The 2018 Aldeburgh Festival celebrates Britten’s links to America via the music of Leonard Bernstein, whose centenary it is this year.
Britten and Bernstein had a remarkably similar training and outlook—both conducted, were pianists and educators and shared a certain sense of unencumbered generosity in their compositions.
Performances of Bernstein’s music in the festival include his Symphony No. 2 The Age of Anxiety; Halil for flute and chamber orchestra; excerpts from West Side Story; Arias and Barcarolles for piano four hands; and his Chichester Psalms. There will also be several talks and a film that documents Bernstein’s conducting of the US premiere of Peter Grimes in 1946.
Britten’s time in America is also reflected in performances of music by Aaron Copland and the presence of American artists-in-residence: composer Michael Hersch, flautist Claire Chase and violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja.
As always there are a number of world premieres, though these are largely from British composers: Emily Howard’s opera To See The Invisibleon the opening night; Philip Cashian’s Piano Concerto The Book of Ingenious Devices on 16th; Harrison Birtwistle’s Keyboard Engine, Construction for Two Pianos, also on 18th; seven new works from young composers on 22nd; and Simon Holt’s String Quartet No. 4 on the same day.
Tickets for all concerts start at £10.