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  • Knussen Chamber Orchestra

    © Britten Pears Arts

  • Snape Maltings concert hall

    © Britten Pears Arts

  • Interior of the Red House

    by Philip Vile © Britten Pears Arts

  • Tenebrae

    © Britten Pears Arts

  • Snape Maltings concert hall

    © Philip Vile via Britten Pears Arts

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Tour Director

  • Enjoy concerts with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, baritone Andrè Schuen with Julius Drake, and the sublime Vox Luminis

  • Journey to the ‘Ship of the Fens’ – Ely Cathedral – for a very special performance of Tallis’s Spem in alium featuring Tenebrae

  • Take in the festival’s beautiful Suffolk surroundings, with local visits to Sutton Hoo, the Red House and Orford

“A magical tour”

“Brilliantly led and organised"

– ACE customers on the 2023 Aldeburgh Festival tour with Nicholas Wearne

Stirred by the vast skies and moody seas of Suffolk, Benjamin Britten was inspired to launch a festival that has since blossomed into a year-round concert venue at Snape Maltings. In June each year, established solo artists assemble alongside up-and-coming musicians and internationally acclaimed orchestras to bring us works both old and new, grand and small-scale, performed in Snape Maltings’ world-famous Concert Hall as well as the venue’s newer buildings and local churches. 


2024 marks 75 years since the birth of the festival, and to make the most of the exceptional programming we are offering two departures covering both the early and later stages. 


Tallis’s famous 40-part motet Spem in alium – performed in the awe-inspiring surroundings of Ely Cathedral with its octagon tower – will make for a fittingly grand finale. We will journey to the ‘Ship of the Fens’ to hear both this and a rich array of early choral music from John Tavener, Byrd and others; as well as more contemporary but no less beautiful pieces by Eric Whitacre, Roderick Williams, Unsuk Chin and Judith Weir – all sung by the magnificent Tenebrae under Nigel Short. 


Another award winning vocal ensemble, Vox Luminis, will bring us the first UK performance of their unique concert staging of Purcell’s The Fairy Queen. Modelled on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, this exuberant Restoration masterpiece brims with magic, illusion and the wonders of the natural world – all of which will be brought to life by this elegant new production under Artistic Director Lionel Meunier. Early music features prominently in three other concerts: two curated by Ensemble Diderot, exploring the music of Purcell and the “bustling elegance of the French Baroque”; and another set within the wonderfully atmospheric surroundings of Blythburgh Church at dusk, featuring the music of Hildegard of Bingen and Kassia alongside later choral classics by Tavener, Arvo Pärt and others.  


Further highlights will include Elgar’s Cello Concerto performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Edward Gardner; Schumann song cycles with the superb Andrè Schuen and Julius Drake, one of the world’s most admired Lieder accompanists; and works by Mozart, Ryan Wigglesworth and Judith Weir courtesy of the Knussen Chamber Orchestra.   


Taking advantage of our stay in Suffolk, the tour will offer the opportunity to soak up the atmosphere and heritage of the local area. We will learn about the life and legacy of Britten with a visit to The Red House, the composer’s former home, and also make an excursion to Sutton Hoo – site of the famous Anglo Saxon ship burial, the discovery of which was dramatised in British film The Dig


Our base for the tour will be the characterful three-star White Lion Hotel, situated close to Aldeburgh’s beachfront. Whilst the rooms are of a more basic standard, the hotel is comfortable, clean and welcoming, and has been selected particularly for its location. Rooms with a sea view are available at a supplement – please contact the ACE office for more details. 


Tour Director Nicholas Wearne, BA, MPhil, is a former ACE Bursary student and Senior Tutor at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. His career as a solo organist has taken him all over the world and he is a previous winner of the Poul Ruders Prize at the Odense International Organ Competition. Nicholas has held a number of prestigious positions as Organist; he was an Organ Scholar and then Assistant Organist at New College Oxford, and was Organist at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square.


Tour Director Nicholas Wearne writes:


“One of the highlights of my year is spending time staring at the sea in Aldeburgh. The 2024 festival is particularly special as we celebrate the 75th year in the organisation's history, and the programme is extremely strong. To do it justice we are offering two departures, both of which provide ample opportunity to hear the amazing sound of a big symphony orchestra in the sought-after acoustic of Snape Maltings. The first tour has something of an early music focus, while offering fans of Andrè Schuen the opportunity to hear him in the UK with Julius Drake. I look forward to Vox Luminis' Fairy Queen, the Marian Consort's dusk concert at Blythburgh, English and French Baroque chamber music, and Tallis's 40-part miracle Spem in alium in the soaring space of Ely Cathedral.”

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