Britten-Pears Foundation announces Britten centenary celebrations

Britten 100 launched at London's Royal College of Music

Benjamin BrittenA bronze bust of Britten is prepared for the Britten 100 launch. Photo: Mark Allan

The Britten-Pears Foundation has today unveiled plans for celebrating composer Benjamin Britten’s centenary. Britten 100 will see a huge range of leading organisations from around the world collaborating to celebrate the anniversary.

As part of the celebrations, there will be premieres of Britten’s operas in South America, Asia and New Zealand, while in Europe highlights include the War Requiem and Noye’s Flood conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.

In the UK there will be performances of all of Britten’s operas, including a new staging of Gloriana, returning to Covent Garden almost 60 years to the day since it was first performed. Cellist Matthew Barley will also undertake an ‘Around Britten’ tour, performing Britten’s Cello Suite No. 3 in unusual locations.

Aldeburgh, Britten’s home for much of his life, will play a central role in the celebrations. The Suffolk town will host a variety of concerts, dances and operas, culminating on 22 November 2013 when tens of thousands of young people will join together to sing Britten’s cycle of 12 songs for children. The Red House – Britten’s much-loved home – will also undergo redevelopment.

Richard Jarman, director of the Britten-Pears Foundation, said: ‘The extraordinary scope of the plans announced today underlines Britten’s truly global appeal and status as one of the most important cultural figures of the twentieth century. We are delighted that so many organisations around the world are celebrating.’

The Royal Mint will also mark the occasion with a 50p coin featuring Britten, making him the first composer ever to appear on a British coin.

For more information, please visit www.britten100.org

Gareth Thomas