Birth / Death Dates
1659 – 1695
An English organist and composer of secular and sacred music, Purcell is considered to be the all-time greatest setter of the English language to music. Although Purcell incorporated Italian and French stylistic elements into his compositions, his legacy was a uniquely English form of the Baroque style. He wrote a vast number of anthems, as well as service music, for the Anglican liturgy, and was also very active in writing music for the theatre, composing a number of Masques, or Semi-operas, including King Arthur, The Fairy Queene, and Diocletian. He is also credited with the first great English-language opera, Dido and Aeneas. After his death, his contemporaries honored him with the epithet "The British Orpheus."