A 17-day celebration with birds, circus and pianos at its heart.
Watch the Aldeburgh Festival 2016 wrap-up video, or read on for more about each concert.
10, 12 & 13 June
In 2016 we opened with the spectacular verve of circus artistry in Struan Leslie’s staging of music by Britten and others inspired by richly-hued surrealism of Rimbaud’s poetry. Soprano Sarah Tynan and Aurora Orchestra were enveloped in spectacular contemporary circus performance as Benjamin Britten’s song cycle Les Illuminations was staged as never before.
Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph
Saturday 11 June
Karl Amadeus Hartmann Violin Sonata No.2
Johann Sebastian Bach Partita in B minor, BWV 1002
Bernd Alois Zimmermann Solo Violin Sonata
Bach Partita in D minor, BWV 1004
Saturday 11 June
Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
Ilan Volkov conductor
Benedict Mason Nodding Trilliums and Curve-Lined Angles
Julian Anderson The Comedy of Change
Mason Horns Strings and Harmony
Included a family concert introducing Benedict Mason to children.
Festival Masterclasses: Bernada Fink
Internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink teaches an intensive Britten–Pears Young Artist Programme course on Slavic Song alongside pianist Anthony Spiri, focusing on songs by Dvořák, Janáček, Smetena, Suk and Balakirev, as well as Slovenian folk-songs.
11, 12, 14 & 15 June
A residency from the French orchestra Les Siècles who are redefining period instrument practice. Conducted by François-Xavier Roth in four concerts which juxtapose works composed centuries apart on the instruments the composers would be familiar with.
Jean-Philippe Rameau Daphnis et Eglé (extracts)
Maurice Ravel Daphnis et Chloé
Benjamin Britten Harp Suite in C, Op.83
György Kurtág Six Miniatures for solo violin
Toru Takemitsu Toward the Seas II
Claude Debussy Syrinx
Jean Cras Quintet
Debussy Sonata for flute, viola and harp
Albert Roussel Sérénade, Op.30
Steve Reich Vermont Counterpoint, Tehillim
Johann Sebastian Bach Magnificat in D, BWV 243
Alban Berg Chamber Concerto for piano, violin and 13 wind instruments
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Serenade in B flat major for 13 wind instruments ‘Gran Partita’, K.361
Festival Masterclasses: Pierre-Laurent Aimard
Together with Tamara Stefanovich, Pierre-Laurent Aimard coach pianists on the Britten–Pears Young Artist Programme on Messiaen’s Catalogue d’Oiseaux and Petites esquisses d’oiseaux.
Sunday 19 June, 2016
The Festival centrepiece was a day that brought Olivier Messiaen’s grand evocation of birdsong to life as never before. Artistic Director Pierre-Laurent Aimard not only performed the whole Catalogue d’Oiseaux over four concerts set against stunning natural backdrops from sunrise to midnight, but also programmed a final-weekend celebration of piano playing that brings to the stage international performers, brilliant young musicians and members of the public on our Grade 1 Challenge.
"masterful, with an incisive brilliance and relentless focus"
Michael White, New York Times
There were many more threads through the Festival: a four-concert residency from the French orchestra Les Siècles who are redefining period instrument practice; a series that juxtaposed contemporaries Britten and Michael Tippett; concerts that looked back 100 years with music composed during the First World War and premieres of new pieces inspired by the war co-commissioned with 14-18 NOW; and premieres and works by three featured composers, Julian Anderson, Benedict Mason and Rebecca Saunders.
Further highlights included John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir, Emanuel Ax, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Ian Bostridge, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia and projects from Solomon’s Knot & Mira Calix and Kit Downes & Tom Challenger that have been developed on Aldeburgh residencies, plus masterclasses with Thomas Quasthoff, Bernarda Fink and Pierre-Laurent Aimard, walks, talks, films and exhibitions, the 30+ non-classical events at The Pumphouse fringe, and free music every lunchtime on the Bandstand on the Beach.