Thursday, 11 September 2014

Build your own Musicircus - Aldeburgh's Autumn season

An Aldeburgh Musicircus
Last year's Aldeburgh Festival brought together the largest ever gathering of performers in the Aldeburgh to produce an Aldeburgh Musicircus based on John Cage's Musicircus. Now 40 of the events have been captured on video and are available on-line at The Space for people to create their own Musicircus concert experience/happening with various levels of chaos and control. The launch of the website (on Cage's birthday, 5 September) marked Aldeburgh Music's Autumn season.

Turning from the digital world to the concert hall, there is a Britten Weekend (24-26/10) built around the composer's early song cycle Nocturne performed by the conductor-less orchestra Spira Mirabilis. This will be the orchestra's first performance of a Britten work, and will have a new work by Colin Matthew's as companion piece. The weekend will also showcase the Aldeburgh Middle East Orchestral Development Programme.

This programme developed out of the 2012 Aldeburgh World Orchestra. Samantha Fernando has composed A New Nocturne, which will be given its world première by a combination of musicians from Aldeburgh’s young artist programmes, including the young tenor Alex Aldren. This year for the first time, the project is joined by seven instrumentalists from the Middle East who are part of Aldeburgh’s Middle East Orchestral Development Programme. The the programme develops relationships made during the first series of remote master classes for musicians in Egypt, Palestine and Jordan.

Friday 28 November then sees the culmination of 2014’s Friday Afternoons. Friday Afternoons launched for the Britten Centenary in 2013 when 67,000 young people across four continents and 12 time zone came together to sing Britten's Friday Afternoons. The new event, which is aimed at everyone not just children, has commissioned nine new songs for voices and piano, which take Britten’s arrangements of folk songs as a starting point,. They have made an interesting selection with the composers coming from a variety of of backgrounds, film, folk, Indian as well as modern classical music. Each of the composers, Nico Muhly, Sally Beamish, Rachel Portman, Jon Boden and Talvin Singh, has written a piece based on a traditional folk song of their choice. Two of Britten's folk-song arrangements are included as well as Orford Lighthouse by 14-year-old Zoe Dixon, winner of last year’s song-writing competition. A vast variety of free online material is available to teachers, choir leaders and singers at

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