Britten was born in Lowestoft in 1913 and grew up in a house that faced across the North Sea, influencing most of his songs. It was an exceptionally musical family, and his mother supported his early attempts at composition in particular. He started composition lessons at 15 with the composer Frank Bridge, an essential tutor during Britten's early career. With early written pieces and such enduring classics as the Simple Symphony and A Boy Was Born, Britten soon enjoyed popularity. The Peter Grimes opera of 1945 made his reputation, though, and that of Pears, who sang the title role.
Peter Grimes was seen as raising English opera to heights not seen since Henry Purcell and sealed Britten's universal prestige. Smaller chamber operas quickly followed, such as the Rape of Lucretia in 1946 and the lighter-hearted Albert Herring, produced by Britten's co-founded English Opera Group (EOG). Pears proposed that when on an EOG tour of European festivals in 1947, they could launch a festival of their own in the seaside town of Suffolk where Britten had just bought a home. A year later, the first Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts was organized. The Queen opened Snape Maltings Concert Hall in 1967 as a more fantastic location for the increasing festival, which proceeds to prosper under Aldeburgh Music's auspices to this day.
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