The Beacon School Leaderboard 09/05

Britten Festival: A weekend of music and drama

Published on isbi School News dated Tuesday 12th of February 2013

The Britten Arts Festival put on an exciting weekend of events between 8th-10th February. On Friday 8th the Aronowitz Ensemble performed at the Auden Theatre. The Aronowitz Ensemble is an acclaimed ensemble, the members of which enjoy international solo careers alongside their ensemble playing. The Senior School Quartet and three pianists from across the Prep and Senior Schools were chosen to take part in master-classes. This was an exciting opportunity for some of Gresham's musicians to be taught by a BBC Young Musician of the Year cellist Guy Johnston.

Saturday, 9th February saw the launch of Tony Britten's drama documentary Benjamin Britten Peace and Conflict. Alongside a cast of professional musicians and actors, many school pupils and staff were involved both in front of and behind the camera and it was clear from the reaction of the audience, the film was a great success and a wonderful experience for all those involved. Amongst the visitors and guests to the film premiere was legendary actor, John Hurt, CBE who provided the narration to the film.

Alongside the film premiere, the Auden Theatre also welcomed Dr Paul Kildea, renowned Britten expert, whose biography of Britten - Benjamin Britten Life in the Twentieth Century is currently being serialised in both the Guardian newspaper and on Radio 4. In conversation with Film Director Tony Britten, he explained his reasoning for writing a second biography on Britten and provided some interesting insights into the composer. Those attending the event had the opportunity to meet the author and purchase a signed copy of his book.

Britten centenary celebrations continued on Sunday 10th bringing together singers from the Prep and Senior Schools, recounting the life of Nicolas, Bishop of Myra. Tenor Julian Forbes sang the part of St Nicolas and was very warmly received. An appreciative and large audience was also treated to Britten's Hymn to the Virgin, written at Gresham's and his Te Deum.

The next Britten musical event will be on Sunday 10th March when Gresham's Choral Society, staff and pupils from the Prep and Senior School perform Britten's epic choral work War Requiem. The performance starts at 6.30pm and tickets cost £15 which can be purchased from the Auden Box Office. Tel: 01263 713444 or email:

Further Festival events can be found at under Events Listings.
Britten Festival: A weekend of music and drama - Photo 1
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