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Global Britten 100 events celebrate the anniversary

(August 2013)

As the Britten 100 celebrations approach the anniversary day of 22 November, his music is heard across the globe from Aldeburgh to Beijing, from Moscow to Los Angeles, with Britten featuring in UK schools, cinemas and on the new 50p coin.

Britten 100, the widest global celebration of a British composer, continues worldwide with more than 2000 events in 50 countries still planned from now until the end of the centenary period. A special focus is provided by the anniversary day itself, Friday 22 November, and the adjacent weekend which brings special celebratory events in Aldeburgh as well as at the Barbican, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Vienna State Opera and many more.

In 2013 alone, there will be at least 200 performances of The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra worldwide, alongside 152 of War Requiem, 75 of Saint Nicolas, 109 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 84 of the complete Peter Grimes, and 40 of Billy Budd. These figures are increasing daily, and rise substantially if one counts to the end of the centenary period, which spans the two seasons either side of the anniversary on 22 November 2013, September 2012 to August 2014.

Beyond the worldwide performances, celebrations continue with books, films, dance, radio festivals and special television programming, recordings, exhibitions, conferences and extensive initiatives for children still to come.

Among the forthcoming UK highlights are:
  • BFI Southbank’s extensive season showcasing Britten’s pioneering contributions to cinema and television (from 2 September)

  • Critically-acclaimed Peter Grimes on Aldeburgh beach from this year’s Aldeburgh Festival showing in over 70 cinemas (from 5 September)

  • Opera North’s Festival of Britten with touring productions of Death in Venice, Peter Grimes and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (from 14 September)

  • London Philharmonic Orchestra’s focus with Vladimir Jurowski, featuring a concert staging of Peter Grimes, War Requiem, rare orchestral music and Noye’s Fludde forming the backbone of the Britten focus within Southbank Centre’s The Rest Is Noise Festival (from 28 September)

  • The Barbican presents a two-week Britten festival including concerts, Richard Alston Dance Company and Britten Sinfonia performing newly commissioned dances created to Britten's music, opera, a multimedia staging of Curlew River, lectures, readings from Britten’s letters and diaries, films and talks. At its heart is the three-day Illuminating Britten, an exploration of the composer's importance today (from 6 November)

  • Launch of the eagerly-awaited 50p coin by Royal Mint (early October)

  • Weekend of festivities in Aldeburgh and Lowestoft over the centenary weekend including Noye’s Fludde. BBC Radio 3 will be in residence (22 November)

  • Friday Afternoons, a nationwide singing project aiming to get 100,000 children in the UK to sing Britten’s cycle of 12 songs on 22 November 2013 - the centenary of Britten’s birth. Aldeburgh Music, in partnership with Arts Council England, the Britten Pears Foundation and Boosey & Hawkes, is supported by a broad range of the UK’s most active arts organisations including Royal Opera House, Opera North, Sage Gateshead, Symphony Hall, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra as well as local music education hubs and schools (22 November 2013)

  • Birmingham Royal Ballet’s nationwide tour of The Prince of the Pagodas with new choreography by David Bintley (from 25 February 2014)

Among the international highlights to come are:
  • A festival in Moscow, planned with BPF and the British Council, including the Russian premiere of Death in Venice conducted by Gennadi Rozhdestvensky; four concerts from the Russian National Orchestra conducted by Sir Mark Elder, Vasily Petrenko and Mikhail Pletnev; The Canticles with Ian Bostridge and an exhibition at the Pushkin Museum (from 15 October – 8 December)

  • Chinese premieres of War Requiem with Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and Charles Dutoit and Peter Grimes in Beijing (3 and 8 October).

  • LA Opera’s celebrations led by James Conlon, planned with over 70 partners and including seven operas, chamber music, recitals and talks presented in venues across California (on-going until March 2014).

  • More than 50 performances in New York in Britten 100 celebrations including Carnegie Hall with Metropolitan Opera, Brooklyn Academy of Arts, Trinity Wall Street and the New York Philharmonic (ongoing)

  • Territorial premieres for Billy Budd in Chile and Sweden (16 August & 14 September)

  • Extensive German celebrations which include A Midsummer Night’s Dream from Komische Oper, Berlin, Billy Budd from Deutsche Oper, Berlin and Deutsche Oper am Rhein’s Britten Festival with four Britten operas including a new production of Noye’s Fludde in Düsseldorf and Duisburg

  • Opera de Lyon’s Britten Festival featuring new productions of Peter Grimes, Turn of the Screw and Curlew River (10-12 April 2014)

Full details of these events, an audio sampler with hundreds of clips from a vast array of Britten’s works and more are available at

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