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Guide to the Aldeburgh Festival


8th - 24th June 2018

Snape Maltings is a unique place of energy and inspiration and one of the world’s leading centres of music, hosting outstanding concerts and festivals throughout the year, from the flagship Aldeburgh Festival – one of the world’s most significant classical events – to the broad range of music including folk, world music and jazz of the Snape Proms. Set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the Suffolk coast, it is the realisation of Suffolk-born composer Benjamin Britten’s vision of a creative campus where musicians of all ages, backgrounds and career stages are given the time, space and support to develop their work and create new work surrounded by the natural environment.

Inspired by the vast skies and moody seas of the Suffolk coast, Britten and Pears, along with writer Eric Crozier, founded the Aldeburgh Festival in 1948. Pioneering an era of arts organisations engaging in the education and support of young artists, they brought together international stars and emerging talent; world-renowned figures such as Menuhin, Sviatoslav Richter and Rostropovich and young stars in the making such as Söderström, Perahia and Bream.

In its earlier years, the Festival used halls and churches local to Aldeburgh; Orford, Framlingham and Blythburgh amongst them. With ever increasing popularity there came the need for a permanent home for the Festival and in 1967, two years after malting had ceased, Aldeburgh Festival moved into its new home, Snape Maltings Concert Hall. Originally explored as a place to store opera scenery, the vision of Britten and his colleagues saw the largest of the malthouses as the perfect building to convert into a concert hall. In 1967, Snape Maltings Concert Hall was opened by HM The Queen. Disastrously, fire struck two years later in 1969 and the Concert Hall needed rebuilding, to be opened once again by the Queen on her second visit, in 1970.

The Aldeburgh Festival continues to have education and artist development at its heart, with residencies and masterclasses ever present alongside international talent.

For further information visit the Aldeburgh Festival site.

Upcoming eventsSee more...

SnapeBritten, Bernstein and America I

Britten, Copland, Bernstein
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; John Wilson; Robert Murray; Cédric Tiberghien

AldeburghTo See The InvisibleWorld première

Howard: To See The Invisible
Richard Baker; Dan Ayling; Ana Inés Jabares-Pita; Nicholas Morris; Anna Dennis; Anne Mason

BlythburghBach in Blythburgh I

Mozart, Bach
Phantasm; Sean Shibe

SnapeBritten, Bernstein and America II

Britten, Bernstein, Copland
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; John Wilson; Pavel Kolesnikov; Claire Chase
Latest reviewsSee more...

Boy Donne good: Toby Spence at Snape Maltings

Julian Milford and Toby Spence © Sam Murray-Sutton
Spence sounds confident in an evening of Tippett and Britten at Snape, culminating in a spinetingling account of John Donne's Holy Sonnet X
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Music more than words: Britten and Tippett at Snape

© Arcadia Quartet
Ian Bostridge's exploration of Britten and Tippett song cycles is overshadowed by a fantastic string quartet in a mixed programme at Aldeburgh.
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Britten's Les Illuminations at Aldeburgh Festival

Sarah Tynan © Mark Allan
An evening of exceptional originality and daring in Snape Maltings – not to mention glorious music – got the Aldeburgh Festival off to a striking start for the 2016 season.
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