Peter Pears

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The great tenor Sir Peter Pears (1910-1986) studied music at Keble and served as an organist at Hertford. However, at the end of his second term at Oxford he failed to pass the Moderations exam and could not afford to re-sit it. Later, the University conferred him with an honorary doctorate. Pears was a highly respected vocalist in opera as well as lieder and choral music whose long a productive career spanned nearly half a century. Pears was the life partner of the composer Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) who wrote the leading roles in many of his operas and a number of song cycles with Pears as their intended interpreter. Pears and Britten gave one of their first recitals together at Balliol on 17 Feb 1939.

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