Honoring Benjamin Britten at 100 across America
The composer’s 100th birthday is celebrated through a multitude of orchestral and choral performances and opera productions
From the beginning of this year, Benjamin Britten, the UK’s most esteemed twentieth-century composer, has been at the heart of a major anniversary celebrating his 100th year. Although Britten passed away in 1976, his music and presence has remained an integral part of the classical music world, consistently appearing on opera and orchestral programs presented by the most respected organizations. The composer’s centenary, extending through the 2013–14 season, is highlighted through performances of staple works such as the War Requiem and Peter Grimes.
Britten’s large works are not the only compositions on display during this centenary. The Aspen Music Festival will be presenting multiple concerts featuring Britten’s works this summer, from Peter Grimes (performed by the Aspen Festival Orchestra under Robert Spano) to Les Illuminations (featuring soprano Susanna Phillips and the Aspen Chamber Symphony under James Gaffigan) to the Cello Sonata in C Major (featuring cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han). Other performances of Britten’s works have been programmed by organizations and festivals in North America including Carnegie Hall, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, LA Opera, New York Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and many others.
An observation of the centenary in Los Angeles, entitled Britten 100/LA: A Celebration, features numerous Britten performances in Los Angeles this year, a local collaboration featuring performances, conferences, and exhibitions presented by a host of organizations. LA Opera Music Director James Conlon, whose personal three-year performance cycle of the composer’s works, has served as the inspiration for Britten 100/LA. In 2014, LA Opera will stage a production Billy Budd, the culminating event of the celebration. For more information about Britten 100/LA, click here.
The Britten-Pears Foundation has spearheaded Britten 100, a project aiming to expand Britten’s reach and inform the public of his output during this anniversary year. Dedicated to promoting the legacy of Benjamin Britten and his music, the Britten-Pears Foundation aims to encourage performances of Britten’s works as well as to support the commissioning, performing, and recording of new British music.
To find out more about Britten 100 and to see an events list of Britten performances taking place around the world this year, visit the Britten 100 homepage.