Aldeburgh Music has announced details of a year-long programme of centenary celebrations for its founder Benjamin Britten. Part of Britten 100, the main focuses of the series, running from November 23, 2012 to November 24, 2013, are the British composer’s native Suffolk landscape, which influenced so many of his works, and his commitment to community and education. There are also a number of new commissions premiered throughout the year.
At the heart of events is the Aldeburgh Festival, running from June 7 to 23, which features premieres by Harrison Birtwistle, Magnus Lindberg, Wolfgang Rihm, Richard Rodney-Bennett, Poul Ruders and Judith Weir. There are also new commissions from artists working outside the classical sphere: the addition of eight new songs to Britten’s Cabaret Songs by playwright Mark Ravenhill and theatre composer Conor Mitchell; a new jazz suite by Guy Barker, inspired by characters in Britten’s operas; and new Britten-influenced visual art works by Abigail Lane, Sarah Lucas and Maggi Hambling.
In addition, the festival presents two of Britten’s operatic works: Peter Grimes, staged on Aldeburgh Beach, performed in concert at Snape Maltings, and explored through a new commission by theatre company Punchdrunk; and the three Church Parables, staged in their original setting of Orford Church.
Away from the festival, Ian Bostridge re-interprets The Canticles with the help of theatre director Neil Bartlett and lighting designer Paule Constable, and sound artist Chris Watson creates a new work based on Britten’s composing walks around the Aldeburgh marshes.
Several community projects recognise Britten’s strong dedication to education, too. UK-wide singing initiative Friday Afternoons is based on Britten’s songs for children’s choir, and a production of Noye’s Fludde takes place in Britten’s birthplace of Lowestoft, performed by local town people.
For full details on Aldebrugh's Britten centenary events visit the Aldeburgh Music website.