Mourning for a Britten musician

Mourning for a Britten musician


norman lebrecht

February 16, 2021

The conductor Steuart Bedford died yesterday at the age of 81.

A positive and discreet member of the Aldeburgh circle, he conducted the world premiere of Death in Venice, as well as the first recording, and was much in demand worldwide for the rest of Britten’s operas.

He was an artistic director of the Aldeburgh Festival from 1974 to 1998.

Steuart’s wife Celia predeceased him in April 2020.

His brother, the composer David Bedford, died in 2011. A third brother, Peter Lehman Bedford, was a singer.

photo: ECO archive


  • John Lloyd says:

    So sad. In addition to all his Britten and conducting achievements, he was a hugely talented concert pianist and performed many of the big concertos, such as Rachmaninov 2&3. At Oxford I sang in the first opera he ever conducted (Albert Herring, Oxford Playhouse, February 1964). He taught me more than I can say and was a wonderfully kind person.

  • Luis says:

    An essential figure for all of us who love British music in general and Britten’s in particular

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    RIP, Steuart Bedford. So many benefitted from your expertise yet you remained so dignified and discreet. Thank you for all you did.

  • Adrian Brown says:

    He was a marvelous conductor for whom I played at the Academy. We met again at Garsington for Death in Venice a couple of years ago. A conductor and a real musician if integrity

  • Adrian Brown says:

    A great conductor and a real musician of integrity.