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Britten Centenary commissions announced by RPS

(February 2012)

The Royal Philharmonic Society and the Britten-Pears Foundation have announced a series of major co-commissions to mark Britten’s centenary and the RPS’s bicentenary in 2013.

Six leading international composers have been commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society and the Britten-Pears Foundation to write works for different ensembles that reflect the range of Benjamin Britten’s compositional output, including symphony orchestra, children’s choir and tenor with piano. 

The commissions include a new ensemble work by Magnus Lindberg to be premiered by the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and a new song-cycle by Harrison Birtwistle, setting texts by David Harsent, written for Mark Padmore and Till Fellner. The six works will be premiered and performed nationally and internationally during 2013.

Richard Jarman, General Director of the Britten-Pears Foundation comments: “Britten himself was a keen champion of new music, and would surely approve of us working with the RPS to celebrate his centenary, and their bicentenary, with six new works from such outstanding contemporary composers.”

Composer Magnus Lindberg comments: "I'm honoured to be commissioned to write a new ensemble work for the Britten Centenary year and to celebrate the bicentenary of the Royal Philharmonic Society, an organisation which has enthusiastically supported my work and that of so many other composers. 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. He also had an innate sense of drama, and I hear this just as much in his instrumental music as in his operas. His legacy continues to be important for living composers and contemporary music in general."

For further details of the six commissioned composers view the press release (PDF).

A new Britten 100 website is due to be soft launched by the BPF in April, including an overview of centenary performances, with the full site going live to the public on Britten’s birthday 22 November, one year ahead of the centenary itself. Please contact us with your performance plans by emailing

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