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Tippett was born in London of English and Cornish lineage. His mother was a charity worker and a suffragist, and he was a cousin of the suffrage leader Charlotte Despard.Although he enjoyed his childhood, his parents decided to travel and live on the continent after losing their hotel business in southern France. , and Michael and his brother went to schools as interns in England.
At that time, Tippett received a scholarship and studied at Fettes College, Edinburgh, but soon moved to Stamford (Lincolnshire), in whose school he studied, after some extremely unfortunate personal experience.
This, combined with the discovery of his homosexuality, helped to make Tippett’s teenage years and youths lonely and stressful enough. Although he was open about his sexual orientation, it seems that he began to feel some emotional restraint from a very early age, and this later became a great motivation to compose. Before this time in Stamford, Tippett had almost no contact with music, let alone serious training. He considered it was in Stamford, where he received piano lessons and saw him direct Malcolm Sargent, where he decided to become a composer, although he did not know what it meant or how to start.
His pacifist effort earned him a prison sentence during World War II (1943). For many years his works were mistakenly considered as difficult to access. Tippett always had a spirit particularly open to knowledge, literature and philosophy from other countries in Europe and Africa. The scripts he wrote for his own operas reflect his interest in the dilemmas of society and the struggles of the human spirit. Tippett was openly gay
He studied at Marlborough and the Royal College of Music in London, where he learned composition with Ralph Vaughan Williams and conducting with Adrian Boult. In the 1920s he lived in the English county of Surrey, where he started his musical activity directing local orchestras.
Unlike his contemporaries William Walton and Benjamin Britten, Tippett began to compose quite late, being very critical of his early works. At thirty he destroyed all his compositions and began to study counterpoint and escape with Reginald Owen Morris, who exercised a profound influence on his mature works.
Tippett was not a very prolific composer; his work, which spans almost sixty years, includes five string quartets, four concerts, four symphonies, five operas, as well as a number of choral compositions.
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