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A Celebration of Aldeburgh Festivals

12-28 June See All Events

In collaboration with partners including BBC Radio 3, BBC Four and BBC iPlayer, we present a celebration of Aldeburgh Festivals, with an offering of remarkable events from recent years to watch, listen to and explore online, as well as insights and projects delving much further back into the history of this unique festival.

Aldeburgh Festival 2021 is scheduled for 11-27 June. We look forward to welcoming you back to Snape again soon.

Please donate to ensure that, despite the unprecedented impact of Covid-19, Snape Maltings and The Red House can remain places of inspiration for our communities, audiences and artists for generations to come. Thank you.

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Film premiere: Illuminations

From Saturday 27 June

The 2016 Aldeburgh Festival opened with Illuminations, a new work directed by Struan Leslie and performed by soprano Sarah Tynan, Aurora Orchestra, and an ensemble of circus artists.

The film of the finale to that night, Britten’s Les Illuminations, was premiered on what would have been the opening night of the 2020 Aldeburgh Festival, and will be available until 12 July.

The full performance has was available for 48 hours only from 27 June, and has now been taken down.

Aldeburgh Musicircus online experience

From Friday 12 June

In his piece Musicircus, John Cage invites many artists to perform different pieces in the same space at the same time. As Cage said, ‘You won’t hear anything: you’ll hear everything’. In 2014 we expanded this idea, assembling nearly 1,000 performers across Aldeburgh’s centre and seafront – the largest ever gathering of musicians in the town. You can now create your own version of the experience, using our interactive Aldeburgh Musicircus web app.

Peter Grimes on Aldeburgh Beach

BBC iPlayer: Watch with us on Sunday 21 June, 7pm

“a remarkable, and surely unrepeatable achievement” – The Guardian

“It ranks among the most extraordinary stage experiences I’ve ever had” – The Telegraph

Directed by Tim Albery, conducted by Steuart Bedford and with a cast featuring Alan Oke as Peter Grimes and Giselle Allen as Ellen Orford, the 2013 Festival staging of Britten’s opera Peter Grimes on Aldeburgh beach was unforgettable for those who saw it live. We are delighted to have the film, directed for screen by Margaret Williams, available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

Britten on Camera

BBC Four: Friday 12 June, 7pm

Commissioned for Britten’s centenary in 2013, Britten on Camera, narrated by James Naughtie, presents some of the highlights of Britten’s broadcast legacy. He was one of the great classical composers of the broadcasting age and his music was regularly performed on radio and television throughout his working life. This documentary explores the dynamic relationship he developed with the BBC to bring classical music to wider audiences. Contributors include David Attenborough, Michael Crawford, Humphrey Burton and Nicholas Kenyon.

Festival Memories

As part of our Celebration of Aldeburgh Festivals, we are aiming to build a memory store covering each year of the 72 year of the Aldeburgh Festival. We have started building a timeline of memories below and we would love you to contribute. To send us your memories, please fill in this simple online form.

Radio 3 Broadcasts

BBC Radio 3 has been broadcasting from the Aldeburgh Festival for more than 50 years, and it delves into the archive to broadcast six memorable concerts from the last decade.

BBC Radio 3 in Concert: BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra / John Wilson

John Wilson conducts the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in a concert from 2018 exploring Britten’s wartime experience of America, the relationships that took him there and echoes of home. Listen again on BBC iPlayer

Opera on 3: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Netia Jones’ new production of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream opened the 2017 Festival, conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth and featuring a cast including Iestyn Davies, Sophie Bevan, Matthew Rose, Clive Bayley and Andrew Shore. Listen again on BBC iPlayer

Tuesday 23 June, 7.30pm
BBC Radio 3 in Concert: CBSO / Rattle

Sir Simon Rattle conducts the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) in a performance of Messiaen’s Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde from the 2011 Festival. He is joined by soloists Magdalena Kozena and Michael Schade. Listen again on BBC iPlayer

Wednesday 24 June, 7.30pm
BBC Radio 3 in Concert: Cedric Tiberghien and the Chiaroscuro Quartet

In 2018 Cédric Tiberghien and the period strings of the Chiaroscuro Quartet explored chamber music by German Romantic greats with a programme including Schumann and Mendelssohn. Listen again on BBC iPlayer

Thursday 25 June, 7.30pm
BBC Radio 3 in Concert: Vox Luminis

In 2017 Lionel Meunier and his award-winning Belgian early music vocal group Vox Luminis made their Aldeburgh Festival debut. This programme from Blythburgh Church marked the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s Reformation and includes a selection of Bach Cantatas set alongside Schütz’s Musikalische Exequien. Listen again on BBC iPlayer

Friday 26 June, 7.30pm
BBC Radio 3 in Concert: BBC SO / Knussen

Oliver Knussen had a long-standing relationship with both the Aldeburgh Festival and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. This concert from 2018 was his final performance. The typically inventive programme features Copland’s Appalachian Spring, Structures by Feldman and the premiere of Philip Cashian’s The Book of Ingenious Devices. Listen again on BBC iPlayer