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Aldeburgh: Centenary celebrations for composer Benjamin Britten reach major milestone

09:00 23 November 2012

The Britten Pears Foundation topping out ceremony to mark the completion of their new archive centre at The Red House in Aldeburgh.

L-R Roy Nicholls , Chris Grogan (Britten Pears Foundation) and architect Henry Williams (Stanton Williams)

The Britten Pears Foundation topping out ceremony to mark the completion of their new archive centre at The Red House in Aldeburgh. L-R Roy Nicholls , Chris Grogan (Britten Pears Foundation) and architect Henry Williams (Stanton Williams)

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PREPARATIONS to mark the centenary of one of the country’s greatest composers have reached a major milestone.

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Exactly one year before the 100th anniversary of Benjamin Britten’s birth, a new archive centre built at his former home in Aldeburgh was officially “topped out” yesterday.

Meanwhile, today also sees the official launch of Aldeburgh Music’s year of celebrations.

The archive centre, at the Red House in Golf Lane, is now at full height, with only a few months to go before being handed over to The Britten-Pears Foundation (BPF).

It is set to open its doors at the start of the Aldeburgh Festival in June 2013, as part of the celebrations to mark the Lowestoft-born composer’s 100th birthday.

The centre will house his internationally important archive and is part of a £4.5million opening up of The Red House, supported by a £1.3m Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

For the first time people will be able to visit the studio where Britten wrote his masterpieces and explore his life and work in a major new exhibition.

Chris Grogan, BPF’s director of collections and heritage, said: “Since we broke ground for the new archive centre this time last year, it has been wonderful to watch the building take shape.

“As we mark the topping out, we would like to thank everyone on our design and construction teams for all their great work so far. We can’t wait to start moving in and to opening next summer.” The archive centre is designed by Stanton Williams, who recently won the RIBA Stirling Prize. The main contractor is RG Carter Ltd, with project management by Davis Langdon.

Today young people aged from eight to 18 will perform at Snape Maltings to launch Aldeburgh Music’s year of celebrations. They will be joined by the organisation’s chief executive, Jonathan Reekie, and Britten’s nephews, Alan and John.

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