A service of Cincinnati Public Radio  

Benjamin Britten:
About Benjamin Britten

After studying at the Royal Conservatory of Music in London, Benjamin Britten got a job writing film music. Then he went on to compose choral music, chamber music, songs, and quite a few operas, including some for major events in British history. In addition to being a composer, Britten was an excellent pianist and conductor.

Music heard in this episode:
Britten: Hymn to St. Cecilia
Britten: Waltz #2
Britten: Rejoice in the Lamb
Britten: War Rwquiem: Sanctus
Britten: Ceremony of Carols: Deo Gratias
Britten: Sea Interludes: Sunday Morning
Britten: Courtly Dances from Gloriana
Britten: Sweet Polly Oliver
Britten: The Miller of Dee
Britten: Simple Symphony: Playful Pizzicato

Other shows about Benjamin Britten:
The Simple Symphony
Pizzicato and Other Musical Terms
The Instruments of the Orchestra - Part 1
The Instruments of the Orchestra - Part 2

Download this month's activity sheet

About Benjamin Britten
11/22/1913 - 12/4/1976
Born in Great Britain

Benjamin Britten was an expert in three different musical fields -- conducting, composing and playing the piano. Britten was born in Lowestoft, a town on the English seacoast. (His birthday, November 22nd, happens to be the saint day of the patron saint of music, St. Cecilia.) Benjamin's father was a dentist; his mother loved to sing, and regularly held concerts in their home.

From the moment he started playing the piano, Britten knew he wanted to earn his living as a composer. His first paying job was writing music for films.

Britten was a pacifist -- he didn't believe in fighting wars. So when it became obvious that England would go to war with Germany in 1939, Britten left for America. But it was impossible to take the "Brit" out of Britten. In the middle of World War II, he sailed back to his native country.

When the war was over, the biggest opera company in England held a gala reopening, and commissioned Britten to write a new opera for the occasion. Britten was also asked to compose an opera when Elizabeth II was crowned Queen of England.

See other composers born in Great Britain


This Week's Quiz:

1. Britten was born on St. Cecilias Day. Of what is St. Cecilia the patron saint?






2.What was Brittens first job after graduation?



Church Organist

Composing music for documentary films

Orchestra Conductor

3. Where did Britten write A Ceremony of Carols?

In the United States

In the forest

Onboard ship traveling back to England

At school

On a movie set


Talk to us
We love to hear your comments on Classics for Kids.

Get the Classics for Kids Volume 1 & 2 CD set for your family

Home | This Week's Show | Past Shows | Composers | Games | Music | More | For Grownups
On the Radio | Events | Links | Contact Us
Teachers | Parents | About Classics for Kids | Privacy Policy
©2017, Cincinnati Public Radio, Inc.