Press Release

The Red House reopens from 20 May

Britten Pears Arts is thrilled to return to live music-making with audiences indoors at Snape Maltings from Friday 21 May, subject to the rollout of the government’s ‘roadmap’.

From 21 May to early September there will be a busy Summer at Snape programme, with concerts and events at Snape Maltings throughout the period. In May, June and July, Britten Pears Arts will again be offering short concerts on Friday, Saturday and Sunday - usually with two performances a day - and bringing together musicians who would have performed at last year’s Aldeburgh Festival and Snape Proms, in addition to other star performers. In August Snape Maltings Concert Hall will host daily performances in the spirit of the Snape Proms from outstanding artists and ensembles from the worlds of classical music, folk and jazz.

The opening weekend from 21 - 23 May will feature the BBC Symphony Orchestra with pianist and conductor Ryan Wigglesworth, a recital from Dame Sarah Connolly and pianist Joseph Middleton and pianist Nicholas McCarthy showcases repertoire for the left hand. There will then be a weekend of folk music from 28 – 30 May with Alden & Patterson and The Shackleton Trio, The Young ‘Uns, Honey & the Bear and Maz O’Connor joining singers from Britten Pears Young Artists with pianist Roger Vignoles to perform folk songs and their Britten arrangements. On bank holiday Monday (31 May) Michael Tilson Thomas will conduct the London Symphony Orchestra with solo pianist Yuja Wang.

In June, performances and repertoire will include activity which should have been presented last June during the Aldeburgh Festival, together with projects new to 2021. These will include several significant first performances of repertoire commissioned by Britten Pears Arts including music by Tansy Davies, Colin Matthews and Mark Anthony Turnage. There will be world premieres of music by John Tavener, John Woolrich and Stephen Hough and first performances of music theatre productions featuring Nadine Benjamin and Juliet Fraser.

A series of world premieres will feature new arrangements of the music of Benjamin Britten: Colin Matthews' string orchestra versions of Double Concerto and Charm of Lullabies, Robin Holloway's orchestration of the song cycle Winter Words in July with the tenor Nicky Spence, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Edward Gardner and a new chamber version by Joseph Phibbs of Our Hunting Fathers to be sung by the soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn and the Hebrides Ensemble in August.

The centenary of the horn player Dennis Brain will be marked by performances of Britten's Serenade for tenor, horn and strings and Canticle III: Still falls the rain, both of which were written for Brain. There will also be a performance of Britten's In Memoriam Dennis Brain and music for horn by featured composer Tansy Davies ("Yoik") and Peter Maxwell Davies ("Fanfare-Salute to Dennis Brain) performed by Ben Goldscheider.

Other performers will include Allan Clayton and Andrew Staples (tenors), Britten Sinfonia, Aurora Orchestra, Nicholas Daniel (oboe), Feargal Mostyn-Williams and Andrew Watts (counter tenors), Roderick Williams (baritone), Olivia Jaguers (harp), James Baillieu and Alisdair Hogarth (pianos).

Having helped to lead the way last year with our determination to keep on presenting live performance and supporting musicians, it will be an enormous pleasure and privilege to welcome performers and audiences back to our venues. As part of our distinctive mix of programming, we are proud to be presenting so many world premieres, as well as hosting established and up and coming musicians. We will remain flexible and ready to respond to changing circumstances, whilst keeping audiences, musicians and our colleagues safe. Our wide-ranging summer programme is part of our ongoing commitment to the creative community and to our audiences, as we continue to celebrate music’s unique power to transform lives and bring communities together.

Roger Wright, Chief Executive of Britten Pears Arts

May Concerts

21 – 23 May

Live music resumes on Friday 21 May at Snape Maltings Concert Hall with the return of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Pianist, conductor and composer Ryan Wigglesworth will direct Mozart from the piano and conducts a programme featuring his own work alongside music by Julian Anderson and Britten. There will be two concerts at 4pm and 7.00pm and the latter will be broadcast that evening on BBC Radio 3. These concerts will be given in memory of the pianist and conductor Steuart Bedford, who died in February this year and was an Artistic Director of the Aldeburgh Festival from 1974 - 1998.

On Saturday 22 May, mezzo soprano Dame Sarah Connolly and pianist Joseph Middleton will perform a recital featuring music by Brahms, Mahler, Bridge and Tippett at 7pm.

Award-winning pianist Nicholas McCarthy was born without his right hand and is currently the world’s only one-handed concert pianist. On Sunday 23 May he showcases the dynamic world of left-hand repertoire, including pieces by Bach, Bartók, Scriabin, Strauss, and Julie Cooper. 

28 – 31 May

On Friday 28 May, there will be a showcase for East Anglian talent with a folk double bill from Alden and Patterson & The Shackleton Trio. They will perform as a duo, trio and then together as a five piece at 6pm and 8.30pm and will feature a mixture of their own material and traditional folk standards.

Three-time winners of the BBC Folk Awards, The Young ‘Uns are three male folk singers from the North of England performing folk songs with heart and humour. On Saturday 29 May they will perform two shows at 3pm and 7pm.

Honey & the Bear are a Suffolk based folk and roots vocal and multi-instrumental duo that combine delicately interweaving vocal harmonies with emotive and evocative song writing. On Sunday 30 May Honey & the Bear perform two shows at 3pm and 7pm.

At 1.30 and 5pm the same day, Britten’s arrangement of English folk songs for voice and piano are performed by Britten Pears Young artists, soprano Milly Forrest and tenor Laurence Kilsby, with pianist and Britten expert Roger Vignoles. They are joined by Maz O’Connor, described by The Guardian as ‘one of folk’s brightest young talents’, who will sing her own versions of the original folk melodies.

Michael Tilson Thomas conducts the London Symphony Orchestra on Monday 31 May (bank holiday) in a programme featuring Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2 and Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Yuja Wang as soloist, making her Snape debut.

The Red House opens on 20 May

Britten and Pears’ home, The Red House, including the library, composing studio and gallery spaces, will open for visitors to experience its unique atmosphere, intimate charm and a new pop-up outdoor garden café. Open Thursdays to Sundays from 20 May, 11am – 4pm.

Tickets for the May concerts go on sale on Saturday 1 May at 10am, while booking for admission to The Red House is already available. Full listings and tickets available online at | Tel: 01728 687110.

Notes to Editors

Key changes to concerts

  • Reduced capacity in the Concert Hall to prioritise audience safety and to ensure there is enough space around everyone
  • Shorter performances of around 60 minutes with no interval which will allow time for cleaning between each performance
  • Face coverings required for all audience members during the performance unless they are exempt as per the government guidelines
  • No printed materials and this includes tickets, programmes and programme notes

About Britten Pears Arts

Britten Pears Arts is a pioneering music, arts and heritage charity based on the Suffolk coast at two popular, historic visitor destinations: The Red House and Snape Maltings. Britten Pears Arts emerged from the creative partnership of Benjamin Britten, one of the greatest composers of the 20th century, and his professional and personal partner, singer Peter Pears. Britten and Pears shared a progressive vision for music and the arts to be useful, helping people enhance and bring joy into their lives. Britten and Pears’ vision inspires all our activity, from work with the local communities to our national leadership roles in the fields of talent development and music, health and wellbeing. Britten Pears Arts was created through the merger of the Britten–Pears Foundation and Snape Maltings in 2020.