Creative Retreat in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, UK
Stevie Wishart and Ensemble Variances's Thierry Pécou share a creative retreat at Aldeburgh
By invitation from First Light Festival, composers Stevie Wishart from Brussels and Cambridge and Thierry Pécou (Ensemble Variances) from Rouen in Normandy, France undertook a joint creative retreat courtesy of First Light Festival in Lowestoft Suffolk and Britten Pears Arts at the Red Studio in Aldeburgh, Suffolk.
After a four-day research stay by Stevie who walked the Iken marshes around Snape and Aldeburgh, observing and recording birds, their songs and behaviours as well as other wildlife and atmospheres at different times of the day, especially rich at dawn and dusk and guided by a bird expert from Minsmere, former trumpeter David Staff, local bird enthusiast and photographer David Burns, neighbours at the Red House John and Chris, and Griff, an old hand, she was joined by Thierry and together they walked the marshes, rose at 3am to catch the dawn chorus at Dunwich, an early morning walk to North Warren and then Shingle Street in search of bittern and then a late night trip to hear nightjars.
Stevie and Thierry stayed at Church Walk in Aldeburgh, and in the Red Studio in the grounds of the Red House, formerly home of Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears who built spaces for their friends to stay and develop their work in the peace of the Aldeburgh surroundings.
Both composers work with birdsong and other sounds of nature, recently in a new work from Stevie premiered at Bristol New Music: Gardez la distance - a piece for piano, clarinet and flute plus recorded birdsong and is the result of a study into how blackbirds learn to sing.
First Light Festival is a free 24-hour multi-arts festival in the beautiful coastal setting of Lowestoft - 18-19 June 2022
This retreat opportunity available for Stevie and Thierry has been kindly made possible by First Light Festival and Britten Pears Arts.