NEW! 2019 Aldeburgh Festival at the Snape Maltings in June



Aldeburgh Festival 2019: 7 – 23 June

  • Three Artists in Residence each curate a part of Aldeburgh Festival 2019: composer Thomas Larcher, tenor Mark Padmore and conductor & soprano Barbara Hannigan
  • Thomas Larcher’s acclaimed first opera The Hunting Gun opens the Festival and pianist
    Paul Lewis gives the world premiere of Larcher’s Aldeburgh Festival commission
  • Mark Padmore performs in seven concerts and explores the relationship between words and music with leading poets
  • Barbara Hannigan appears in five events, singing Satie, Grisey and Gershwin and conducting the Ludwig Orchestra in several events including Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress
  • Further residencies from Vox Luminis, Stephen Hough, Alisa Weilerstein, Ryan Wigglesworth and Roderick Williams
  • Further orchestral concerts include the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Karina Cannellakis and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with Edward Gardner
  • Music by the late Oliver Knussen features throughout and the Festival presents the debut performances of the Knussen Chamber Orchestra
  • Britten–Pears Young Artist public masterclasses led by Antonio Pappano and Mark Padmore
  • Seven world premieres by Charlotte Bray, Caterina di Cecca, Thomas Larcher, Joanna Lee, Nico Muhly, Frederik Neyrinck and Freya Waley-Cohen
  • BBC Radio 3 hosts a special evening of poetry with readings and performances exploring the essence of poetry’s relationship with music

For full information, see

The Festival takes place 7 – 23 June 2019 and features three Artists in Residence – composer Thomas Larcher, tenor Mark Padmore and soprano and conductor Barbara Hannigan – who have each curated parts of the Festival. Thomas Larcher’s opera The Hunting Gun receives its UK premiere and opens the Festival. Mark Padmore explores the relationship between poetry and music and Barbara Hannigan conducts singers from her Equilibrium Young Artist programme, making their UK debut, in a performance of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, an opera in which she sang one of her first major roles. Further residents include pianist Stephen Hough, baritone Roderick Williams, composer-conductor Ryan Wigglesworth, cellist Alisa Weilerstein and early music ensemble Vox Luminis. The Festival pays tribute to the late Oliver Knussen with pieces performed in many events as well as the debut of a new ensemble – the Knussen Chamber Orchestra.

Thomas Larcher

Thomas Larcher’s first opera The Hunting Gun received great acclaim at its world premiere at the 2018 Bregenz Festival. The Hunting Gun receives its UK premiere (7 June), opening Aldeburgh Festival 2019 with two performances across the first weekend. With a libretto by Friederike Gösweiner and directed by Austrian actor and film director Karl Markovics, the story is based on Yasushi Inoue’s best-selling 1945 Japanese novella. The cast includes Samuel BodenPeter SchöneSarah AristidouGiulia Peri and Olivia Vermeulen, with the Knussen Chamber Orchestra conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth. Larcher’s residency also features the composer’s four string quartets performed by the Albion Quartet (Cold Farmer11 June), the Ardeo Quartet (IXXU,13 June), the Heath Quartet (Madhares, 15 June) and Quatuor Diotima (Lucid Dreams20 June). Larcher’s music is heard throughout the Festival, with pianist Paul Lewis giving the world premiere of the composer’s Aldeburgh Festival commission, Movement for Piano (8 June); the orchestral work Red and Green is performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra (15 June); and as part of the closing concert of the Festival (23 June), cellist Alisa Weilerstein joins the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and conductor Edward Gardner for a performance of Ouroboros for cello and orchestra.

Mark Padmore

Tenor Mark Padmore believes that musicians and audiences can gain a richer experience of songs by thinking more closely about the words set. Over the course of four Poetry & Music events, writer, broadcaster and performer Dr Kate Kennedy is joined by leading poets to discuss the texts set by Britten in his song cycles Winter Words (Thomas Hardy), The Holy Sonnets of John DonneSongs and Proverbs of William Blake, and Who Are These Children? (William Soutar). The discussions are followed by performances from Mark PadmoreRoderick Williams and pianist Andrew West. As teacher, Padmore leads a week-long masterclass series on Singing Britten (17-22 June). Padmore’s residency also includes a performance of Thomas Larcher’s A Padmore Cycle, accompanied by the composer (9 June). Padmore is joined by baritone Roderick Williams, pianist Julius Drake and a guest actor for an evening of spoken word and songs evoking the sea as captured by Britten, Coleridge, Elgar, Eliot, Fauré, Shakespeare and Tippett, among others (13 June). Padmore, Williams and guests recreate a special event which took place in 1828: the only known concert with an all-Schubert programme to have taken place during the composer’s lifetime (17 June).

Barbara Hannigan

As part of Aldeburgh Festival’s collaboration with the Ojai Festival in California where she is the 2019 Festival Music Director, soprano and conductor Barbara Hannigan curates concerts in the final week, performing four events with the Ludwig Orchestra from the Netherlands. Hannigan performs a recital of Satie’s music with her long-time collaborator, pianist Reinbert de Leeuw (17 June). Hannigan returns to one of her first major operatic roles, Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, but this time as conductor rather than singer. It will be the first opera production to feature Hannigan as conductor and she has hand-picked the cast from her Equilibrium Young Artist programme, who make their UK debut, for a staging devised by Swedish director and designer Linus Fellbom. They are joined by the Ludwig Orchestra and the Chorus of Opera Holland Park (20 June). Hannigan conducts Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht and sings Grisey’s Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil (21 June). She conducts Stravinsky’s Pulcinella and Haydn’s Symphony No.49 before directing and singing Gershwin’s Suite from Girl Crazy (22 June). She also narrates Walton and Sitwell’s ‘entertainment’, Façade (23 June).

Further Residencies

Early music ensemble Vox Luminis and director Lionel Meunier return for a three-concert residency following their successful Aldeburgh debut in 2017. They begin with Motets and Cantatas by JS Bach and family (14 June); a programme dedicated to St Cecilia featuring Britten and Handel (16 June) and music for the coronation and funeral of Queen Mary (18 June). Stephen Hough gives a solo piano recital with works by Bach, Chopin, Busoni, Knussen, Liszt, as well as his own Sonata No.4 (12 June). He also performs Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.4 with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra on the final afternoon of the festival (23 June). Acclaimed cellist Alisa Weilerstein performs all the Bach Cellos Suites over the course of two concerts (19 and 21 June) and completes her residency with Larcher’s Ouroboros for cello and orchestra (23 June). Roderick Williams appears in three concerts: the Poetry and Music series (18 June), Schubert 1828 (17 June) and The Sea, The Sea (13 June). Composer-conductor Ryan Wigglesworth conducts Thomas Larcher’s The Hunting Gun (7 and 9 June) and leads the debut of the Knussen Chamber Orchestra including the world premiere of his own Aldeburgh Festival commission (11 June).

Other Leading Artists and Ensembles

Two of the UK’s leading orchestras return to the Festival in 2019. Karina Cannellakis makes her Aldeburgh debut with the BBC Symphony Orchestra featuring soprano Sarah Tynan performing Britten’s Our Hunting Fathers (15 June)The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Edward Gardner, play Tippett’s Concerto for Double String Orchestra, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.4 with Stephen Hough, Larcher’s Ouroboros for cello and orchestra with soloist Alisa Weilerstein, and closes with Bartok’s Suite: The Miraculous Mandarin (23 June). Tenebrae and its director Nigel Short perform a typically wide ranging programme featuring Byrd, Tallis and James MacMillan (9 June). Pierre-Laurent Aimard returns to give an eclectic piano recital including music by Knussen, Carter, Benjamin and the world premiere of a Festival commission by Charlotte Bray (10 June) and leading lutenist Elizabeth Kenny explores music for the theorbo from the early 17th century by Piccinini, Kapsberger and de Visée alongside 21st century works by James MacMillan, Benjamin Oliver and a world premiere by Nico Muhly (15 June).

Oliver Knussen

2019 marks 50 year since Oliver Knussen was commissioned by Britten for the Aldeburgh Festival, aged just 17. His last concerts were in Snape at the 2018 Festival and it is fitting that the Festival remembers him both as a friend and as a figurehead of contemporary music. His works appears throughout the Festival. Ryan Wigglesworth conducts the debut concerts of the Knussen Chamber Orchestra which includes Knussen’s Scriabin Settings and O Hototogisu! (11 June). Other tributes see Stephen Hough perform Prayer Bell Sketch in his solo recital (12 June); Danny Koo and pianist Daniel Lebhardt’s Britten–Pears Young Artists concert features Autumnal and Ophelia’s Last Dance (14 June); the Ulysses Ensemble opens its concert with Coursing (14 June) and Nicholas Daniel and friends present three of Knussen’s chamber works, including the revival of the unhappily titled Fire, the work for the 1969 festival that premiered just days after the new Snape Maltings had burned down (22 June). Aldeburgh Cinema shows Oliver Knussen: Sounds from the Big White House, a Barrie Gavin film celebrating his 50th birthday (14 June).

New Music

The Aldeburgh Festival presents seven world premieres in 2019: Thomas Larcher’s Movement for Piano is presented by pianist Paul Lewis (8 June); Charlotte Bray’s Aldeburgh Festival commission is premiered by Pierre-Laurent Aimard (10 June); the Albion Quartet performs Freya Waley-Cohen’s new string quartet (11 June); Ryan Wigglesworth’s piece receives its first performance from the Knussen Chamber Orchestra and is a tribute from the composer to his mentor and friend (11 June); the Ulysses Ensemble performs Rome-based Caterina di Cecca’s new chamber work; Nico Muhly’s new work for theorbo, performed by Elizabeth Kenny, exploits the unconventional tuning system and expressive possibilities of the instrument (15 June) and Nicholas Daniel, Adam Walker and the Britten Oboe Quartet premiere Joanna Lee’s new work (22 June).

UK premieres are Edmund Finnis’ Aloysius given by the Castalian Quartet (8 June) and i c o n, an opera for soprano, actor and ensemble by Frederik Neyrinck, developed on a Snape Maltings residency, a collaboration between a composer, writer, architect and photographer (12 June). Mezzo-soprano Marta Fontanals-Simmons performs Jonathan Harvey’s Songs and Haikus with Joanna MacGregor (16 June).

Britten-Pears Young Artists Masterclasses

This year’s Britten–Pears Young Artist Programme public masterclasses are given by Music Director of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale, Sir Antonio Pappano, and Festival Artist in Residence Mark Padmore. Pappano explores German, French and Italian operatic arias (10-16 June). Padmore works in detail on Britten’s output for voice and piano (17-22 June). Both work with some of the most exciting emerging singers and pianists from across the globe, chosen through annual international auditions.

Other Highlights

Drive-by Shooting is a short video and sound installation by composer Brian Irvine and director John Mcliduff

blending opera, street art and animation. It appears as a stencil style animation on outdoor walls with sound transmitted to listeners wearing wireless headphones (8, 10, 11, 12 & 15 June). Open Space artists at Snape Maltings, Bastard Assignments are a four-piece composer collective joining the dots between performance art, installation, composition and improvisation (15 June). Cellist Adrian Brendel and pianist Joanna MacGregor give an intimate recital of works by Britten, Imogen Holst and Bridge (16 June). Pianist Karim Said intersperses 16th century English music by Byrd, Tomkins, Bull and Morley with 20th century Viennese composers Schoenberg, Berg and Webern (21 June). Films shown during the Festival at Aldeburgh Cinema include: Charlie Chaplin shorts with live scores improvised by pianist Neil Brand (10 June)The Woman of the Dunes was nominated for two Oscars and tells the tale of a man who misses his bus home after a day out on a remote stretch of coast. The film is directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara with a chilling minimalist score from Toru Takemitsu (11 June). Songs of Experience – Michael Tippett at 85 is the 1991 documentary by Mischa Scorer in which the composer talks openly about his long musical life (20 June). This year’s Hesse Lecture is given by poet and novelist Lavinia Greenlaw who explores how memories, ideas and images form (13 June).

BBC Radio 3 Poetry Evening

Radio 3 hosts a special evening of poetry – with readings and performance which explore the essence of poetry’s relationship with music, and traces the way that the literary and the musical have been intertwined for Benjamin Britten and a host of other composers.


Priority booking will open from 15 January

General booking will open on 19 February


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