Composer. He was one of the greatest of Baroque composers, and a towering creative figure of England's Restoration period. His music absorbed Italian and French influences while remaining thoroughly English in expression, and his brilliant use of harmony foreshadowed later techniques of the Classical era. Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas" (c. 1689) is the first important English opera, and is still performed. Other masterworks include the "Fantasia for Strings" (1680), the theatrical masques "King Arthur" (1691) and "The Fairy Queen" (1692), the "Te Deum and Jubilate in D" (1694), "Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary" (1695), and many great songs, among them "Hail, Bright Cecelia" (1692) and "Come Ye Sons of Art" (1694). Purcell was born in Westminster, though his birthdate is only approximate. His father and uncle were gentlemen of the Chapel Royal, where he received his first musical training, and he later studied with composer John Blow. Purcell's earliest surviving compositions were written when he was ten. At 14 he was named assistant keeper of the King's instruments, and from 1682 he was organist of both Westminster Abbey and the Chapel Royal. He died at 36, probably from tuberculosis, and was buried beside the organ at Westminster Abbey. Purcell's premature death was a tragedy. His music had been well received, while his genius showed even greater promise. England would not produce a composer of comparable stature until Edward Elgar, some 200 years later.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards
John Baptista Purcell