musician from Serbia Montenegro has been helped to joining more than 100 harpists taking part in Wales' first international harp festival.

Ana Bratjelevic, 19, from Pancevo near Belgrade, withdrew from because she could not afford to travel to Wales.

But she was able to take part after event director, harpist Elinor Bennett, stepped in to help.

The teenager will compete with some of the world's best players at the Galeri in Caernarfon in the week-long event.

Two brand new instruments, worth more than 18,000, have been donated as prizes in two competitions.

Ms Bratjelevic put her name down to take part last November, but later emailed to withdraw saying she did not have enough funds to travel.

In my country there is little interest in culture and young musicians
Ana Bratjelevic

She wrote: "I am terribly disappointed that I cannot come to Wales to compete and take part in the harp festival.

"I live with my mum and we have very little income so it was not possible for me to get the money from the government to help.

"In my country there is little interest in culture and young musicians."

After receiving the letter, Ms Bennett - the artistic director of the festival - asked Howel Roberts, treasurer of the Caernarfon Rotary Club if he could help.

"He contacted the Rotary Club in Pancevo and by coincidence Ana had been performing at the club," Ms Bennett said.

"She received money from City Hall in Belgrade to come over and compete and I would presume that it was because of this intervention."

Festival organisers have also helped a girl from Patagonia to attend.

Mildred Rhys from Trelew, in the Argentine region, will compete in the under 13s competition on Monday.

Competitors from 22 countries including Thailand, Japan, Hungary, Turkey, Israel, Russia, Singapore, Australia, Belgium, America, France are taking part.

During the festival, which begins on Sunday, ex-royal harpist Catrin Finch will perform a new piece of work by Geraint Lewis called Sonata for the Harp.

There will be concerts, master classes and workshops by some of the world's top performers.

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