3 things you might not know about Aldeburgh Festival 2016

You’ve probably already heard a lot about circus and birds. Here is a small selection of things you might not know about this year’s programme:
1. Around a third of the events are in one way or another ‘home grown’.
That is, a third of the projects have been devised or developed at Snape or have grown out of our year-round programme of artist development and residencies – a statistic that marks Aldeburgh [read more…]

Grade One Challenge – the quiz

We’re on part 11 of our Grade One Challenge videos, so it’s time to put your knowledge to the test! If you haven’t quite caught up with our videos yet, check out our playlist (Clue: it will really help you with the quiz!).
Good luck!

The grade one challenge quiz
It’s time to put your knowledge to the test! See how much you’ve learnt so far from practising and watching our weekly videos. [read more…]

Perceptions – Castalian Quartet at Warren Hill Prison

On the penultimate day of this blissful time in Aldeburgh on a residency, as London loomed, we were taken to Her Majesty’s Prison Warren Hill. The Chef, Yogi and Boggler already knew this was going to be a meaningful, memorable and positive experience for all involved. I must admit that I was not sure at all.

How to get a soprano airborne – rehearsals for Illuminations

There’s a lot going on in Illuminations, the show that opens the Aldeburgh Festival on 10 June. A chamber orchestra, a soprano and a troupe of circus performers on a set to fill Snape Maltings Concert Hall stage to convey the opulent sounds of Britten’s settings of Rimbaud’s poetry. Over the past few months the ideas on how exactly this will happen are starting to fall into place.
In late January, [read more…]

My Grade 1 Challenge

I’ve never played the piano. The flute and recorder, sure. As an ambitious 14 year-old I even attempted the three-quarter length guitar, even if it was just to play the chord sequence of Don’t Look Back in Anger.
But not the piano. Was it a fear of my muddled beginner’s fingers desecrating those 88 pristine, shining keys? Or the imagined scene of all those great composers sitting serenely at their pianos, [read more…]

Why stage Illuminations with circus artists?

Since January, Struan Leslie has been at the National Centre for Circus Arts working with a hand picked ensemble of circus performers. They’ve been devising the moves and sequences that will accompany and “illuminate” the music the creative team have picked to go with Britten’s song cycle. In this video Struan explains why circus goes so well with that music and you can see some of the moves that are being prepared by the group.

A few highlights from Aldeburgh Festival 2016 (10-26 June)

As many begin to wind down for Christmas, we are also gearing up to announce the full 2016 Festival programme in January. Here in the meantime, to mull with your wine over the break, is a tempting snippet of what will be on offer…
Catalogue d’Oiseaux
Sunday 19 June

The Festival centrepiece sees Artistic Director and world-renowned pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard bring Olivier Messiaen’s grand evocation of birdsong Catalogue d’Oiseaux to life as never before. [read more…]

October with Aldeburgh Young Musicians

October has been full of activity for Aldeburgh Young Musicians, with an Apprentice Day led by Matthew Jones, an Open House weekend, an induction to this academic year’s mentor scheme, a project composing the music for parts of Aldeburgh Music’s Britten Weekend, and a preparation weekend with folk trio The Young’uns (the beginning of a very exciting collaboration – more news to come next year), all before we reached the [read more…]

Tir Eolas and Jo Lewis in Aldeburgh – Hedi’s diary

It very quickly became clear that our, in hindsight totally naïve and ignorant notions of the seaside being primarily a lovely place for all to bask in the sunshine and eat ice cream while flying kites, was indeed naïve and ignorant. Many of the residents, belonging to a previous generation, had first hand experience of being out on the fishing boats, and many of the women had husbands or brothers who would spend extended periods away at sea. A much darker narrative begun to emerge – one which encompassed the harsh realities and dangers of the fishing trade as well as the vulnerable anguish of loved ones left on land.

Tractors, traffic lights and the A12. A new singing initiative in Lowestoft

It has become a running joke in the office, my frequent trips up the A12 to Lowestoft. I know things are getting out of hand because I am finding entertainment in achieving an mpg of 50 or above and the Jeremy Vine show on Radio 2. I also get lost a lot when I actually get to Lowestoft. It does add excitement to the day but is it time efficient? [read more…]