Aldeburgh Festival releases 2018 line-up

The festival celebrates its 70th anniversary with works by Bernstein and Britten

Published: January 9, 2018 at 2:00 pm

This year’s Aldeburgh Festival has been curated by Artists in Residence violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja, conductor John Wilson and flautist Claire Chase, and will take place from 8 to 24 June. Its focus this year will be on Britten, America and the centenary of Bernstein.


The opening weekend features the world premiere of a new orchestration by Colin Matthews of Britten’s Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo with tenor Robert Murray, as well as Four Sea Interludes from Britten’s opera Peter Grimes, of which Bernstein conducted the American premiere in 1946 and then included it again in his last concert. The weekend will also feature individuals connected to the two composers, including Aaron Copland, whose ballet Billy the Kid will be performed. Conductor John Wilson will be leading his orchestra in both popular and less well-known Broadway hits by Bernstein including excerpts from West Side Story, On the Town, Candide, Peter Pan, Wonderful Town, Trouble in Tahiti and 1600 Pennyslvania Avenue.

Sir Bryn Terfel will make his Aldeburgh Festival debut on the final day, performing in a recital with pianist Malcolm Martineau in a programme of works by Schubert, Copland and Britten.

The 2018 festival will include 15 world premieres, six Aldeburgh Festival commissions, five European premieres and five UK premieres. One of these such works is the new opera, To See the Invisible by Emily Howard, the 2017 recipient of the British Composer Award in the Orchestral category. The opera is based on a short story by American sci-fi writer Robert Silverberg and follows the story of an authoritarian regime in which human interaction is prohibited.

Eight concerts from the festival will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3, including the world premiere of Harrison Birtwistle’s new work for two pianos, Emily Howard’s new opera To See the Invisible, and the world premiere of Philip Cashian’s new piano concerto The Book of Ingenious Devices performed by Huw Watkins and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.


Priority booking for the Aldeburgh festival opens tomorrow, with general booking on 14 February.


Freya ParrDigital Editor and Staff Writer, BBC Music Magazine

Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.

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