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Benjamin Britten

In the north choir (or Musicians) aisle in Westminster Abbey is a memorial stone to Benjamin Britten, musician and composer. It was unveiled by Sir Lennox Berkeley on 21st November 1978 during a concert of Britten's music. The inscription reads:

1913 BENJAMIN BRITTEN OM CH BURIED AT ALDEBURGH 1976

Edward Benjamin Britten was born on 22nd November 1913 at Lowestoft in Suffolk, a son of Robert Britten and his wife Edith. His mother was musical and at school he studied the viola. The composer Frank Bridge was also a great influence in his musical life. At the Royal College of Music he studied under composer John Ireland. He composed film scores, orchestral works and operas including the well-known Noye's Fludde, Peter Grimes and Billy Budd. He and tenor Peter Pears spent some time in America during the second world war and some years later undertook a world tour. He was asked if he would compose a special piece for the Coronation in 1953 but due to devastating floods in the area where he lived he did not have sufficient time. In 1953 he was made a Companion of Honour, in 1965 he was admitted to the Order of Merit and was created Baron Britten of Aldeburgh in 1976. The first London performance of his War Requiem was given in the Abbey on 6th December 1962, with words from the Missa pro Defunctis and the poems of Wilfred Owen. A memorial service was held at the Abbey on 10th March 1977. By his own wish he was buried at Aldeburgh in Suffolk.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

Britten-Pears Foundation

Born

22nd November 1913

Died

4th December 1976

Memorial

21st November 1978

Field

Musician; composer

Location

North Choir Aisle

Memorial Type

Stone

Benjamin Britten
Benjamin Britten memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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The Shrine of St Edward the Confessor is one of the most powerful features of the Abbey. To stand in the presence of a man who is both a saint and a monarch is awe-inspiring.

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The Reverend Christopher Stoltz - Minor Canon

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