On This Gay Day: Benjamin Britten was born in 1913

Composer Benjamin Britten was born on this day in 1913

English composer Benjamin Britten was born on this day in 1913. A central figure in music in the 20th century he composed well known operas, orchestral and vocal music. He is best known for the opera Peter Grimes, War Requiem and The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. 

Born in Lowestoft, Suffolk, Britten was the son of a dentist and he showed a talent for music from an early age. He studied at the Royal College of Music and privately with the composer Frank Bridge.

He garnered attention with his 1934 composition A Boy is Born. The choral work sets a variety of religious based texts to music and was scored as a cappella for a boy’s choir. HIs 1945 opera Peter Grimes made him world famous.

Over the next 28 years he wrote 14 more operas, making him one of the most prolific composers of opera in the 20th century. Alongside large scale works he also wrote smaller pieces designed for smaller venues and companies. He often wrote works with particular singers in mind, many of his works were written specifically for his partner, the tenor Peter Pears.

Prior to his death Britten was given a peerage becoming Baron Britten of Aldeburgh in June 1976. He passed away in December of the same year from congestive heart failure.

Listen to Lawrence Power play Britten’s Elegy for a Solo Viola. 

OIP Staff


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