Inside The Red House

Highlights include:

  • Britten Weekend features Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason, Britten Pears Chamber Choir and Viola Tunnard Artist Juliette Journaux
  • BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists weekend showcases The Chaos Quartet, Fergus McCreadie Trio and Santiago Cañón Valencia
  • English Touring Opera presents Judith Weir: Blond Eckbert in a double bill and Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snowmaiden
  • Aurora Orchestra performs Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite from memory
  • Christmas at Snape includes Anna Lapwood and The Chapel Choir of Pembroke College, Cambridge, The Snowman, Laura Wright, Kate Rusby & BBC Radio 3’s Friday Night Is Music Night
  • Britten Pears Young Artist Programme Masterclasses and Open Rehearsals with Colin Matthews, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Claire Booth and Jonathan Berman
  • Family Concerts feature YolanDa’s Band Jam and Mini Music Makers
  • Open Sessions offer a chance to catch a glimpse of musicians developing new work at Snape Maltings
  • Other events including celebrations on Nov. 22nd (Britten’s birthday), Heritage Open Days, Spooky Sounds, Bereavement Café sessions and a recital series at The Red House

This autumn sees Britten Pears Arts present a wide range of activity from the familiar to brand new including opera, leading performers, orchestras and ensembles alongside rising stars, with talks, open sessions and more. 

Britten Weekend: 2 and 3 November

  • Brother and sister duo Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason are in demand across the globe, as both soloists and chamber musicians. They return to Snape Maltings Concert Hall to perform Britten’s Cello Sonata in C major, paired with the Sonata in D minor by Shostakovich, a composer who was close to Britten (2 November, Snape Maltings Concert Hall, 7.30pm).
  • Earlier in the day, the Britten Pears Chamber Choir (formerly Aldeburgh Voices) presents three contrasting choral mass settings – by Britten, Kodály and Tavener – from across five centuries in Orford Church. This programme reimagines a choral concert from the Aldeburgh Festival’s early days (2 November, 3pm, Orford Church).
  • Each year, the Viola Tunnard Artist award supports a talented collaborative pianist to develop their craft. Juliette Journaux is this year’s Viola Tunnard Artist and she is joined by mezzo-soprano Mathilde Ortscheidt to present a programme of Mahler, Britten and Elgar (3 November, Library, The Red House, 1 & 4pm).
  • Britten Weekend at The Red House: Britten Pears Arts marks the final weekend of the visiting season with a tour of the Archive strongrooms, and there will be celebrations across the site of the people who had deep connections to The Red House, Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears (2 & 3 November, The Red House).

English Touring Opera: 11 and 12 October

  • Blond Eckbert Double Bill: Fresh from its sell-out performance at the 75th Aldeburgh Festival, Judith Weir‘s acclaimed opera Blond Eckbert is back. The cast features Alex Otterburn (Eckbert), Aoife Miskelly (Bird), Flora McIntosh (Berthe) and William Morgan (Walther, Hugo, Old Woman). It is paired with Do not take my story for a fairytale – a staging of song cycles and cantatas exploring love, isolation and the terrible wonder of the natural world. It will be performed by a period instrument ensemble with soprano Abigail Kelly, mezzo-soprano Amy J Payne, 2024 Kathleen Ferrier Award-winner tenor Matthew McKinney, and baritone Mark Nathan. Both performances are conducted by Gerry Cornelius, with direction by Robin Norton-Hale and designs by Eleanor Bull (11 October, Snape Maltings Concert Hall, 7.30pm).
  • The Snowmaiden:  Olivia Fuchs directs ETO’s new production of Rimsky-Korsakov’s classic coming of age tale packed with colour and folk melodies. Hannah Quinn conducts, and the cast includes Ffion Edwards (Snowmaiden), Kitty Whateley (Lyel), Katherine McIndoe (Kupava), Edmund Danon (Mizgir), Hannah Sandison (Spring Beauty), Edward Hawkins (Grandfather Frost/Bermyata), Joseph Doody (Tsar), Jack Dolan (Bobyl), Amy J Payne (Boblikha), David Horton (Woodsprite), Neil Balfour (Maslenitsa) and Alexandra Meier (Tsar’s Page). The performances will be recorded for later streaming into schools around the country in partnership with Norfolk & Suffolk Music Hub (12 October, Snape Maltings Concert Hall, 7.30pm).

BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists: 19 and 20 October

  • The BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists scheme supports some of the world’s most exciting young instrumentalists, singers and ensembles at the start of their international careers through performance and recording opportunities. Over the years, many have found a home at Snape.
  • BBC New Generation Artists 1: The Chaos Quartet joins the Fergus McCreadie Trio and renowned cellist Santiago Cañón Valencia to kick off Britten Pears Arts’ showcase weekend. Contemporary jazz collides with Scottish folklore and the inspiring Suffolk landscape in this collaborative programme (19 October, Britten Studio, 7.30pm).
  • BBC New Generation Artists II: The second concert sees cellist Santiago Cańón Valencia balance two of Bach’s towering suites for solo cello with a treasure-trove of contemporary South American repertoire – featuring his own music alongside that of renowned Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov (20 October, Britten Studio, 7.30pm).
  • BBC New Generation Artists III: Jazz pianist Fergus McCreadie improvises on favourite Schubert songs as chosen, arranged and played by the Chaos Quartet. This is paired with the composer’s Quintet in C (20 October, Britten Studio, 2.30pm).

Aurora Orchestra: 25 October

  • Aurora Orchestra and conductor Nicholas Collon return to Snape Maltings with an Orchestral Theatre performance of Stravinsky’s Firebird. Presenter Tom Service dissects the 1945 version of the Suite alongside Nicholas Collon before it’s performed in full from memory by the orchestra. Pianist Alexander Tharaud joins for Ravel’s jazz-influenced Piano Concerto, and the concert opens with Outi Tarkiainen’s The Ring of Fire and Love (25 October, Snape Maltings Concert Hall, 7pm).

Christmas at Snape Maltings

  • Anna Lapwood: The Christmas season begins with Anna Lapwood conducting The Chapel Choir of Pembroke College, Cambridge in a performance of Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols and a new work written in response to it, Kristina Arakelyan’s Angel of Light (7 December, Snape Maltings Concert Hall, 7.30pm).
  • Christmas Special with Laura WrightAn eveningof Christmas classics, led by soprano Laura Wright alongside pianist Dan Moriyama, percussionist Lauren Kosty, guitarist Andy Moore, the Britten Pears Chamber Choir and The Band of the Royal British Legion, Leiston (14 December, Snape Maltings Concert Hall, 7pm).
  • The Snowman: Britten Pears Arts continues what has become a seasonal tradition of a special screening of Howard Blake’s The Snowman with live choir and orchestra – the perfect way for all the family to celebrate the festive season. Ben Parry conducts the Suffolk Ensemble and a chorus of talented young singers including Group A (15 December, 12.30pm, 2.30pm & 4.30pm, Snape Maltings Concert Hall).
  • Friday Night Is Music Night: BBC Radio 3’s Friday Night Is Music Night will come live from Snape Maltings Concert Hall, filling the space with the sounds of Christmas. The BBC Concert Orchestra explores repertoire ranging from the golden age of light music to the best in film and TV scores (20 December, Snape Maltings Concert Hall, 7pm).
  • Kate Rusby: Winter LightThis concert features songs from Kate Rusby’s latest charting Christmas album ‘Light Years’ and a selection from her ever-popular previous six Christmas albums. A folk singer at heart, she’s taken the genre to new heights, appealing way beyond the folk scene and her Yorkshire roots, headlining in the UK and internationally (21 December, Snape Maltings Concert Hall, 7pm).

Curlew River

  • Deborah Warner’s 5-star production of Britten’s church parable Curlew River, 60 years after its first performance, was a highlight of this year’s Aldeburgh Festival. The stellar cast was led by music director Audrey Hyland and included tenor Ian Bostridge, baritones Marcus Farnsworth and Duncan Rock, bass-baritone Sir Willard White and singers and instrumentalists from the Britten Pears Young Artist Programme. The creative team also included designer Christof Hetzer and lighting designer Mike Gunning. The performances in the beautiful surroundings of Blythburgh Church were filmed for broadcast on BBC Four in late autumn with direction by Dominic Best.
  • MUD: The Upper Estuary of the Riveris an exhibition celebrating the 60th anniversary of Benjamin Britten’s Curlew River. Susan Brinkhurst and Eamonn McCabe started their collaboration before the latter’s untimely death in October 2022. This exhibition, curated across three spaces at Snape Maltings, is McCabe’s last body of photographic images shown alongside Brinkhurst’s multi-disciplinary work (14 September – 20 October, Dovecote Studio, Winch Gallery & Switch Room, Snape Maltings).

Family Concerts

  • Mini Music Makers is a Friday morning session of fun music and play activities for 0-5-year-olds. The 90-minute sessions are led by The Red House’s Community and Collections Curator Joe Carr and include singing and creative play to encourage social skills, turn-taking, sharing and having fun (every Friday to 13 December, The Red House). 
  • Family Music Makers is a free, fun session of music and play activities for 5–7-year-olds including warm-ups, musical games and creating new music (27 October, Peter Pears Recital Room, 2pm).
  • YolanDa’s Band Jam: YolanDa’s Band Jam is the critically acclaimed CBeebies children’s TV show, presented by double MOBO award-winning musician and broadcaster YolanDa Brown. Dubbed “Jools Holland for kids”, YolanDa’s Band Jam encourages children to discover the joys of music through dancing, singing and playing (27 October, Britten Studio, 1pm & 3pm).

Open Sessions

  • Britten Pears Arts Residencies provide time and space for creators at all stages of their careers to create, be curious and try out new ideas. Open Sessions offers a unique chance to experience new work that is being developed collaboratively and authentically in a safe supportive environment.
  • Thick & Tight: Dance company Thick & Tight creates a solo performance for dancer Annie Edwards during this Residency. They will be exploring queer ecology, challenging exclusionary ‘natural’ vs. ‘unnatural’ binaries. They aim to understand how nature influences queer artists and how marginalisation affects their sense of belonging in the natural world (25 October, Britten Studio, 3pm).
  • Ruby Colley & EXAUDI: The communication between siblings is unlike any other interaction we experience. On her Snape Residency, composer Ruby Colley will develop a new work inspired by her relationship with Paul, her neurodivergent and non-speaking brother. Written for and in collaboration with EXAUDI, ‘Hello Halo’ will be a vocal map of Paul’s lived experiences and his interactions with Ruby, shining a light on unconventional communication methods, as well as the complexity of neurodiverse relationships (25 October, Britten Studio, 4.30pm).
  • Aldeburgh Young Musicians and Riot Ensemble: Aldeburgh Young Musicians explore key themes and work from the contemporary music catalogue with guidance from Riot Ensemble, whose members are all top European soloists in new music (1 November, Britten Studio, 4pm).
  • Richard Pye: ‘Bystander’ has been born out of both a personal and collective experience of rising hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation and gender identity, and aims to investigate support, existence, resistance and advocacy. This performance will incorporate movement and sound to explore themes of support, alliance and agency (7 December, Britten Studio, 3pm).
  • An-Ting, Masumi Saito: Composer An-Ting and movement artist Masumi Saito develop their new work, ‘Departure’, which explores themes of death, nature, and spirit by integrating funeral ceremonies from various cultures – particularly East Asian traditions. This project expands on the work Britten Pears Arts is doing to build compassionate communities, in relation to end of life, grief and loss (7 December, Britten Studio, 4pm).

Britten Pears Young Artist Programme

  • Singers and instrumentalists from the Composition and Performance course will be tackling Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, a masterpiece of 20th-century music, led in this Masterclass by soprano Claire Booth and conductor Jonathan Berman (17 September, Peter Pears Recital Room, 11.30am).
  • Open Rehearsal: Composition and Performance: A chance to sit in on one of the Composition and Performance course composer reading sessions, where Britten Pears Arts Young Artist instrumental ensemble workshops brand-new pieces written by a cohort of emerging composers (19 September, Britten Studio, 2pm). 
  • End of Course Concert: Composition and Performance: A chance to hear new developing pieces from composers on the Britten Pears Young Artist Programme, written during the Composition and Performance course with guidance from Colin Matthews and Mark-Anthony Turnage. Performed by the Britten Pears Contemporary Ensemble, this concert will also feature performances of repertoire from the 20th and 21st centuries, including excerpts from Pierrot Lunaire as coached by soprano Claire Booth (22 September, Britten Studio, 4pm).

Participatory Events

  • Scratch Choir: Fauré’s Requiemeveryone is welcome to join Britten Pears Arts’ Remembrance Weekend Scratch Choir to learn and perform Fauré’s Requiem, under the expert guidance of conductor Ben Vonberg-Clark. Participants will learn the entire piece in a single day, and in an exciting first for the Scratch Choir will perform the Requiem in a public concert that evening (9 November, Snape Maltings Concert Hall, 11am with concert at 7pm).
  • Friday Afternoons Big Sing at Snape Maltings is the home event of the Friday Afternoons project, born out of the Britten Centenary celebrations in 2013. Snape Maltings Concert Hall is filled with young people from across Suffolk, with children and teachers gathering to sing a selection of songs as part of a massed choir. This year’s event will be live-streamed so that schools in Suffolk and beyond can take part in the event virtually, singing along from their school halls. To register email community@brittenpearsarts.org (22 November, all day).
  • Aldeburgh Young Musicians with Pete Letanka: This workshop is open to any young musician aged 10-18 who has a passion for discovering more about jazz and the AYM programme. The workshop is an opportunity for those who are currently having some form of music lessons to expand their musical experiences in a one-day dive into the traditions of jazz with Pete Letanka (23 November, 10am, Britten Studio).
  • Tea Dance: Quickstep back in time to enjoy afternoon tea in the Britten Studio, alongside the opportunity to waltz and foxtrot to a live band. Designed for people in later life, the event is wheelchair-accessible and is suitable for all abilities (11 December, Britten Studio, 2pm).
  • Scratch Choir: Christmas: Join the Scratch Choir for a day of learning and performing festive repertoire with conductor Ben Vonberg-Clark (18 December, Britten Studio, 11am).

The Red House

  • This year’s Heritage Open Days theme is ‘Routes – Networks – Connections’ and there will a special archive exhibition on the people that formed part of Britten’s local and creative community in Aldeburgh and further afield. This year’s exhibition ‘The Composer’s Place’ also looks at Britten’s roots in Suffolk, along with his international experiences and inspirations (7 – 15 September, The Red House, free but please book).
  • Heritage Open Days: Imogen Holst’s House: A special opening of the home of composer, conductor, and educator Imogen Holst which offers a fascinating glimpse into her life and work. This one-bed bungalow is an enchanting capsule of mid-century aesthetic, designed and built by HT ‘Jim’ Cadbury-Brown (5 – 8 September, 9 Church Walk, Aldeburgh, free but please book).
  • Red House Guided Tours: Eight-person, 90-minute tour through Britten and Pears’ house, studio and library and a visit to the archive. Every Wednesday until 30 October.
  • Spooky Sounds at The Red House: This October half-term, hear some hair-raising Suffolk tales and learn how we can bring the stories alive by adding musical effects. Children will create their own sound-effect kit and tell their own spooky stories at home (31 October – 1 November, Imogen Holst Room, The Red House, various times).
  • Britten’s Birthday: The Red House Open Day: Celebrate Benjamin Britten’s birthday, who was born 111 years ago in 1913. The house, studio and library will be open to visit, along with the exhibitions ‘The Composer’s Place’ and ‘Pears and Colour’. There will also be a special display in the archive to mark this special occasion (22 November, The Red House, 11am – 3pm).
  • Bereavement Café: Run by Britten Pears Arts’ trained volunteers, in partnership with St Elizabeth Hospice, the Bereavement Café hopes to provide a social space for people who are facing bereavement to talk about their experience of loss in a safe, relaxed environment (every Wednesday from 17 April – 18 December, The Red House).

Red House Recitals

  • In SomniaMezzo-soprano Marta Fontanals-Simmons and pianist Lana Bode have drawn on their personal experiences of grief, loss and transformation to curate the programme In Somnia – a healing journey through dreams. Song cycles by Frederic Mompou and Ethel Smyth form the backbone of the programme, interspersed with a kaleidoscope of songs from 20th-and 21st-century composers (8 November, Library, The Red House, 6pm).
  • Britten’s Birthday: A special recital commemorating Benjamin Britten’s birthday by soprano Francesca Chiejina, mezzo-soprano Bethany Horak-Hallett and pianist Natalie Birch, featuring songs drawn from their recent album Our Indifferent Century (22 November, Library, the Red House, 6pm).

Full listings online at www.brittenpearsarts.org

Images available here.

Tickets go on general sale on 3 August at 10am.