Royal Philharmonic Society and Britten-Pears Foundation team up for major new commissions

Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Wolfgang Rihm among composers to write new works

The Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) and the Britten-Pears Foundation have commissioned six leading composers to write works to mark Britten’s centenary and the bicentenary of the RPS – both in 2013.

Each composer will write for different forces – to reflect the range of Britten’s own output. Wolfgang Rihm will write a work for symphony orchestra, Judith Weir for chamber orchestra, Per Nørgård for string quartet, Sir Harrison Birtwistle for tenor and piano, Magnus Lindberg for a large-scale mixed ensemble and Richard Rodney Bennett will pen a children’s song cycle.

Magnus Lindberg said: ‘I’ve always admired Britten as a composer for the clarity of his scoring and the amazing range of his output – he could turn his hand to anything. I’m honoured to be commissioned to write a new ensemble work for the Britten centenary year.’

The new works will be premiered in 2013 as part of the RPS’s year-long celebration of its bicentenary. In addition to these commissions the Britten-Pears Foundation will be marking Britten’s centenary by providing funds for a series of productions of the composer’s stage works. Further details will be announced in autumn this year.

Elizabeth Davis