On the day Penguin publishes Benjamin Britten: A Life in the Twentieth Century, the first major biography of Britten in twenty years, author Paul Kildea traces the emergence of the greatest English musician of the last century.
In this illustrated lecture Kildea explores the influences on Britten in his first decades – conservative and progressive, social and musical, political and sexual – and how this middle-class boy, who grew up writing music in an early-nineteenth-century manner and playing Beethoven sonatas and works by Wagner and Brahms, became the composer of Peter Grimes, a work that changed the face of English music.
This is the first in a series of three lectures in which conductor Paul Kildea, author of a major new biography of composer Benjamin Britten, explores the life and music of this colossal twentieth-century artist.
The conductor and author, Paul Kildea, was born in Australia. He studied piano and musicology at The University of Melbourne and holds a doctorate from Oxford University. His 1997 Opera Australia debut conducting Janácek’s A Cunning Little Vixen led to his appointment as Simone Young’s assistant. Since then he has conducted many of the great artists of today in opera houses and concert halls throughout Europe and Australia.
He has written and broadcast extensively on music and culture in the twentieth century, recently as a contributor to The Proms: A New History (2007) and An Aldeburgh Anthology (2009). Oxford University Press published his two critically acclaimed books on Britten: Selling Britten (2002) and Britten on Music (2003, and pbk 2008). He is currently writing a biography of the composer for Penguin Press.
Paul Kildea is a former Artistic Director of Wigmore Hall, London, and now lives in Berlin.
Mark Milhofer was a choral scholar at Magdalen College, Oxford, studied at the Guildhall School of Music in London and the As.Li.Co. opera studio in Milan. He made his debut for the Teatro Regio in Parma in La Cenerentola launching his international career.Further significant appearances include Il Matrimonio Segreto, Billy Budd, Cosi fan tutte, The Magician in Menotti's The Consul, Il Turco in Italia, The Madwoman in Curlew River, Die Entfuhrung, Don Pasquale, La Gazza Ladra, The Turn of the Screw, La Scala di Seta, La Rondine. World premières include Marcello Panni's The Banquet, Marco Tutino's Federico II and Alessandro Solbiati’s Leggenda.