Sir Peter Neville Luard Pears (22 June 1910 – 3 April 1986) was an English tenor. His career was closely associated with the composer Benjamin Britten, his personal and professional partner for nearly forty years.


Sir Peter Neville Luard Pears CBE (/ˈpɪərz/ PEERZ; 22 June 1910 – 3 April 1986) was an English tenor. His career was closely associated with the composer Benjamin Britten, his personal and professional partner for nearly forty years.

Pears' musical career started slowly. He was at first unsure whether to concentrate on playing or singing, and despite the efforts of some of his friends, it was not until he met Britten in 1937 that he threw himself wholeheartedly into singing. Once he and Britten were established as a partnership, the composer wrote many concert and operatic works with Pears's voice in mind, and the singer created roles in more than ten operas by his partner. In the concert hall, Pears and Britten were celebrated recitalists, known in particular for their performances of lieder by Schubert and Schumann. Together they recorded most of the works written for Pears by Britten, as well as a wide range of music by other composers. Working with other musicians, Pears sang an extensive repertoire of music from four centuries, from the Tudor period to the most modern times.

With Britten, Pears was a co-founder of the Aldeburgh Festival in 1947 and the Britten-Pears School in 1972. After Britten died in 1976, Pears remained an active participant in the festival and the school, where he was director of singing. His own voice had a distinctive timbre, not to all tastes, but such was his musical skill that he could use the voice to good effect in many styles of music.


Pears's voice was both unmistakable and controversial. Some music-lovers found his characteristic timbre uncongenial. The critic Alan Blyth described it thus:

Clear, reedy and almost instrumental in quality, it was capable of great expressive variety and flexibility, if no wide range of colour. Its inward, reflective timbre, tinged with poetry, was artfully exploited by Britten, from the role of Peter Grimes to that of Aschenbach, but the voice could also be commanding, almost heroic, as was shown in the more vehement sections of Captain Vere's role or in the part of the Madwoman in Curlew River.

David Cairns broadly concurred, writing:

His voice … was not beautiful in itself; its reedy timbre was so idiosyncratic that for some people it came between them and the music. Even his countless admirers might have agreed that, objectively considered, it lacked warmth and variety of colour. But so great was his skill and so subtle and imaginative his musical sensitivity and mastery of inflection that it conveyed, together with his air of patrician authority, an extraordinary richness of atmosphere and feeling.

Honours and awards

Pears was awarded honorary degrees or fellowships by three music academies and nine universities in the UK and US. He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1957, and knighted in 1978. Other awards included the Queen's Jubilee Medal, 1977, Musician of the Year, Incorporated Society of Musicians, 1978, and the Royal Opera House's Long Service Medal, 1979.

Peter Pears
Info: English tenor
Type: Person Male
Period: 1910.6.22 - 1986.4.3
Age: aged 75
Area :United Kingdom
Occupation :Tenor


Update Time:2018-07-09 07:25 / 3 years, 5 months ago.