Benjamin Britten was perhaps the most important British composer of the twentieth century, writing a huge range of works including opera, vocal music, and orchestral and chamber pieces. Britten was born in Lowestoft, Suffolk, in 1913 and showed musical talent from an early age. He studied at the Royal College of Music in London and took private tuition with the composer Frank Bridge, first coming to public prominence with his choral work A Boy was Born in 1934. His opera Peter Grimes brought him international fame, and over the next 28 years he wrote 14 more operas and established himself as one of the leading composers of the 20th century in this genre.
Britten wrote a large number of works for amateur performers and children, and often wrote with specific performers in mind. He is known for his collaborations with his partner, the tenor Peter Pears, for whom many roles in his operas were specifically written. He was also a close friend of the Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, for whom he wrote his Cello Suites, Cello Symphony, and Cello Sonata.