Highlights include:

  • Festival of New presents two days of freshly devised music all developed during Snape Maltings residencies
  • Pianist Mitsuko Uchida performs Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations
  • Open Sessions offer a chance to catch a glimpse of musicians working behind the scenes
  • The UK’s top country act The Shires return to Snape
  • A Celebration of Imogen Holst [pictured]
  • BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists weekend showcases leading young musicians
  • Violinist Nicola Benedetti and Aurora Orchestra join forces
  • English Touring Opera presents Handel’s Amadigi
  • Britten Weekend features John Wilson and his Sinfonia of London
  • Christmas at Snape includes Handel’s Messiah, Sir Bryn Terfel and Friends, London Gay Men’s Chorus and The Snowman
  • Heritage Open Days, Spooky Sounds, and Britten & Ghosts at The Red House

Britten Pears Arts is a pioneering music, arts and heritage charity based on the Suffolk coast at two popular, historic visitor destinations: The Red House and Snape Maltings. This autumn sees a wide range of activity from the familiar to the less familiar, opera, world premieres, leading performers, orchestras and ensembles alongside rising stars, talks and more. 

Festival of New: 10 & 11 September

One of Britten Pears Arts’ key commitments is to facilitate the development of new and innovative works, and the Festival of New is a whirlwind of freshly devised music and sound, exploring some of the most exciting work being made in the UK. Some projects are ready to take flight, while others are just beginning. All have been developed in Snape and Aldeburgh on residencies that take place all year round, giving artists the freedom to take risks, be ambitious and release their creative spirit.  The festival takes place over two days and will feature seven performances and two installations (10 & 11 September, various venues at Snape Maltings). Full details here.

Mitsuko Uchida: 3 October

Mitsuko Uchida’s ability to turn any concert hall into an intimate space is the perfect match for Snape Maltings Concert Hall’s warm acoustic. She takes on the challenge of what she describes as ‘one of the greatest piano pieces ever written’ – Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations – a grand celebration of the seemingly infinite creative possibilities provided by the simplest musical materials (3 Oct, 7.30pm, Snape Maltings Concert Hall).

Open Sessions: 16 & 17 October

Open Sessions offer a chance to catch a glimpse of musicians working behind the scenes. This is an opportunity to see work in progress on Invisible, Real – Faye MacCalman’s audio-visual show illuminating anonymous mental illness experiences through mesmeric projections, sound art and hypnotic solo performance (16 Oct, 5.30pm, Jerwood Kiln Studio). Later the same day NADIA is a new opera in progress in which pianist, composer and music director Yshani Perinpanayagam and stage director, theatre and opera maker Annemiek van Elst will explore the extraordinary life of Romanian gymnast Nadia Comăneci (17 Oct, 7.30pm, Snape Maltings Concert Hall).

The Shires: 17 October

The UK’s top country act return to Snape with an acoustic performance of their greatest hits and favourite songs. Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes have achieved great acclaim in the US, becoming the first UK artists to win ‘Best International Act’ at the prestigious Country Music Awards. The duo released their debut album, Brave in 2015 which soon reached GOLD-certified status and topped the UK country charts. A further two gold-certified albums and three Top 10 singles followed, cementing their status as two of country music’s most prominent voices (17 Oct, 7.30pm, Snape Maltings Concert Hall).

A Celebration of Imogen Holst: 24 October

Mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly and pianist Joseph Middleton share the stage with Britten Pears Young Artists, performing songs by British composers including Benjamin Britten, Imogen Holst and Ivor Gurney. This follows three days of intensive coaching and public masterclasses as part of the Britten Pears Young Artist Programme (24 Oct, 11am, Britten Studio). Aldeburgh Voices and Britten Pears Young Artists join forces for this exploration of British Choral and Chamber Music. They are joined by cellist Robert Cohen, who plays alongside young artists he has been coaching, as well as performing Imogen Holst’s Fall of the Leaf for solo cello. The centrepiece of the concert is Imogen Holst’s Mass in A Minor (24 Oct, 3pm, Orford Church). British music specialists tenor James Gilchrist and pianist Nathan Williamson bring songs by Gustav and Imogen Holst, Benjamin Britten (Canticle I) and Frank Bridge (Four Songs) as well as Priaulx Rainer’s Cycle of Declamation for tenor solo (24 Oct, 7pm, Britten Studio).

BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists Weekend: 30 & 31 October

This weekend offers an exciting chance to hear concerts from current and former young performers on the BBC New Generation Artist Scheme which has been running for over 20 years. Tenor Alessandro Fisher and pianist Ashok Gupta perform a recital including Britten’s Winter Words, and a selection of songs by Purcell arr. Britten and Schubert (30 Oct, 4pm Britten Studio). The Consone Quartet is the first period instrument quartet to be selected as BBC New Generation Artists. They perform Schubert’s Quartettsatz, Mendelssohn’s String Quartet Op. 44 No. 1 and Haydn’s String Quartet Op. 77 No. 2 (30 Oct, 6pm, Britten Studio). Pianist Alexander Gadjiev gives an all-Chopin recital (31 Oct, 11am, Britten Studio). Violinist Johan Dalene and pianist Nicola Eimer’s eclectic programme includes Sinding’s Suite im alten Stil, Lera Auerbach’s Preludes 3,4 and 8 from Twenty-Four Preludes for Violin and Piano, Op.46, Janáček’s Violin Sonata and Ravel’s Tzigane (31 Oct, 2.30pm, Britten Studio). 

November – December: Selected Highlights

Full details will be announced in September.

Nicola Benedetti & Aurora Orchestra: 6 November

Violinist Nicola Benedetti joins forces with Aurora Orchestra to perform Mendelssohn’s ever-popular violin concerto, and the Aurora Orchestra plays Beethoven’s thrilling dance-inspired symphony no.7 from memory, conducted by Nicholas Collon (6 Nov, 7.30pm, Snape Maltings Concert Hall).

English Touring Opera: Handel’s Amadigi: 12 & 13 November

English Touring Opera returns to Snape with a performance of one of Handel’s finest yet rarely performed operas, Amadigi. Based on a chivalric romance about three young people imprisoned by a sorceress, Handel’s version is brimming with youthful vigour, humour and tears. This new production with ETO’s period orchestra partner, the Old Street Band, is conducted by Jonathan Peter Kenny, directed by James Conway, and designed by Neil Irish with Rory Beaton and Harry Pizzey. The cast is led by soprano Francesca Chiejina, direct from the Royal Opera House, and also stars William TowersTim MorganRebecca Afonwy-JonesJenny Stafford and Harriet Eyley (12 & 13 November, 7.30pm, Snape Maltings Concert Hall). 

Britten Weekend: 20 – 22 November

Over the Britten Birthday weekend, Britten Pears Arts welcomes John Wilson and his Sinfonia of London. This partnership has already achieved critical success through its first recordings, and this is its Snape debut. The players include many principals and leaders from numerous UK and international orchestras, alongside notable soloists and members of distinguished chamber groups. The weekend includes two concerts and a study morning. John Wilson is a renowned interpreter of British music and these programmes put Britten’s music in context, in particular that of his teachers and the Royal College of Music. Pianist Pavel Kolesnikov, who recently played Britten’s Diversions in the Aldeburgh Festival, will play his Piano Concerto for the first time and this is set alongside Ireland’s Mai-Dun and Vaughan Williams’ A London Symphony (20 November, 7.30pm, Snape Maltings Concert Hall). The tenor Ian Bostridge returns to Snape to perform the haunting song cycle Nocturne. The programme also includes Berkeley’s Serenade for Strings, Benjamin’s Ballade for Strings, Bridge’s Lament and Britten’s Variation on a theme of Frank Bridge (21 November, 3pm, Snape Maltings Concert Hall). 

Christmas at Snape

Events will include award-winning choir Tenebrae’s return to Snape for a performance of Handel’s Messiah (17 Dec, 7.30pm, Snape Maltings Concert Hall), Sir Bryn Terfel and Friends (18 Dec. 3pm, Snape Maltings Concert Hall) and London Gay Men’s Chorus performing a programme of uplifting music including an array of Christmas classics, pop hits, carols and numbers from musicals (18 Dec, 7.30pm, Britten Studio). The festive weekend is completed with two family-friendly performances of the film The Snowman with music performed live by The Suffolk Ensemble, conducted by Ben Parry (19 Dec, Snape Maltings Concert Hall).

The Red House

Following the Heritage Open Day theme of Edible England, the rooms of The Red House will be presented as if to entertain guests, reflecting the hospitality that Britten and Pears extended there to a wide range of visitors. Children’s activities will also be available (11, 12, 18 & 19 Sept, 11 – 5pm). There will be an exhibition in the Archive, documenting food and drink in the lives of the two men and their social and creative circle, and a vocal recital with a food theme will be performed in the garden (11 & 12 Sept, 11am – 5pm). Visit The Red House to hear some spooky Suffolk tales and learn how to bring the stories alive by adding spooky sounds. All children will decorate and create their own Sound Effect Kit so they can tell their own spooky stories at home (28 & 29 Oct, 11am – 5pm). Just before Halloween, The Red House offers a chance to learn more about two of Britten’s most spooky operas: The Turn of the Screw and Owen Wingrave. In small groups, take a tour of the Archive and House with special displays, a themed talk and the premiere of a specially commissioned short musical film (29 Oct, 5pm & 6.30pm).


Tickets for September and October go on sale on Saturday 28 August at 10am

Tickets for events in November and December will go on sale at the end of September

To book tickets please visit www.brittenpearsarts.org or call 01728 687110.