LA Opera Celebrates Benjamin Britten Centenary Kick Off In Santa Monica

Friday, 22 Nov 2013, 7:03:00 AM

Mitch James

James Conlon reflects on the artistic legacy of composer Benjamin Britten.
Courtesy Photo
James Conlon reflects on the artistic legacy of composer Benjamin Britten.

LA Opera music director/conductor James Conlon will lead a series of Britten performances across the Southland as part of the Britten 100/LA celebration, in commemoration of the 2013 Benjamin Britten centenary.

Starting today in Santa Monica, he will lead the first of five Britten performances scheduled across Los Angeles, Orange County, and Santa Monica over the course of the next two weeks.

“Several years ago, I realized that by taking advantage of the centenary of Britten’s birth I could motivate many people to try a sustained diet of his music,” Conlon said.

Today, Nov. 22, Britten’s birthday, Conlon will conduct an afternoon Britten Birthday Bash presenting the composer’s “Friday Afternoons,” “Ceremony of Carols,” and “Simple Symphony” performed by students from the Santa Monica–Malibu Unified School District at the Jonathan Beach Club in Santa Monica.

The event starts at 2 pm and admission is free, but reservations are required.

Kimberlea Daggy, national classical radio host and musicologist, is coordinating and hosting the presentation.

The program will begin with the Elementary Honor Choir singing “Friday Afternoons.”

The Middle School Trebles will sing choruses from “Ceremony of Carols,” and the Santa Monica High School Chamber Orchestra will conclude the concert with Britten’s “Simple Symphony.”

Conlon, following in Britten’s footsteps, is bringing emphasis to music written for young people by the English composer.

The concert coincides with Aldeburgh Music’s international singing project, “Friday Afternoons,” where today, Nov. 22, children throughout England will be singing the same Britten’s songs.

This performance highlights Maestro Conlon’s commitment to educating the community about Britten’s music.

Throughout his career, in addition to maintaining his rigorous conducting schedule, Conlon has focused on educating the public, including children, students in public and private schools, at conservatories and universities about the works of important composers.

He has done this through collaborations with singers, musicians, teachers, professors, directors, and community institutions.

For more information about today’s event or to RSVP, contact

The Jonathan Beach Club is located at 850 Palisades Beach Road, Santa Monica.

For more information on the other four events in the coming weeks, visit

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