The 2016 Aldeburgh Festival opens on 10th June – 23rd June with a 17-day celebration with birds, circus and pianos at its heart.
This year the Aldeburgh Festival opens with the spectacular verve of circus artistry as the richly-hued surrealism of Rimbaud’s poetry inspires Illuminations – Struan Leslie’s newly-commissioned staging of music by Britten and others.
The centrepiece of the Festival is the Catalogue d’Oiseaux project, a day that brings Olivier Messiaen’s grand evocation of birdsong to life as never before. Artistic Director Pierre-Laurent Aimard not only performs the whole piece over four concerts set against stunning natural backdrops from sunrise to midnight, but also programmes a final-weekend celebration of piano playing that brings to the stage international performers, brilliant young musicians – and possibly you as well, if you’re prepared to take our Grade 1 Challenge!
There are many more threads to follow through the Festival: a four-concert residency from the French orchestra Les Sie`cles who are redefining period instrument practice; a series that juxtaposes contemporaries Britten and Michael Tippett; concerts that look 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 this year’s three featured composers, Julian Anderson, Benedict Mason and Rebecca Saunders.
Further highlights include 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.