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Photo © Victor Parker
Benjamin Britten is widely regarded as the greatest British composer of his generation: a master of dramatic music in the forms of opera, choral and orchestral works. Often alienated by the prevailing musical establishment, Britten brought into his music influences from European and American contemporary composers, as well as Balinese gamelan. He was equally adept at writing for professionals, amateurs and children, and composed prolifically throughout his life until illness curtailed his activities. He was awarded a life peerage in 1976, becoming Baron Britten of Aldeburgh where he lived for more than thirty years and founded the famous festival in 1948.