Britten Timeline

A short history of Benjamin Britten - his life and works, and the world around him.

1913-11-22 13:16:47


Born in Lowestoft on 22 November (St. Cecilia’s Day – the patron saint of music).

1914-07-28 00:00:00

World War I

begins, lasting for four years, until 11 November 1918

1919-11-22 13:16:47

First attempts at composition

1921-10-01 00:00:00

Starts piano lessons

with Miss Astle, a local music teacher

1922-10-01 00:00:00

Receives music dictionary

from his uncle and starts using the musical terms…

1923-10-01 00:00:00

Starts South Lodge prep school

where, as well as music, he also develops a passion for sport, specifically tennis, swimming, and cricket

1926-10-01 00:00:00

Meets frank bridge

at a concert in Norwich

1927-10-01 00:00:00

Writes 'Chaos and Cosmos'

a symphonic poem written when he was just 13

1928-10-01 00:00:00

Starts at Gresham's School

in Norfolk, boarding away from home

1930-10-01 00:00:00

Starts at Royal College of Music

in London, after receiving a scholarship

1932-10-01 00:00:00

First published composition

entitled 'Three Two-part Songs'

1933-10-01 00:00:00

Starts writing 'Friday Afternoons'

in May, and finishes the set of 12 songs in August 1935. The songs are written for his schoolmaster brother, Robert, and the boys of Clive House Preparatory School in Prestatyn, north Wales The photo is of the boys of Clive House School in 1938. Robert and his wife sit centrally in this photo, and Ben's nephew, John, son of Robert, is sitting in the front row, far left

1934-10-01 00:00:00

Father dies

while Britten is at the International Society of Contemporary Music Festival in Florence

1935-10-01 00:00:00

Starts work

at the GPO Film Unit

1936-10-01 00:00:00

First television

images are broadcast, including some footage from the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin

1937-01-01 00:00:00

mother dies

1937-10-01 00:00:00

Gets to know Peter Pears

his future life partner

1938-10-01 00:00:00

Moves house

to the Old Mill, Snape, Suffolk

1939-05-01 00:00:00

Goes to America

with Peter Pears in May

1939-10-01 00:00:00

World War II

begins, lasting for six years until 8 May 1945

1942-10-01 00:00:00

Returns to England

with Pears, on a Swedish cargo ship

1942-10-01 00:00:00

'Ceremony of Carols'

written, on the boat on the way home

1945-10-01 00:00:00

Writes two works

'Peter Grimes' and 'The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra'

1947-10-01 00:00:00

Moves house

to Crag House, Aldeburgh, Suffolk

1948-10-01 00:00:00

First Aldeburgh Festival

of music and the arts

1951-10-01 00:00:00

Writes new work

'Billy Budd'

1952-02-06 00:00:00

Queen Elizabeth II

comes to the throne, after the death of her father, King George VI on 6 February 1952

1953-06-02 00:00:00

Queen Elizabeth's coronation

takes place on 2 June 1953, at Westminster Abbey in London. Britten was commissioned to write a piece for the occasion - 'Gloriana'

1956-10-01 00:00:00

Far Eastern tour

where he visits Bali and Japan

1957-10-01 00:00:00

Writes new work

'The Prince of the Pagodas'

1957-10-01 00:00:00

Moves house

to The Red House, next to the golf course in Aldeburgh, Suffolk

1958-10-01 00:00:00

Writes new work

'Noye's Fludde', for children

1962-10-01 00:00:00

Writes new work

'War Requiem'

1967-10-01 00:00:00

Snape Maltings Concert Hall

is opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

1969-07-21 00:00:00

Neil Armstrong

becomes the first man to walk on the moon

1969-10-01 00:00:00

Fire at Snape maltings

which destroys the concert hall on the eve of the Aldeburgh Festival

1971-10-01 00:00:00

Writes new work

'Owen Wingrave', for television

1973-10-01 00:00:00

Writes new work

'Death in Venice', which is to be his last opera

1973-10-01 00:00:00

Has heart operation

after which he is unable to play the piano and only compose with difficulty

1976-10-01 00:00:00

Made a life peer

as Baron Britten of Aldeburgh

1976-11-22 22:42:03

Dies at home

in Aldeburgh, in the arms of Peter Pears

Britten Timeline

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