Highlights include:

  • Easter Weekend features The Sixteen and Harry Christophers 
  • Visiting artists and ensembles include the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and pianist Sir András Schiff; mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená and pianist Mitsuko Uchida; and Aurora Orchestra and Nicholas Collon
  • English Touring Opera presents productions of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress & Puccini’s Manon Lescaut
  • The Britten Pears Young Artist Programme presents a Friday Lunchtime concert series at Aldeburgh Jubilee Hall, and a week of intensive training with leading performers and interpreters in contemporary chamber music – led by the Bozzini Quartet
  • A Singing Day with John Rutter and a Scratch Choir Day performing works by Judith Weir, Master of the King’s Music
  • Family concerts include Britten Sinfonia and James Mayhew bringing to life his award-winning book Once Upon A Tune
  • Six Open Sessions offer a unique chance to go behind the scenes and experience work-in-progress created during Britten Pears Arts Residencies
  • “I belong…in Aldeburgh” is The Red House’s 2024 exhibition marking the 75th Aldeburgh Festival

January to May 2024 sees Britten Pears Arts present a wide range of activity from the familiar to the brand-new including opera, premieres, leading performers, and orchestras and ensembles alongside rising stars, talks and more. 

Easter Weekend: 29 & 30 March

  • On Easter Saturday, The Sixteen and Harry Christophers return to Snape Maltings to perform a programme of French music with Duruflé’s beautiful and moving Requiem at its heart. It sets the Latin Mass for the Dead and is dedicated to the memory of his father. The subtle rhythms and fluid lines of Gregorian chant permeate the whole work, personalised by the colours, harmonies and rhythms of a deeply religious 20th-century musician. Complementing this are Poulenc’s powerful winter lamentation Un soir de neige and the deeply personal Litanies à la Vierge noire, plus the Agnus Dei from Martin’s shimmering Mass for Double Choir (30 March, 7pm, Snape Maltings Concert Hall).
  • On Good Friday the Van Kuijk Quartet gives a Friday Lunchtime concert with a programme including Debussy, Ravel and Fauré alongside Mozart’s first String Quartet which he wrote aged 14 (29 March, 12pm, Aldeburgh Jubilee Hall). 

Visiting Artists, Ensembles & Orchestras

  • The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Sir András Schiff present an all-Mendelssohn programme including his Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25. This is set alongside Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op 11 and Symphony No. 4 in A Major, Op 90 (21 April, 7.30pm, Snape Maltings Concert Hall).
  • Mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená and pianist Mitsuko Uchida have been performing together for over a decade and present an evening of French song by Debussy and Messiaen. The programme pairs Messiaen’s dramatic and affectionate “Poèmes pour Mi” – dedicated to his first wife – with three cycles by the French impressionist Debussy, including his sensuous settings of Pierre Louÿs and the Ariette oubliées (Forgotten Songs) that set Paul Verlaine texts (27 April, 7.30pm, Snape Maltings Concert Hall).
  • Aurora Orchestra and conductor Nicholas Collon return to Snape Maltings to perform another great orchestral work from memory, this time Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony. The programme also celebrates youth with Strauss’ Horn Concerto No. 1 which he composed at aged 18 and the soloist – Annemarie Federle – became Aurora’s youngest ever principal player aged 20 (10 May, 7.30pm, Snape Maltings Concert Hall).
  • Aldeburgh Voices marks the 75th Aldeburgh Festival in 2024 by reimagining a choral concert from the second Festival in June 1949. The programme features three contrasting settings of the Mass from across the centuries: Taverner’s Western Wynde Mass, inspired by a 16th-century folk tune, contrasts with two more modern works – the colourful harmony of Kodaly and the condensed drama of Britten (20 April, 7pm, St Mary’s Church, Bury St Edmunds).

English Touring Opera: 22 – 23 March

  • English Touring Opera returns to Snape with productions of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress and Puccini’s Manon Lescaut.
  • The Rake’s Progress charts young Tom Rakewell’s journey from unexpected riches to ruin at the hands of his own naivety and a devilish new friend. One of Stravinsky’s crowning achievements in his pioneering career, the opera is a cynical but ultimately humanistic depiction of how the devil finds work for idle hands. The production is led by director Polly Graham, Artistic Director of Longborough Festival Opera, and conductor Jack Sheen. The opera is in English with surtitles (22 March, 7.30pm, Snape Maltings Concert Hall).
  • Based on Provost’s book, Manon Lescaut is a devastating depiction of a woman wrestling with her desire for love on her own terms, and the rigid double standards imposed on her by society. Jude Christian, fresh from a critically acclaimed Titus Andronicus at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, brings her incisive direction and a sharp, poetic new translation to the production. ETO Music Director Gerry Cornelius is the conductor. The opera is in English with surtitles (23 March, 7.30pm, Snape Maltings Concert Hall).

Britten Pears Young Artist Programme

Friday Lunchtime Concerts: January to March

Masterclasses: Chamber Futures with Bozzini Quartet

  • A week of engaging public masterclasses in which the international cohort of emerging young artists on the 2023-24 Britten Pears Young Artists Programme explore the world of contemporary chamber music under the guidance of expert tutors the Bozzini Quartet.
  • The Finale concert is the culmination of the week and features performances from the four young chamber ensembles – Calathea QuartetAestus QuartetEnsemble Renard and Lumas Winds. (29 March, 4pm, Britten Studio).

Family Events

  • James Mayhew joins Britten Sinfonia to bring to life his award-winning book Once Upon A Tune: Stories from the Orchestra. The stories of celebrated pieces of music – including Grieg’s The Hall of the Mountain King, Dukas’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade and Rossini’s William Tell – emerge before your eyes as James’s captivating work on his easel is projected onto a big screen. (13 April, – 11am & 1.30pm, Britten Studio).

Participatory Events

  • Singing Days with John Rutter bring together hundreds of singers for a unique combination of choral workshopping and community-building, led by John along with soprano soloist Melanie Marshall and pianist Gavin Roberts. In this immersive day, singers will explore some of John’s best-loved world-famous music including ‘Feel the Spirit’, alongside some of his own favourite choral music from across the centuries (17 February, 11am – 5pm, Snape Maltings Concert Hall).
  • Scratch Choir: Spend a day learning Judith Weir’s One Day to Sing and Like as the Hart, composed for the state funeral of HM Queen Elizabeth II, led by conductor Ben Vonberg-Clark (3 April, 11am – 4pm, Snape Maltings Concert Hall).

Artist Development

Open Sessions offer a unique chance to go behind the scenes and experience work-in-progress created during Britten Pears Arts Residencies. The following are taking place from February to May:

  • Reload: The perspective of a young black father living in an inner-city neighbourhood, his project Father/Hood explores themes such as poverty, ‘adultification’, hope and aspirations, and special educational needs (SEN) through collaborative efforts with live musicians, electronic producers, and practitioners from the education and health sectors.  (9 February, 4pm, Britten Studio).
  • Laura Bowler: Across a week-long residency, Laura will be collaborating with three composers on three new commissions. The pieces are specifically designed to expand Laura’s practice as a performer, whether it be through physicality, multilingual performance, expansion of her vocal palette or the development of a choreographed movement language linked to live electronic expansion of the voice (10 February, 2pm, Jerwood Kiln).
  • Liza Bec and Elischa Kaminer have been exploring personal and collective narratives of control, care and kink through improvisation, composing and choreography in their residency (8 March, 3pm, Jerwood Kiln).
  • Holysseus Flyand her team of musicians and dancers will be developing her live show, coupling creative authenticity with the emotional intimacy of James Blake and the showmanship and visual artistry of Bjork or Lady Gaga. (19 April, 5pm, Jerwood Kiln).
  • In their Residency, Magnus Westwellwill develop music and performance which will be the beginnings of a new recording, and a live interdisciplinary music and dance production to be released and premiered in 2024. (19 April, 6.30pm, Britten Studio).
  • With ISOLASHUN, Aditya Prakash is creating a new genre built on the foundations of Karnatik music, jazz, performance art, and theatre and exploring this in their residency (26 April, 7.30pm, Britten Studio).
  • Bill Ryder-Jones is most known for his work as a producer and a writer/performer of traditional ‘band’ based music. Rarely straying too far from his Wirral studio ‘Yawn’, this residency is a rare opportunity for Bill to explore ideas without a fixed outcome (10 May, 5.30pm, Jerwood Kiln).

Aldeburgh Young Musicians

  • Open House with Peter Latanka is open to any young musician aged 10-18 who has a passion for jazz and would like to discover more about the AYM programme. The workshop is an opportunity for those who are currently studying and looking for opportunities to expand their musical experiences (3 February, 10am – 5pm, Britten Studio).
  • The young artists of AYM perform music inspired from numerous styles in the expansive lineage of Black American music (23 February, 4pm, Peter Pears Recital Room).
  • Early Music or Folk Music: which came first? Join Aldeburgh Young Musicians, under the guidance of Holly Harman, as they present a mixture of repertoire which displays how folk and western traditional music grew from the same seed. (5 April, 4pm, Britten Studio).

The Red House

I belong…in Aldeburgh”: Britten, the Festival, and his Suffolk Home

  • An exhibition exploring Britten and Pears’ lives in Aldeburgh and how this coastal town inspired them to establish the Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts.
  • In 1942, Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears returned to the UK, and specifically Suffolk, after their three-year stay in America. They returned first to Britten’s home in Snape and then, in 1947, moved to Crag House in Aldeburgh with its uninterrupted views of the sea. A year later the Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts was born, and it celebrates its 75th Festival in 2024.
  • This exhibition explores the importance of this part of the Suffolk cost to the Aldeburgh Festival’s founders and how the Festival grew into an event of international excellence which has always remained true to its roots (From 28 March, The Red House).

Red House Recitals

  • Pianist Juliette Journaux, the Viola Tunnard Young Artist, and mezzo-soprano Mathilde Ortscheidt present a programme of Britten and Mahler (4 April, 5 & 7pm, The Red House Library).
  • Soprano Mimi Doulton and pianist Dylan Perez present Emily Dickinson settings by Alison Bauld (who, on her 80th birthday, will also attend and take part) and Aaron Copland, alongside highlights from Messiaen’s Chants de terre et de ciel (7 May, 6pm, The Red House Library).

Mini Music Makers

  • Mini Music Makers is a Friday morning session of fun music and play activities for 0–5-year-olds. Join Joe and friends for singing and creative play: great for the little ones to learn social skills, turn-taking, sharing and of course, how to have fun (12 January – 31 May, 10am, Imogen Holst Room, The Red House).

Full listings online at www.brittenpearsarts.org

Tickets go on sale on 25 November at 10am.