Bass-baritone John Shirley-Quirk, eminent Britten expert and Peabody Institute faculty member, dies at 82

News came overnight that John Shirley-Quirk has died in Bath, England, at the age of 82. The bass-baritone was a most eloquent singer; an especially insightful interpreter of music by Benjamin Britten; a man of great personal charm; and an inspiring teacher, who served froim 1992 to 2012 on the faculty at the Peabody Institute.

I wanted to share this exquisite performance by Mr. Shirley-Quirk of a song by Ralph Vaughan Williams that, in a few short minutes, captures the essence of this vocal artist's rare gifts.

Peabody director Jeffrey Sharkey issued this statement Tuesday morning:

The Peabody community is saddened to lose John Shirley-Quirk, a respected colleague, beloved teacher, and consummate musician. I had the honor of working with John for most of my years as director at Peabody. I first heard him sing at Tanglewood in the summer of 1980 and was captivated by his lyrical voice and warmth of spirit.

John had one of the most distinguished vocal careers in the world, including his outstanding collaborations with Benjamin Britten. I am grateful to have seen first-hand his wonderful teaching and commitment to all of his students. Our thoughts are with John’s wife and our friend, Terry Shirley-Quirk, and all of their family during this difficult time.



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