Britten, (Edward) Benjamin (b Lowestoft, 22 November, 1913 - d Aldeburgh, 4 December, 1976)
As a boy Britten studied with Frank Bridge, and in 1930 he entered the Royal College of Music. In 1934 he tried to study with Alban Berg, but opposition from home stopped him. In 1935 he began working for the GPO Film Unit along with Auden; they also worked together on concert works. In 1939 he left England for the USA with his life long companion Peter Pears. He wrote his first opera, Paul Bunyan in 1941. On returning the England in 1942 he wrote his anthem Rejoice in the Lamb. After writing Peter Grimes in 1945 (the central role being the first of many written for Pears) Britten wrote smaller scale operas and large concert works. In 1948 Britten and Pears founded the Aldeburgh Festival. Over the forthcoming years much of his output was written for Aldeburgh Festival, or for his favoured performers (such as the Cello Symphony for Rostropovich in 1963).