Britten's mature compositional style can be seen in choral works such as A Ceremony of Carols and War Requiem. But how did Britten develop his unique musical language? While a student at the Royal College of Music, Britten composed A Boy Was Born, his first major choral work and his first vocal publication (Op. 3). This article examines what Britten was listening to and studying at college and shows how the music of Walton, Vaughan Williams, and Stravinsky demonstrably influence his compositional technique.