BBC announces Britten centenary celebrations

The BBC dedicates 2013 to the life and work of Benjamin Britten

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Benjamin BrittenThe BBC has unveiled plans for a year of performance and programming to celebrate 100 years since the birth of Benjamin Britten.

Commemorating one of the most accomplished British composers, Britten on the BBC will involve performances from many of the BBC’s performing groups throughout the year and include broadcasts of every Britten opera on Radio 3, live broadcasts from Aldeburgh – where Britten lived and worked for much of his life – and rare archive footage of interviews with the composer himself.

The celebrations begin in January with performances of Billy Budd from English National Opera and a series of Britten concertos from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and BBC Symphony Orchestra alongside soloists including Vilde Frang (violin), Benjamin Grosvenor (piano) and Lawrence Power (viola). Later in the year, the BBC Proms will play a big part in the celebrations.

On the weekend of the actual centenary of Britten's birth – 22 November – BBC Radio 3 will broadcast live from Aldeburgh and BBC Four will broadcast archive recordings of Britten performances at the festival.

In a statement, Roger Wright, controller of Radio 3 and director of the BBC Proms said: 'Britten is a significant part of the UK’s classical music history and BBC Radio 3 is delighted to play a central part in the centenary celebrations. Along with the BBC’s performing groups we’re looking forward to bringing our audiences a range of Britten programming in this special year.'

More highlights of Britten on the BBC will be announced in the coming months.

Gareth Thomas