Britten 100 at the Music Library

Celebrations have been taking place worldwide to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of the English composer, conductor and pianist Benjamin Britten, born in Lowestoft on 22 November 1913.

Britten was a central figure of 20th-century British classical music, with a range of works including opera, other vocal music, orchestral and chamber pieces. His best-known works include the opera Peter Grimes (1945), the War Requiem (1962) and the orchestral showpiece The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (1945).

Britten showed a talent for music from an early age. He studied at the Royal College of Music in London and also privately with the composer Frank Bridge. With the premiere of Peter Grimes in 1945, Britten leapt to international fame. Over the next 28 years, he wrote 14 more operas, establishing himself as one of the leading 20th-century composers in the genre. Themes in his operas include the struggle of an outsider against a hostile society, and the corruption of innocence.

Britten died in 1976. Audiences for his work have continued to increase and subsequent composers influenced by his life and work: Britten was a key figure in the growth of British musical culture in the second half of the 20th century.

See what delights the Music Library holds in store for Britten fans and learn more about Britten and all other matters musical with Grove Music Online (use your library card number for full access to the site)

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