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Alfred Deller

1912 - 1979
Conductor, Countertenor


Alfred Deller, countertenor
Born 31 May 1912 at Margate, England
Died 16 July 1979 at Bologna, Italy
During his childhood, sang as boy soprano in church choirs
1940 - Member of Canterbury Cathedral Choir (until 1947)
1943 - Michael Tippett arranges his London debut as a solo countertenor.
Approaches the Baroque repertoire – rediscovery of English composers of the 16th and 17th centuries
1946 - Makes promising, critically acclaimed debuts, and his first radio broadcasts in UK
1949 - First commercial recording (Purcell), with Walter Bergmann
1950 - Foundation of the Deller Consort with the lutenist Desmond Dupré, a close collaborator with whom he makes his second recording (Dowland).
1955 - Begins international touring with the Consort (until 1979), in repertoire also featuring music from before and after the Elizabethan era. Starts working on the 18th century and modern period (Britten), but also the early Middle Ages.
1960 - Sings the role of Oberon at the premiere of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a part specially written for him by Britten.
1963 - Foundation of Stour Music Festival (Kent)
1964 - His son Mark (also a countertenor) joins the Deller Consort
1968 - First recording for harmonia mundi
1970-1979 - Makes for this label some fifty recordings as soloist, with the Consort or with chorus and orchestra Director of the Académie de Musique Anglaise. Summer courses at Sénanque Abbey and Lacoste, organised by harmonia mundi.
1970 - Appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire

Updated January 2015

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