Henry Purcell

Fun Facts

  • Born into a family of respected musicians, Purcell had a privileged and comfortable upbringing.

  • Purcell is often considered to be England's greatest musician.

  • Purcell died at the height of his career, when he was just 36.

  • Purcell composed for the stage, the church, and the English court.

  • Purcell was the favorite composer of Queen Mary II.

  • When he was just twenty years old, Purcell landed the impressive job of organist at Westminster Abbey.

  • Dido and Aeneas, Purcell’s monumental opera, was performed for the first time by a girls’ boarding school.

  • Only two of Purcell's six children survived infancy.

  • Purcell was employed by three different kings.

  • Purcell was buried next to the organ in Westminster Abbey.

  • Purcell composed the music for Queen Mary’s funeral. A short time later, the same music was used at his own funeral.

  • Purcell's earliest known composition was written in honor of King Charles' birthday.

  • A leading composer of the Baroque Period, Purcell's styles and techniques helped to change the face of music composition in Britain.

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