For John Metcalf, becoming an Associate Artist of the Taliesin Arts Centre is a special accolade. Belying the well-known dictum about ‘prophets in their own country’, it represents valued recognition in his hometown for a composer whose works have global reach. It also formalizes his relationship with an arts centre which has always been much more than just a presenting venue.
The Taliesin has been central to John Metcalf’s creative development not least in the commissioning and production of his latest two operas – A Chair in Love (2005 with Le Chien Qui Chante, Montreal) and Under Milk Wood (2014 once again with Le Chien Qui Chante, also Companion Star New York and in association with Welsh National Opera). In composing an opera to this most famous of radio plays, the composer, cast and production team were ably assisted by the unwavering and astute support of the Taliesin in bringing the piece from page to stage. It was widely acknowledged to have had a remarkable critical success.
The Taliesin’s ability to build international creative partnerships means that the composer’s association with the centre will continue to be a very active one. A new International collaboration is currently under discussion. One of the highlights of this, his 70th year, was a birthday concert by Ensemble Midvest from Denmark in May. The ensemble are in the process of recording a disc of the composer’s chamber music for release in 2018 – one of several projects that suggest that a ‘significant’ birthday is not yet affecting the creative momentum of one of Wales’ leading composers.