The composer Benjamin Britten was inspired by the vast skies and moody seas of the Suffolk coast, and in 1948, along with singer Peter Pears and writer Eric Crozier, he founded the Aldeburgh Festival. Long before arts organisations thought of engaging in education and supporting young artists, Britten and Pears established both. They brought together international stars and emerging talent, including world-renowned figures such as Fischer-Dieskau, Menuhin, Sviatoslav Richter and Rostropovich, and young stars in the making such as Söderström, Perahia and Bream.
At first the Festival used local halls and churches but in 1967, Britten and Pears created a permanent home at Snape, 5 miles from Aldeburgh, by converting a Victorian maltings into an 832-seat venue. However, Britten’s original vision was not just for an annual Festival and permanent concert hall, but also as a creative hub where established stars, young artists, amateurs and audience members could come to broaden their horizons in an exhilarating creative and natural environment. So Britten and Pears went on to reclaim more buildings on the Snape Maltings site to establish a centre for talented young musicians.
Their creation is a flourishing organisation which has a world-wide reputation as a place where artists at all stages of their career can stretch themselves, explore new ground and perform.
The 2017 Aldeburgh Festival marked the 50th anniversary of the Snape Maltings Concert Hall and opened with a new fully-staged production of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with which the concert hall was inaugurated in 1967.