Centenary Summer in Benjamin Britten's Suffolk

Composer Benjamin Britten was born in Lowestoft in Suffolk in 1913, and he grew to become one of the twentieth century's leading voices. In this year of the hundredth anniversary of Britten's birth, a variety of Suffolk's cultural institutions will host events commemorating the occasion, culminating in a four day event on the weekend of the birthday itself. The celebration is expected to attract visitors from all over the world.

Benjamin Britten Suffolk Events

Aldeburgh, Britten's home, is naturally the centre of the centenary celebration.

Snape Maltings
Snape Maltings went on from producing malt for brewing to presenting live music in the 1960s when the Aldeburgh Festival outgrew its venues and Benjamin Britten saw the potential of this beautiful Victorian building as a concert hall. Many of the best events of the centenary celebration will take place here.

11 May Britten: The Canticles
7 June Peter Grimes
8 June Les Illuminations
20-21 June Britten Dances
23 June The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra
26 June The Sword in the Stone
4 August Gloriana
8 August Britten Cello Symphony
1-2 November Death in Venice
21-24 November Centenary Weekend

Also noteworthy are the presentations of Peter Grimes planned for Aldeburgh Beach on 17, 19 and 21 June as a part of the Aldeburgh Festival.

Aldeburgh Cinema
Also in the 1960s the financially troubled Aldeburgh Cinema was revamped into a cultural institution. A local group, including Britten and his partner Peter Pears, purchased and operated the cinema for the good of the community. In this centennial year, and particularly during the Aldeburgh Festival, the Aldeburgh Cinema will be the site of several programs focused on the composer.

12 May Benjamin Britten: Peace and Conflict
10 June Hesse Lecture: Pacifism in Britten's Time and Today
13 June Britten on Film I
14 June Perspectives on Britten
17 June Ronald Blythe: Time by the Sea
20 June Britten on Film II

Local Churches
The area around Aldeburgh contains some magnificent churches, at least two of which will be venues for centenary events. St. Peter and St. Paul, otherwise known as Aldeburgh Parish Church, is the home church of the Aldeburgh Festival. Its Britten Window and its bells reward the interest of visitors. St. Bartholomew's Church in Orford dates from around 1200 and is well worth seeing as a piece of well-preserved history. Both are active houses of worship, and both host delightful additions to the centenary's roster of events.

8 June Aimard & Aimard Aldeburgh Parish Church
9 June Friday Afternoons Orford Church
9 June Voices for Today Orford Church
10 June Vertavo Quartet Aldeburgh Parish Church
16 June Church Parables Orford Church
18 & 19 June A Hymn of St. Columba Orford Church

In addition, the Britten-Pears Foundation will present performers from its Young Artists Programme on 14 and 21 June at the Aldeburgh Parish Church.

Bury St. Edmunds
Slightly away from the coast lies the prosperous market town of Bury St. Edmunds. St. Edmundsbury Cathedral is a work of centuries, from the major modifications of the 16th century to the tower completed in 2005. St. Mary's, part of the now vanished abbey, has not one but two magnificent organs and an active choir for male voices.

13 April War Requiem St. Edmundsbury Cathedral
17 May 3rd Suite for Cello The Apex
6 June Corpus Christi Carol St. Edmundsbury Cathedral
7 June Rejoice in the Lamb St. Edmundsbury Cathedral
20 July Missa Brevis St. Edmundsbury Cathedral
30 June Hymn to St. Peter St. Edmundsbury Cathedral
22 & 23 October Noyes Fludde St. Mary's Church
1 November Rejoice in the Lamb St. Edmundsbury Cathedral
2 November Four Sea Interludes St. Edmundsbury Cathedral

Other areas of Suffolk also plan to host events during the centenary celebration.

13 April Te Deum in C Ipswich Corn Exchange 

12 May Simple Symphony St. Margaret's Church
5 October Serenade Trinity Methodist Church 

Suffolk Hotel Accommodation

Our recommended hotel in Suffolk is Kesgrave Hall Hotel, ideally situated some 20 minutes from most of the Benjamin Britten events. A charming, friendly and relaxed country house hotel.

Kesgrave Hall
Hall Road, Kesgrave
Ipswich, Suffolk

For more information call Kesgrave Hall on
01473 333741