An English tenor, famous for his performance of Lieder, and for his association with the works of his partner Benjamin Britten.

Peter Neville Luard Pears was born in Farnham in Surrey on 22 June 1910. He began his career as an organ scholar, studied at the Royal College of Music in 1933-4, made his London stage debut in 1942, and was with the Sadler's Wells company from 1943. His was not a conventionally appealing voice, with a slightly weird fluting tenor, but he began his association with Britten in 1937, they went to America in 1939, and it was the pieces Britten wrote specially for his unique voice that made such an impact.

The first was Seven Sonnets by Michelangelo in 1940, and then Britten changed his original conception of Peter Grimes (1945) as a baritone to suit it to Pears. Many subsequent works of the modern repertoire was created for or commissioned by Pears.

In 1948 they founded the now internationally famous music festival at their home of Aldeburgh in Suffolk.

He was created CBE in 1957, and was knighted... year, anyone?. Lord Britten died in 1976, and Sir Peter Pears died in Aldeburgh on 3 April 1986. They are buried together there.

The name, by the way, is pronounced PEERZ: i.e. not like the fruit.

wertperch's first wife met him and said he was one of the most interesting people she had ever met.

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