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Benjamin Britten

A Note from our program director, Peter Van de Graaff:

There are very few composers in history who excel at writing every genre of music: chamber, symphonic, opera, sacred, etc. One of those very few celebrates his 100th birthday in November; Benjamin Britten, born on November 22, the day of the patron saint of music: St. Cecelia. We celebrate Benjamin Britten all month long on WFMT, not only as one of England’s truly great composers (along with Purcell, Elgar and Vaughan Williams), but as one of history’s greatest.

Peter Van de Graaff

New York Phil Honors Britten

New York Philharmonic with music director Alan Gilbert

Thursday at 8:00 PM He was our feature for the month of November; and musicians around the world are concentrating on Benjamin Britten’s music in honor of the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth. There’s a lot of music to choose from, though his output was especially rich for the tenor voice, reflecting Britten’s devotion more…

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Benjamin Britten, Hear the Documentary

Benjamin Britten

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth of composer Benjamin Britten, WFMT commissioned a documentary on his life and music by one who played for the composer, producer Jon Tolansky. The two-hour program offers commentary by musicians for whom Britten’s music was written, and by those who perform his works today

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Bill McGlaughlin on Benjamin Britten

Benjamin Britten at the piano

[Benjamin Britten: this week on Exploring Music, weeknights on WFMT] As celebrations of Britten at 100 continue, Bill McGlaughlin takes a moment to reflect on his many years of presenting works by this English enigma

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Bridging the Gap for a Young Genius

Benjamin Britten

Benjamin Britten

The student-teacher relationship between Frank Bridge and Benjamin Britten is one of those touching, and inspirational tales. Frank Bridge didn’t have to smile on this curly-headed kid, but he sure did, and it proved to be be essential to the young composer’s development.

On Monday evening, Bill McGlaughlin’s 5-part exploration of the life and art of Benjamin Britten begins at 7:00 PM. Listen to Bill’s account

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Great Expectations: Odyssey of a Curly-Headed Boy

Benjamin Britten, photo from the Library of Congress

Benjamin Britten, photo from the Library of Congress

There’s something almost Dickensonian about the childhood of Benjamin Britten. He had his heroes and his nemeses. Born in a seaside town, it was the magic of an orchestral suite about the sea that really set eleven-year-old Britten on fire. The piece was barely older than he was, but its power to conjure a storm on the North Sea bowled the boy over

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Who Was Benjamin Britten?

Benjamin Britten, 1968

Benjamin Britten, 1968

The curious case of Benjamin Britten produces endless articles and speculation. There are many who knew, and worked with him, but no one claims to understand him. Britten functioned in a very pragmatic world, writing for broadcasts, public events and for schoolchildren; at the same time he was sending works to the best opera companies, the best soloists

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See video: Bostridge on Britten

Tenor Ian Bostridge

Tenor Ian Bostridge

The English language barrier: Benjamin Britten was a brilliant composer; he is also uniquely international. He pops up at La Scala, La Fenice and at the Mariinsky Theatre

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