• The 73rd Aldeburgh Festival is extended by a week and takes place from 3 – 26 June
  • Featured artists and composers include violinist Nicola Benedetti; organist and conductor Anna Lapwood; cellist Laura van der Heijden; composer and clarinettist Mark Simpson; composer and conductor Ryan Wigglesworth; percussionist Vivi Vassileva; composers Tom Coult, Gavin Higgins and Bushra El-Turk; and the Doric String Quartet
  • World premiere of Violet, a new opera by composer Tom Coult and writer Alice Birch
  • Spotlight on Young Artists as Britten Pears Young Artist Programme celebrates its 50th birthday plus BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists 
  • Aldeburgh Festival marks the 70th birthday of the late Oliver Knussen with performances of his own works including the first performance of his orchestral work Cleveland Pictures, and musical tributes from leading composers
  • The most substantial commitment to new music in the Festival’s history with 41 first performances, 19 of which are Britten Pears Arts commissions, and 11 first UK performances
  • Climate focus with works centred around environmental issues by Laura Bowler, Graham Fitkin, Liza Lim, Gregor A. Mayrhofer and Anna Thorvaldsdottir
  • Visiting orchestras and ensembles include the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Concerto Italiano, Britten Sinfonia, London Sinfonietta, The Riot Ensemble and Solomon’s Knot 
  • Chamber music from Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective, Mark Simpson & Friends, The Hermes Experiment and The Adelphi, Piatti and Solem Quartets
  • Solo Recitals from pianists Clare Hammond, Víkingur Ólafsson and Kathryn Stott, organist Anna Lapwood, harpsichordist Rinaldo Alessandrini and vocal recitals by mezzo soprano Sarah Connolly with pianist Joseph Middleton and tenor Karim Sulayman with guitarist Sean Shibe
  • “Britten and Women” theme at an exhibition at The Red House and reflected in the festival concert programming
  • The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is marked with music related to her coronation and the two Elizabethan eras, including from the Ora Singers at Bury St Edmunds Cathedral and the BBC Singers
  • Partnership with BBC Radio 3 including In Tune live from Snape Maltings and the broadcast of 7 concerts

The full programme for the 73rd Aldeburgh Festival is announced today (15 December) and is extended by a week taking place from 3 – 26 June 2022. The festival welcomes featured artists including violinist Nicola Benedetti, organist Anna Lapwood, cellist Laura van der Heijden clarinettist Mark Simpson and percussionist Vivi Vassileva. Tom Coult’s first opera Violet receives its world premiere and other featured composers Bushra El-Turk and Gavin Higgins each have two major new works included. Composers pay musical tributes to the late great Oliver Knussen who would have been 70 in 2022. Britten Pears Young Artists Programme celebrates its 50th birthday with a series of concerts by its current cohort. The most substantial commitment to new music in the Festival’s history with 41 first performances, 19 of which are Britten Pears Arts commissions, and 11 first UK performances.Featured ensemble The Doric Quartet perform all of Bartók’s six string quartets in one day. Climate change is a focus with Laura Bowler’s Houses Slide, Gregor A. Mayrhofer’s Recycling Concerto and Liza Lim’s piece Extinction events and dawn chorus. HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is marked with a number of related performances. 

Featured Artists, Composers & Ensembles

Nicola Benedetti 

  • Violinist Nicola Benedetti gives four concerts across the Festival starting with a solo recital including two violin suites: Bach’s Second Partita, and Wynton Marsalis’s five movement Fiddle Dance Suite, written for Benedetti (9 June). 
  • Benedetti and Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective present a sequence of short night pieces by composers from Dowland to Schubert, Britten, Florence Price and Cole Porter, and Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht for string sextet (15 June). 
  • Benedetti is joined by clarinettist Mark Simpson, cellist Laura van der Heijden and pianist Tom Poster for a performance of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time under the angel roof of Blythburgh Church (18 June). 
  • The Benedetti Baroque Orchestra closes the Festival with a selection of baroque concerti (26 June). 

Tom Coult 

  • Violet was due to be premiered at the cancelled 2020 Aldeburgh Festival and will now take place in 2022, opening the Festival and receiving two performances. Writer Alice Birch and composer Tom Coult are amongst the most compelling voices in their respective fields and their first opera, developed at Snape Maltings as part of its Jerwood Opera Writing Programme, is an exciting prospect. In a muddied nightdress, in a country kitchen, Violet finally smiles. For years, her tired daily routine has been dictated by the inescapable chime of the Clock Tower, until one night she feels time quicken. Suddenly an hour is lost – every day. As the hours disappear, long-held certainties evaporate and ordered society falls into disarray. With the townspeople in crisis, can Violet finally escape? Andrew Gourlay conducts the London Sinfonietta and cast featuring Elizabeth Atherton (Violet), Richard Burkhard (Felix) Frances Gregory (Laura) and Andrew Mackenzie-Wicks (The Clock Keeper). The creative team includes director Jude Christian, designer Rosie Elnile and costume designer Cécile Trémolières. Violet is co-commissioned and co-produced by Britten Pears Arts and Music Theatre Wales in association with the London Sinfonietta (3 & 5 June). 
  • The Hermes Experiment performs Coult’s I Find Planets setting tweets from a social media account which every hour announces the discovery of a new planet. (5 June). 
  • Piano Trio The Chronophage will be played by Trio Mazzolini (26 June).

Bushra El-Turk 

  • Composer Bushra El-Turk is featured with a number of works. Featured Artist Vivi Vassileva gives the UK premiere of El-Turk’s 20-minute new work for percussion with the Britten Sinfonia (19 June). 
  • The Adelphi Quartet performs two of El-Turk’s string quartets: the world premiere of a new work commissioned by Britten Pears Arts, and Saffron Dusk which is dedicated to the victims of the 2020 Beirut Port explosion (21 June). 
  • Solo piano piece Ostina-bush-to receives its first UK performance played by Clare Hammond (16 June).

Anna Lapwood

  • Organist and conductor Anna Lapwood makes her Aldeburgh Festival debut with an eclectic organ recital featuring her own arrangements of Britten’s Four Sea Interludes and Messiaen’s Vocalise-Etude as well as works by Elgar, Owain Park and Cheryl Frances Hoad (23 June). 
  • Lapwood is Director of Music at Pembroke College, Cambridge. She directs singers from her choir in performances of music based on plainchant, from composers including Bach, Britten and Dobrinka Tabakova, alongside plainchant itself (25 June).

The Doric String Quartet

  • The Doric String Quartet performs Bartók’s six string quartets over the course of three concerts on the same day (10 June). 
  • Cellist Laura van der Heijden joins the Doric String Quartet to play Schubert’s String Quintet (5 June). 

Vivi Vassileva

  • Percussionist Vivi Vassileva and composer-conductor Gregor A. Mayrhofer join forces with Britten Sinfonia for two concerts. Mayhofer’s Recycling Concerto features hundreds of pieces of rubbish collected and created into an array of tuned and untuned percussion instruments (19 June). 
  • The second concert later that evening features Bushra El-Turk’s new percussion concerto, Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony and Brett Dean’s much-acclaimed orchestral piece written in response to it (19 June). 
  • Vassileva gives a solo recital including music by Bach, Klaus Hinrich Stahmer and Alexej Gerassimez. Young people from Alde Valley Academy join Vivi to end the recital with a workshop piece they’ll create together earlier in the day. (20 June).  

Laura van der Heijden

  • Walton Cello Concerto with BBC National Orchestra of Wales (16 June).
  • Schubert String Quintet with Doric String Quartet (5 June).
  • Messiaen Quartet for the End of Time with Nicola Benedetti (violin), Mark Simpson (clarinet) and Tom Poster (piano) (18 June).
  • Concerts as part of Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective (15 and 20 June).

Ryan Wigglesworth

  • Ryan Wigglesworth conducts the Knussen Chamber Orchestra in a programme which includes the first public performance of his Five Waltzes with soloist Lawrence Power (viola) and Britten’s Phaedra with soprano Sophie Bevan (12 June).
  • Wigglesworth conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra in the first performance of Knussen’s Cleveland Pictures as well as music by Respighi and Mussorgsky and Knussen Horn Concerto with soloist Martin Owen (24 June).
  • Wigglesworth’s tribute to Oliver Knussen for solo cello will be given its first performance by Anssi Karttunnen (24 June).

Mark Simpson

  • Two concerts devoted to Mark Simpson and Mozart will begin and end the day on the first Saturday of the festival. Mark Simpson and Solem Quartet will play Simpson’s and Mozart’s clarinet quintets. The day will end with a performance of Simpson’s Geysir and Mozart’s Gran Partita given by Mark Simpson and Friends (4 June).
  • Simpson will play his Echoes and Embers for clarinet and piano and Bartok’s Contrasts with Elena Urioste (violin) and Tom Poster (piano) (17 June) and Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time with Nicola Benedetti (violin), Laura van der Heijden (cello) and Tom Poster (piano) (18 June).

Gavin Higgins

  • The festival includes two first performances of music by Gavin Higgins. His new 40-minute cantata The Faerie Bride for singers Marta Fontanals-Simmons and Roderick Williams is a Britten Pears Arts commission which receives its first performance with the soloists and BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Martyn Brabbins (17 June).
  • Ekstasis, a string sextet by Higgins will receive its first performance by the Piatti Quartet with Sara Roberts (viola) and David Cohen (cello) (18 June).

New Music

  • 41 First performances, 11 first UK performances and 19 Britten Pears Arts commissions.
  • This is the most significant representation of new music in the history of the Aldeburgh Festival and is a recognition of the current quality of compositional talent, particularly in the UK.

Celebrating Oliver Knussen

  • The composer Oliver Knussen would have been 70 in 2022 and composer and conductor Ryan Wigglesworth conducts the Knussen Chamber Orchestra in a programme featuring Schumann’s 2nd symphony alongside 16th-century composers Monteverdi and Dowland, his own new piece Five Waltzes, and Britten’s piece inspired by Dowland. Sophie Bevan joins to sing Britten’s Phaedra (12 June). 
  • The BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth present the world premiere of Knussen’s Cleveland Pictures inspired by art works in the Cleveland Museum of Art, alongside his Horn Concerto, with soloist Martin Owen (24 June). 
  • Earlier that day there will be 3 concerts given by cellist Anssi Karttunnen, violinist Tamsin Waley Cohen, pianists Huw Watkins and Chris Glynn and soprano Claire Booth (24 June).

Britten and Women

  • Red House exhibition (see below).
  • Dame Janet Baker in conversation with John Bridcut (4 June).
  • Sophie Bevan joins to sing Britten’s Phaedra (12 June). 
  • Music by Britten’s female contemporary composers – Doreen Carwithen, Imogen Holst, Elisabeth Lutyens, Elizabeth Maconchy, Priaulx Rainier and Grace Williams.

HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

  • Aldeburgh Festival marks HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with a visit to Bury St Edmunds Cathedral for a performance by the ORA Singers directed by Suzi Digby. The programme celebrates choral works written during both Elizabethan periods, pairing pieces composed in the 16th century with 21st-century music including a first performance of a Britten Pears Arts commission by Aine Mallon (11 June). 
  • The BBC Singers conducted by Owain Park performs a collection of short choral pieces by English composers created to celebrate HM The Queen’s coronation in 1953. They also sing Britten’s dramatic Sacred and Profane, an anthem by the choir’s Associate Composer, Judith Weir, and world premieres by Hilary Campbell and Britten Pears Young Artist, Omri Kochavi (14 June). 
  • The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla perform Britten’s orchestral suite from his opera Gloriana (18 June). 
  • BBC National Orchestra of Wales, conducted by Martyn Brabbins, plays Elizabeth Maconchy’s Proud Thames, which won a 1952 competition for a piece to celebrate the Coronation (17 June).

Climate Focus

  • Laura Bowler’s Houses Slide, for soprano Jessica Aszodi and the London Sinfonietta is powered by bicycles, with stage design by the acclaimed theatre director Katie Mitchell and a text created by Cordelia Lynn using submissions from members of the public (4 June).
  • Bowler joins flute player Ruth Morley for her Wicked Problem (4 June).
  • Gregor A. Mayrhofer’s Recycling Concerto features hundreds of pieces of rubbish collected and created into an array of perfectly tuned and untuned percussion instruments (19 June). 
  • The Riot Ensemble makes its Aldeburgh Festival debut with a programme which includes Australian composer Liza Lim’s piece Extinction events and dawn chorus (19 June). 

Visiting Orchestras & Ensembles 

  • The BBC National Orchestra of Wales and conductor Martyn Brabbins perform two concerts. The first features Shostakovich’s tenth symphony and Laura van der Heijden joins to play Walton’s Cello Concerto (16 June). The second sees the world premiere of Gavin Higgins’ The Faerie Bride alongside Grace Williams’ Sea Sketches and Britten’s A Suite of English Folk Tunes (17 June). 
  • Harpsichordist Rinaldo Alessandrini’s early music ensemble Concerto Italiano is renowned for its performances of Italian Baroque composers, and they perform two concerts at this year’s Festival. The ensemble plays Vivaldi concertos bookended with pieces by two great German composers inspired by the energy and power of Vivaldi’s music – Telemann and Bach (21 June). The second concert features an array of Baroque concertos in the Italian style by Vivaldi, Corelli and Brescianello, and pieces absorbing Italian influences written in England and Germany by Handel and Telemann (22 June).
  • The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla perform a programme that includes Ivor Composer award-winner Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Catamorphosis, Britten’s Four Sea Interludes and the orchestral suite from his opera Gloriana. The violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja, a 2018 Aldeburgh Festival Artist in Residence, joins to play Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto (18 June).
  • Ryan Wigglesworth conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra in a programme of pieces inspired by pictures at art exhibitions – Resphighi’s Boticelli Pictures, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and the world premiere of the late Oliver Knussen’s Cleveland Pictures (24 June). 
  • The early music collective Solomon’s Knot are known for their engaging performances of JS Bach and they perform motets by Johann Sebastian alongside those of his once-removed cousin, Johann Christoph (12 June). 

Chamber Music 

  • The Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective was founded by pianist Tom Poster and violinist Elena Urioste and is a flexible chamber ensemble of like-minded musicians. They present a series of short night pieces with featured artist Nicola Benedetti (15 June). Tenor Karim Sulayman and Kaleidoscope perform Clara Schumann Songs (arr. Tom Poster) and horn player Ben Goldscheider joins for Mozart’s Horn Quintet and Britten’s Canticle III; Still Falls the Rain (20 June). 
  • Clarinettist and composer Mark Simpson is joined by musical friends to perform Mozart’s Gran Partita, and his own Geysir (4 June). He joins The Solem Quartet to play two Clarinet Quintets, his own and Mozart (4 June).
  • The multi-award-winning voice, harp, clarinet and double bass quartet, The Hermes Experiment, performs music by featured composer Tom Coult, as well as Kerry Andrew, Freya Waley-Cohen and Ayanna Witter-Johnson, and pieces by Britten’s contemporaries, Imogen Holst and Priaulx Rainier (5 June). 
  • Graham Fitkin is joined by fellow pianists Clare Hammond, Kathryn Stott and Ruth Wall to perform an 8-Hands/2 pianos concert, including works by John Adams, Unsuk Chin, Anna Meredith, featured composer Bushra El-Turk and a selection of Fitkin’s own works including the world premiere of his Britten Pears Arts Commission (16 June). 
  • The Piatti Quartet opens its concert with Mozart’s String Quartet No. 16. They are joined by violist Sara Roberts and cellist David Cohen to perform two sextets: the first performance of Gavin Higgin’s Ekstasis and Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence (18 June). 
  • The Adelphi Quartet performs two works by featured composer Bushra El Turk alongside quartets by Haydn and Beethoven (21 June). 

Solo Recitals 

  • Dame Sarah Connolly and Joseph Middleton present a programme of songs by Samuel Barber, Ernest Chausson and Kurt Weill, and the world premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Songs of Sleep and Regret (25 June). 
  • Pianist Víkingur Ólafsson makes his Aldeburgh Festival debut with a programme that focuses on Mozart keyboard works and Mozart’s contemporaries – Haydn, CPE Bach and the less well-known Cimarosa and Gallupi (13 June). 
  • Pianist Kathryn Stott plays a sequence of short and highly varied pieces including Vierne, Lecuona, Glass and Boulanger, as well as Priaulx Rainier and Kaija Saariaho, and Gershwin songs transcribed by Finnissy and Wild, before finishing with a piece by Graham Fitkin (14 June). 
  • Pianist Clare Hammond showcases music by composers from the last 100 years whose music is now little-known including Nikolai Medtner, William Grant Still, and two English female composers – Elisabeth Lutyens and Doreen Carwithen (13 June). 
  • Rinaldo Alessandrini gives a harpsichord recital of keyboard works by leading German, Italian and French Baroque composers. (23 June). 
  • Karim Sulayman (tenor) and Sean Shibe (guitar) give an afternoon recital in Blythburgh Church including Britten’s Songs from the Chinese (18 June).

Spotlight on Young Artists 

Britten Pears Young Artist Programme at 50

  • Britten Pears Arts continues its role in supporting young artists and the Festival celebrates the 50th anniversary of Britten Pears Young Artist Programme. Founded by Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears, the programme provides high level performance training for the world’s best emerging professional musicians. The model has recently shifted from simply offering one-off masterclasses and courses to a bespoke year-round programme of projects and events. In this new model of working, Britten Pears Arts wants to provide the freedom, time and space for artists to explore the big questions about what it means to be a musician: to examine their role, voice and mission in this industry – and how they can shape it, while also laying the foundations for a successful and sustainable career. 
  • The latest cohort comprises singers, pianists, chamber ensembles and composers who benefit from a comprehensive and world-class artist development for 12 months. Each young artist receives masterclasses, coaching and mentoring from internationally renowned artists, focusing specifically on their repertoire and projects. There will also be performance and/or commissioning opportunities, and industry-relevant offers, either sourced by Britten Pears Arts, or which will emerge as projects evolve during the year. The artists’ time as a Britten Pears Young Artist culminates in performances at the 2022 Aldeburgh Festival. 
  • Performances include a song recital from baritone Kieron Rayner (4 June) and pianist Bradley Wood; a song recital devised by pianist Natalie Burch (6 June); pianist Ana Manastireanu collaborates with several leading young female singers to perform Schubert’s Die Schone Mullerin(11 June); Multi-award-winning trombone quartet Slide Action’s late-night performance includes new work by British composers Emily Hall, Alex Paxton and Laura Jurd, as well as the quartet’s own innovative arrangements (11 June): Trio Mazzolini will play music by Tom Coult, Haydn, Bloch and Rebecca Clarke (26 June).

BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists

  • Timothy Ridout (viola) and Alexander Gadjiev (piano) (13 June).
  • Ema Nikolovska (mezzo soprano) and Kunal Lahiry (piano) (14 June).
  • Quatuor Mona and Alexander Gadjiev (piano) (17 June) 

Hesse Lecture: Bonnie Greer

  • Playwright and writer Bonnie Greer OBE, gives the Hesse Lecture entitled “Our Common Humanity and The Overture To Peter Grimes”, connecting her early experience of hearing the Dawn Interlude from Britten’s opera to her belief in art’s ability to connect people across borders and backgrounds.

BBC Radio 3

Broadcast partnership with BBC Radio 3 will include:

  • In Tune live from the Britten Studio at Snape Maltings (17 June)
  • BBC New Generation Artists 3 concerts (13, 14 and 17 June)
  • BBC Singers (14 June)
  • BBC National Orchestra of Wales – 2 concerts (16 and 17 June)
  • BBC Symphony Orchestra (24 June)

Festival Exhibitions

  • Britten & Women at The Red House celebrates the powerful role of women in Britten’s life. From his family upbringing and close bond with his mother and sisters, to the many women he worked with and was inspired by, to numerous close female friends, Britten and Women celebrates the powerful role of women in Britten’s life – and how they navigated their careers and activities in a man’s world (3 – 26 June, 11am – 5pm daily).
  • Joanna Ward Installation (3 – 26 June, free, venue TBC).
  • Paul Benney, Laurence Edwards and Kiki Smith. Exhibition curated by Isabel de Vasconcellos, with Messums Wiltshire. Benney, Edwards and Smith present their work together in both familiar and unconventional spaces across the Snape Maltings site, bonded by their common interest in the environment and the human form. Exhibition open daily, across the Snape Maltings site. Visitors will start their exploration at the Pond Gallery HQ (3 – 36 June, free).
  • John Craxton Exhibition: During their lifetime Britten and Pears collected 13 works of art by John Craxton, usually these are hung throughout their home at The Red house. For the 73rd Festival these will be gathered for display in the Snape Maltings Concert Hall gallery marking Craxton’s centenary year and Britten and Pears’ connection to him. 

Booking

  • Full programme information: brittenpearsarts.org
  • Priority booking will open from 11 January. General booking will open on 29 January.