|Year of Birth:||1912|
|Year of Death:||1979|
Alfred George Deller, CBE (31 May 1912 – 16 July 1979), was an English singer and one of the main figures in popularising the return of the countertenor voice in Renaissance and Baroque music during the 20th century.
He is sometimes referred to as the "godfather of the countertenor". His style in singing lute song, with extensive use of rubato and extemporised ornamentation, was seen as radical and controversial in his day but is now considered the norm.
Deller was an influential figure in the renaissance of early music: an early proponent of "original instrument performance" and one of the first to bring this form to the popular consciousness through his broadcasts on the BBC. He also founded the Stour Music Festival in 1962, one of the first and most important early music festivals in the world.
Deller was born in Margate, a seaside resort in Kent. As a boy, he sang in his local church choir. When his voice broke, he continued singing in his high register, eventually settling as a countertenor. Deller was initially employed as a lay clerk at Canterbury Cathedral from 1940 to 1947, before joining the choir of St. Paul's Cathedral (1947–62).
From this choral tradition, Deller emerged as a soloist, largely as a result of the admiration of the composer Michael Tippett, who heard him while at Canterbury and recognised the unique beauty of his voice. Tippett introduced him to the public as a countertenor, rather than a male alto. He also became better known with a radio broadcast of Henry Purcell's Come ye Sons of Art on the BBC's Third Programme when this station was launched in 1946. He concentrated on popularising and recording the music of English Baroque and Renaissance music by composers such as John Dowland and Purcell.