Tippett, who with Benjamin Britten is considered one of the U.K.'s foremost post-war composers, was born in London on January 2, 1905, and studied at the Royal College of Music. He continued to compose well into his nineties, and died in 1998.
He was known for his political radicalism and the response to world events, such as the world wars and the Depression, that punctuates his work. A conscientious objector, he was jailed for three months in 1943; A Child of Our Time, an oratorio written on the eve of World War II, is a protest against tyranny and one of his most frequently performed works.
Highlights of this year's centenary celebration include performances of his operas The Knot Garden at the Scottish Opera and The Midsummer Marriage at the Royal Opera. A series of concerts at Wigmore Hall, starting today and running through January 9, will concentrate on Tippett's chamber music, and the Royal College of Music is mounting a three-month festival devoted to the composer with such guest artists as Robert Tear, Roger Vignoles, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Steve Martland, and the Belcea Quartet.
A complete list of concerts is available at www.tippett100.com.
In fall 2005, an edition of Tippett's letters will be published by Faber & Faber.