Aldeburgh Festival 2019 unveiled

Much excitement today. A press release with unexpected news about next year’s Aldeburgh Festival. A well-timed uplifting piece of comms, shining light on an otherwise grey news-less lunchtime.

Effective because in a split second of opening the email I was momentarily catapulted onto Aldeburgh beach in the early summer of next year. Home. New discoveries. Escape.

There’s a lot to plough through. When your primary motivation is discovery, it’s always difficult to pinpoint particular concerts, events or strands. It’s Aldeburgh. It’s all good, right?

What’s pulling me in early on before booking opens on 15th January is the inevitable Olly Knussen celebration. A year after his unexpected death and 50 since Benjamin Britten commissioned Knussen to write a work for the Festival, it’s right Aldeburgh spotlights his contribution to contemporary music. And, for those of us who have come late to his canon, it’s the first few steps along a new path. Something to look forward to.

Ryan Wigglesworth conducts the debut concerts of the Knussen Chamber Orchestra featuring Knussen’s Scriabin Settings and O Hototogisu! (11 June). Other tributes include Stephen Hough performing Prayer Bell Sketch in his solo recital (12 June).

Danny Koo and pianist Daniel Lebhardt’s Britten–Pears Young Artists concert performing Autumnal and Ophelia’s Last Dance (14 June); the Ulysses Ensemble  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).

There’s one thing doesn’t especially make sense to me.

Why on earth did Snape Maltings choose the New York Times quote (pictured above) for its Festival homepage? At best its a mealy-mouthed endorsement. At worst, its meaningless. Massively detracting from the brand.

Booking opens for Aldeburgh Festival 2019 on 15 January.

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