Henry Purcell


Henry Purcell was a British composer whose pieces are still played today. Born in 1659, Henry was the son of a Westminster Abbey choir director. He spent his early years hearing the choir. His father passed away when he was five years old, and he continued to grow amidst tragedies such as the Plague and the Great Fire of London. But he enjoyed the music very much. When he was eighteen, he gained a court position, composer-in-ordinary for violins.

By that time, Henry was a keyboard virtuoso, and two years later, he because the organist at Westminster Abbey. He continued as the organist there for the rest of his short life. In 1683, he was Royal Instrument Keeper, and two years later, he became the court harpsichordist. He wrote for many instruments, and he composed several operas, retelling the stories of Dido and Aeneas, King Arthur, and The Fairy-Queen (based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream). Henry married and had six children, though only two lived to grow up. He passed away at age 36, possibly of chocolate poisoning, but more likely from tuberculosis. 

The Art



Print Resources*

Photo of Composer:  Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=279888

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