Benjamin Britten

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Britten reading a newspaper
Benjamin Britten in 1968
Benjamin Britten (Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten, 1913–1976) was an English composer, perhaps best known for his operas including Peter Grimes, Albert Herring, and Billy Budd, as well as The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra and his War Requiem. He was born in Lowestoft, Suffolk and began composing at an early age. He was educated at Gresham's School, Norfolk, and the Royal College of Music.

According to Operabase, Britten has more operas played worldwide than any other composer born in the 20th century,[1] and only Puccini and Richard Strauss come ahead of him if the list is extended to all operas composed after 1900.[2]

He shared a house for a while with the composer Lennox Berkeley. In 1936 he met the tenor Peter Pears who became his life partner. In 1939 they moved to America. They returned in 1942, registering as conscientious objectors, and moved to The Red House in Aldeburgh, Suffolk. In 1948 they founded the Aldeburgh Festival.

Britten declined a knighthood, but accepted a life peerage a few months before his death.


  1. Operabase List of top composers
  2. Britten-Pears Foundation press release