By Eric Jome, Media Relations at Illinois State University
Benjamin Britten at 100: An American Centenary Symposium will be held on the Illinois State University campus October 24-27.
The symposium will include music, theatre and dance performances, historical exhibits, scholarly presentations and a film premiere celebrating the life and work of one of England’s foremost composers.
The four-day event, the largest Britten centenary celebration in the United States, will bring together performers and scholars from across the U.S., Canada, England, Scotland and Wales. More information, including a complete list of events and registration details, can be found online.
The symposium will feature a performance of Britten’s seminal masterpiece War Requiem, a work for orchestra, soloists, choirs and organ; the premiere of Tony Palmer’s Nocturne, a film about Britten’s life and work in the 20th century; performances of Britten’s choral music; and a scholarly conference examining Britten’s life and works, with a particular emphasis on his time in the U.S. from 1939 to 1942.
While in the U.S., Britten had a particular tie to the Midwest. He made his American debut performing the U.S. premiere of his “Piano Concerto No. 1 in D” with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra in Chicago in January 1940. Britten performed numerous times in Chicago and also premiered works in Cleveland, Cincinnati Philadelphia, New York and Los Angeles.