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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 December 2007, 08:44 GMT
MBE honour for composer's widow
Yvonne Mathias
Yvonne Mathias said she was "honoured" to be given an MBE.
The widow of one of the most well known modern Welsh composers, William Mathias, has been awarded an MBE for services to music in north Wales.

Yvonne Mathias taught at the then Normal College in Bangor and later at the city's university, where her husband was professor of music.

Amongst her pupils was the singer, Aled Jones.

She is now retired but is patron of the William Mathias Music Centre in Caernarfon.

The charitable centre provides tuition to children and adults alike, across the whole range of musical instruments and vocal training.

I think it's fantastic quite honestly, and I feel very honoured
Yvonne Mathias

Mrs Mathias said she was "honoured" to be given an MBE.

"Yvonne Mathias MBE - I still can't believe it," she said.

"I think it's fantastic quite honestly, and I feel very honoured, I really do."

A former Aberdare Girls Grammar School pupil, she won a coveted scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music but spurned a professional career singing to 'look after Will', as she explained.

"But after about three to four months, people said, 'Now look - you must teach' and although I was qualified, I thought 'oh dear'," said Mrs Mathias, who lives on Anglesey.

'Very proud'

But she soon shook off early fears of taking up a new profession, and took a post at the then Normal College in Bangor, Gwynedd, and later at the university.

"It was incredible, I loved it, because I knew what to do with their faults because I had them myself," she said.

"I knew my students very well."

She said she was "very proud" of the William Mathias Music Centre.

"It is doing very well, with the best sort of teaching for everybody at all ages, it's marvelous," she added.

"My husband would have totally approved, he really would."

William Mathias's compositions include large scale works including an opera The Servants, three symphonies and three piano concertos.

He founded the North Wales International Music Festival in St Asaph in 1972 and directed it until his death in 1992.

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