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Britten 100 has begun

Biggest ever celebration of a British composer underway


Bust of Britten at the media launch of Britten 100, 11 September 2012, Royal College of Music, London Britten 100, celebrating Benjamin Britten's centenary, was launched in September by the Britten-Pears Foundation (BPF) at the Britten Theatre of London’s Royal College of Music. Britten 100 is an unprecedented collaboration of leading organisations from the worlds of performing arts, publishing, broadcasting, film, academia and heritage.

From the most famous orchestras, opera companies and conductors in 140 cities across 30 countries, to 75,000 school children in a single UK-wide project, millions will be celebrating Britten both at home and abroad. The celebrations begin in September and continue through 2014 with the main focus in 2013. A new website has also been launched, encompassing all the global activities: www.britten100.org.

Beyond worldwide performances of the music, plans extend to books, films, dance, radio festivals and special television programming, recordings, exhibitions, conferences, online initiatives for children, heritage trails, and even a new building at The Red House, Britten’s much-loved home in Aldeburgh, to accommodate the most comprehensive single-composer archive in the world.

At the launch The Royal Mint announced that a new 50p coin depicting Britten would go into circulation at the end of this year, underlining the importance of the composer as a leading figure in British cultural history.

Richard Jarman, Director of BPF, 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.’

BPF is investing £6.5m to mark Britten’s centenary: in performances of Britten’s work; re-developing The Red House; and inspiring the audiences of the future through digital and educational initiatives.