Aldeburgh Festival moves opening concert to Bury St Edmunds

St Edmundsbury Cathedral which will play host to the opening concert of the Aldeburgh Festival 2020

St Edmundsbury Cathedral which will play host to the opening concert of the Aldeburgh Festival 2020 Photo: Getty - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

For the first time in more than 50 years the Aldeburgh Festival opens far away from the Suffolk coast, with a special concert in St Edmundsbury Cathedral to mark the 1,000th anniversary of Bury St Edmunds Abbey.

Roger Wright outside the Snape Maltings Concert Hall. Picture: Matt Jolly

Roger Wright outside the Snape Maltings Concert Hall. Picture: Matt Jolly - Credit: Archant

The festival opens on June 12 and runs until June 28. The opening concert begins with Britten's fanfare, written especially for Bury's magnificent cathedral, the concert then begins to weave this year's musical tapestry with many of the threads to be picked up across the 17 days.

The music of artists-in-residence Cassandra Miller and Mark-Anthony Turnage will be performed alongside two of Britten's most sensuous pieces, matched by Elgar's gorgeous piece for strings.

The programme is completed by a further string orchestra work by Tom Coult - whose opera Violet will be premiered the following night at the Snape Maltings Concert Hall - and the posthumous world premiere of one of John Tavener's final works.

The festival's artistic team are looking to keep the programme fresh and to attract new audiences from different age groups and from all walks of life and are introducing £10 tickets for first-time bookers, free coaches running between Aldeburgh and Snape to make getting between events easier, and a new car sharing scheme to encourage audience members to travel together, cutting carbon emissions.


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Asked if there are any surprises in store for audiences this year, Snape Maltings chief executive Roger Wright says "There are always plenty of new things to discover in our festival programme, but it's certainly unusual for us to be organising a fun run.

"To celebrate the fact that Snape Maltings and the Britten-Pears Foundation in Aldeburgh are unifying in April, we are inviting audiences to choose between a run and a walk between the two sites. It's a beautiful six-mile journey."

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The festival is also launching, on February 18, an open call inviting all singer-songwriters, schools, and community music groups to apply to play on the festival's Beach Stage. The deadline for applications is April 1. For more information, see snapemaltings.co.uk/beach-stage.

General booking for the Aldeburgh Festival opens on Tuesday February 18. Find out more at snapemaltings.co.uk/festival or call 01728 687110.

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