Benjamin Britten's 24-Hour Centennial Celebration

Great Britten: Q2 Music's Daylong Immersion into the Works of Benjamin Britten

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


On Friday, Nov. 22, Q2 Music presents Great Britten – a 24-hour marathon celebrating the centennial of the late British composer Benjamin Britten (born Nov. 22, 1913 in Lowestoft, England; died Dec. 4, 1976 in Aldeburgh, England). 

With hosting by composer and self-avowed Britten obsessive Nico Muhly and tributes from a star-studded roster of Britten conductors, musicians and enthusiasts, Great Britten promises a deep dive into the music and legacy of one the most beloved compositional voices of the last 100 years. 

Comprised of an eight-hour playlist repeating at 8 am and 4 pm, Great Britten selections include "Abraham and Isaac" from The Canticles with tenor Ian Bostridge, countertenor David Daniels and pianist Julius Drake; the Violin Concerto with violin soloist Janine Jansen; Cello Suite No. 1 with cellist Mstislav Rostropovich; Saint Nicolas with conductor Stephen Layton leading the Choir of Trinity College Cambridge; and many others.

Additional voices featured during Great Britten include conductor and Britten expert Steuart Bedford, music directors Alan Gilbert (New York Philharmonic), Michael Tilson Thomas (San Francisco Symphony), Marin Alsop (Baltimore Symphony), David Roberston (St. Louis Symphony), Donald Runnicles (BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra), James Conlon (Los Angeles Opera) and Peter Oundjian (Toronto Symphony Orchestra); violinist Gil Shaham; and vocalists including countertenor Iestyn Davies, soprano Susanna Phillips and tenors Nicholas Phan and Anthony Dean Griffey.


Hosted by:

Nico Muhly


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Comments [6]

paolo caliari from milano, italy

...thnx so much for the marathon-tribute to one of the greatest of the last century...happy bday benjamin!

Nov. 22 2013 06:26 PM

I just wish qxr would actually devote airtime to britten rather than relegate it to q2. kcr's playing such gorgeous choral music right now, much of which I'd never heard before.

Nov. 22 2013 05:21 PM
G. Paul Padillo from Portland, ME

I think Mr. Fischbein, may have misunderstood what's occurring today; this is not a Muhly event, but rather a 24 hour tribute to Benjamin Britten's inestimable contribution to the world of music, Britten whose 100th Birthday is being celebrated today. I can think of no better way for a classical music station to be paying tribute.

I was pleased to see you live in Front Royal . . . I used to for a number of years (my parents now live in Winchester).

G. Paul Padillo

Nov. 22 2013 04:03 PM
Robert St.Onge

Mr. Fischbein, please don't confuse your antipathy for the composer of 'Two Boys' with his duties as host of a 100-year celebration of the life and music of Benjamin Britten. It is right and proper that we honor Britten on this day, even as we remember and mourn the assassination of President John Kennedy on this same day.

Nov. 22 2013 03:49 PM
Craig from San Francisco

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this marathon devoted to Britten on his birthday.

Nov. 22 2013 06:09 AM
Charles Fischbein from Front Royal, Va.

I will admit I like nothing about Nico Muhly's music, so I may be biased. However, one would think that another day rather than Nov.22, 2013 could have been chosen for this event. Tomorrow, many Americans will be commemorating the death of J.F.K with dignified events snf services throughout the Country. This Muhly event should be done on a different day.
I am willing to wager that a large number of people who will listen to this internet broadcast will not even know what took place 50 years ago.
God Speed, Charles Fischbein God Speed, Charles Fischbein

Nov. 21 2013 04:29 PM

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Q2 Music is WQXR’s multiplatform home for musical discovery and dynamic new classical music from trailblazing composers, ensembles and leading New York new-music venues. Q2 Music's 24/7 stream lives online at and is accessible via the free WQXR app.


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