Born November 22, 1913, in Lowestoft, England
Died December 4, 1976, in Aldeburgh, England
Suite on English Folk Tunes
Benjamin Britten was the son of a dental surgeon and an amateur singer. He loved music and began to compose at the age of 5. He studied the piano and the viola, then began composition lessons. He won a composition scholarship to the Royal College of Music. After graduating, he was determined to make his living as a composer. He wrote music for a variety of documentary films and plays.
He came to America during the years of 1939-1942 but returned to England. He was exempted from military service and allowed to continue his composition work if he agreed to perform as a pianist at the wartime concerts promoted by the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts. The next years were spent performing the compositions he had already written, as well as writing for opera. Britten’s work as an opera composer gained him an international reputation. He was the first musician to be gifted with the title of “Lord” by the Queen. He also received commissions to write works for special occasions. In 1948 he successfully planned the first Aldeburgh Music Festival which quickly became an annual event.