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The Kirker Music Festival in Suffolk

England 4 nights Price from £1,889 per person
Departs: 16 Sep 2024
Departs: 16 Sep 2024

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This picturesque corner of Suffolk, with its rivers and marshes, is closely associated with the artists Constable and Gainsborough, as well as the composer Benjamin Britten, who was born in Lowestoft and lived and worked in nearby Aldeburgh for many years. Based at the elegant Hintlesham Hall, in a charming village just outside Ipswich, we will explore the legacy of these former Suffolk residents as well as enjoying a series of private concerts with the Doric String Quartet and composer Simon Rowland-Jones (2023 departure) or the Castalian String Quartet (2024 departure).

What's included

...when you travel with Kirker

  • Four nights' accommodation with breakfast
  • Four dinners
  • Three concerts and talks as described
  • All sightseeing, entrance fees and gratuities as described
  • Services of the Kirker Tour Leader


  • Day 1 - Make your way to Hintlesham

    Make your own way to the village of Hintlesham, just over 5 miles from the centre of Ipswich, where we shall stay at the elegant Hintlesham Hall, a grand property in a manor house which dates from the 1400s.
  • Day 2 - Gainsborough House

    The first of two open workshops will be given this morning.  Later we visit Sudbury this morning to see the house where Thomas Gainsborough (1777-1788) lived as a child and young man. Gainsborough House reopened in spring 2023, after a three-year development, and it is a National Centre for Art dedicated to the life and work of the artist. 
  • Day 3 - Munnings Art Museum

    After breakfast, there will be a second open workshop with the our resident string quartet and Kirker's director of music, Simon Rowland-Jones. This afternoon we will drive to Dedham Vale to visit Sir Alfred Munnings’ former home and studio with over 200 paintings, drawings and sculpture on display.
  • Day 4 - The Red House

    There will be a visit to Aldeburgh, where we shall go to the Red House where Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears lived. The house is very much the same as it was when the couple lived here and many works from their extensive collection are on display. We will visit the library, exhibition centre and the garden.
  • Day 5 - Tour concludes

    The tour concludes after breakfast this morning.

Departure Dates and Prices

16 Sep 2024

Status Available

Price from£1889

Single Supp.£320

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Barry Cheeseman

Barry Cheeseman

Cultural Tours Senior Executive


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Doric String Quartet

String Quartet

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Castalian Quartet, photo by Kaupo Kikkas

The Castalian String Quartet


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Simon Roland-Jones

Simon Rowland-Jones

Viola, Composer & Kirker Music Director

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Music Programme

2023 Music Programme with The Doric String Quartet 

19 September 2023
Haydn: String Quartet in D, Op.50 No.6
Schumann: String Quartet in A , Op. 41 No 3

20 September 2023
Beethoven: String Quartet in G, Op.18 No.2
Bartok: String Quartet No. 2, Sz,67

21 September 2023
Haydn: String Quartet in C, Op. 5 No.2
Elgar: String Quartet in E minor, Op. 83
Britten: String Quartet No.3 in G major, Op.94

This was Britten's last major work composed in September and October 1975. The first four movements were written at The Red House in Aldeburgh and the fifth during his stay at the Hotel Danieli in Venice. Britten worked on the quartet in September 1976 with the Amadeus String Quartet just weeks before the composer died on 4 December 1976. The quartet gave the  first public performance place at The Maltings, Snape on 19 December. This poignant work, despite being written during an extended period of ill health, ends on an optimistic note.

2024 Music Programme with The Castalian String Quartet

Alongside the three giants of string quartet composers, Haydn, Beethoven and Schubert, the Castalian Quartet will include a work by the British composer, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.

17 September 2024
Schubert: Quartettsatz in C minor, D703
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: Five Fantasiestücke Op.5
Schubert: String Quartet in D minor D810 ‘Death and the Maiden’

18 September 2024
Schubert: String Quartet in A minor, No.13 D804 'Rosamunde’
Beethoven: Quartet in C major, Op.59 No.3

19 September 2024
Haydn: String Quartet in G minor, Op.20 No.3
Schubert: String Quartet in G major, D887

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