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Michael Fitzhardinge Berkeley, Baron Berkeley of Knighton, CBE was born on 29 May 1948. One of three sons of the composer Sir Lennox Berkeley, Berkeley was educated at The Oratory School, in Woodcote, and Westminster Cathedral Choir School. He was a chorister at Westminster Cathedral, and he frequently sang in works composed or conducted by his godfather, Benjamin Britten. He studied composition, singing and piano at the Royal Academy of Music. He also played in a rock band, Seeds of Discord. In his twenties, when he went to study with Richard Rodney Bennett, he concentrated on composition.

His compositions include an oboe concerto (1977), an oratorio ‘Or Shall We Die?’ (libretto by Ian McEwan) (1982), Gethsemani Fragment (1990), Twenty-One (1991), an opera Baa Baa Black Sheep (libretto by David Malouf based on the childhood of Rudyard Kipling) (1993). Orchestral works include ‘Secret Garden’ (1997) and ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’ (1998) plus concerti for clarinet, oboe, and cello. In 2000, Berkeley wrote his second opera, ‘Jane Eyre’.

Berkeley arranged the choral parts in Kate’s song Hello Earth, sung by the Richard Hickox Singers.