A year of celebrations across Europe are now in full swing at the Salzburg Festival in the run-up to Harrison Birtwistle’s 80th birthday in July 2014 with a major focus on his music throughout their programming this summer. The festival began with a new production by Alvis Hermanis of the opera Gawain, which saw the first performance of the work outside the UK. John Tomlinson repeats his star role as The Green Knight and the production is conducted by Ingo Metzmacher. The opera was met by strong critical acclaim in Austria, Germany and the UK - Birtwistle’s ‘darkly rasping score came across with a richness and even sensuality that ought to have won it new friends’ Daily Telegraph, and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. There are five performances from July 26.
Elsewhere in the festival there are performances of major concert works spanning his career given by Klangforum Wien conducted by Sylvain Cambreling, OENM and Titus Engel, and the Violin Concerto with Christian Tetzlaff and ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Other organisations to feature his music over the next 12 months include BBC Proms, Dartington, Dublin New Music Festival, Wigmore Hall, Nash Ensemble and in Lugano. Major retrospectives take place at the Barbican Centre in May 2014 and at the South Bank Centre in the autumn of 2014.