Shirley-Quirk, John

John Shirley-Quirk CBE (born 28 August 1931) is an English bass-baritone. He was born in Liverpool, England, and sang in his high school choir. He played the violin and was awarded a scholarship. While studying chemistry and physics at Liverpool University, he studied voice with Austen Carnegie. He was a member of staff at Acton Technical College until 1957 and played a part in events leading to the formation of Brunel University. He was a Vicar Choral at St Paul’s Cathedral 1961-62. He made his operatic debut in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande at the Glyndebourne Festival in 1961, was a member of the English Opera Group from 1964 – 1976, and was thus prominent in performing and recording the operatic and vocal works of Benjamin Britten. These included the première performances of Canticle IV: Journey of the Magi and Death in Venice. The latter part was written specially for him, and involves multiple roles as antagonist to the character of Gustav von Aschenbach. In 1977 he created the role of Lev in Sir Michael Tippett’s The Ice Break at Covent Garden. He appears regularly with major orchestras and opera companies throughout the world and has a vast discography.

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John Shirley-Quirk CBE (born 28 August 1931) is an English bass-baritone. He was born in Liverpool, England, and sang in his high school choir. He played the violin and was awarded a scholarship. While studying chemistry and physics at Liverpool University, he studied voice with Austen Carnegie. He was a member of staff at Acton Technical College until 1957 and played a part in events leading to the formation of Brunel University. He was a Vicar Choral at St Paul’s Cathedral 1961-62. He made his operatic debut in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande at the Glyndebourne Festival in 1961, was a member of the English Opera Group from 1964 – 1976, and was thus prominent in performing and recording the operatic and vocal works of Benjamin Britten. These included the première performances of Canticle IV: Journey of the Magi and Death in Venice. The latter part was written specially for him, and involves multiple roles as antagonist to the character of Gustav von Aschenbach. In 1977 he created the role of Lev in Sir Michael Tippett’s The Ice Break at Covent Garden. He appears regularly with major orchestras and opera companies throughout the world and has a vast discography.

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