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Peter Pears (Tenor)

Born: June 22, 1910 - Farnham, Surrey, England
Died: April 3, 1986 - Aldeburgh, England

Sir Peter Pears [full name: Peter Neville Luard Pears] was a famous tenor and organist. Peter Pears was an organ scholar of Hertford College, Oxford. He then studied singing at the Royal College of Music (1933-1934). In 1943 he joined Sadler's Wells. In 1945 he joined the English Opera Group. He enjoyed great success as a Lied and oratorio soloist, in particular as the Evangelist in Bachs Passions. He regularly sang at Covent Garden in London and was a guest performer at the Scala in Milan, in Vienna, Zürich, Munich, Rome and the USA. He made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in October 1974 as Aschenbach in Death in Venice. He was knighted in 1978.

Peter Pears was collaborator and companion of Benjamin Britten. Many of B. Britten's works have parts specifically written for Pears, including Peter Grimes. Pears was the co-librettist for A Midsummer Night's Dream. B. Britten first met Pears in 1934, when Pears was a member of the BBC Singers. They did not become strong friends until a friend of Pears, Peter Burra, died in an air crash. B. Britten and Pears gave their first recital together in 1937, at Balliol College, Oxford. The concert was part of a Spanish Civil War relief program. B. Britten travelled with Pears to Europe and USA. Their return home was marked by a performance of the Michelangelo Sonnets at Wigmore Hall. Its success led EMI to record it, which marked Pears and B. Britten's first recording together. Primarily known for his interpretations of B. Brittens operas, he often sang the title-roles at the premiere performances. Together with B. Britten Pears edited ancient English vocal music. They were together for the 40 years until Benjamin Britten died in 1976; Peter Pears died ten years later of a heart attack. He was buried next to Benjamin Britten in their grave in Aldeburgh.

More Photos

Source: Benjamin Britten Website; Knitting Circle Website; Liner notes to Teldec CD 9031-77614-2 (Cantatas BWV 67, 108 & 127 - conducted by Karl Richter, 1992)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (May 2001)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Benjamin Britten


BWV 102, BWV 151, BWV 245

Theodor Egel Tenor TV Broadcast: BWV 248

George Enescu


BWV 232

Carlo Maria Giulini


BWV 232

Eugen Jochum


BWV 232 (x2), BWV 244 [1st], BWV 245

Otto Klemperer


BWV 244

Karl Münchinger


BWV 244, BWV 248

David Willcocks


BWV 245

Karl Richter


BWV 67, BWV 108, BWV 127, BWV 160

Links to other Sites

Peter Pears Page (Benjamin Britten Website)

Peter Neville Luard Pears (The Knitting Circle)

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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Last update: Monday, May 29, 2017 16:45