Henry Purcell was born in London in 1659, very close to Westminster Abbey where he was to hold the office of organist from 1669 until his death in 1695. In 1682 he was also appointed organist of the Chapel Royal, and in the following year his first printed composition, Twelve Sonatas, was published.
During his tragically short life Purcell produced a wealth of music, ranging from religious compositions to operas and music for plays by leading dramatists of the day. He composed music for adaptations of Shakespeare plays including The Tempest and The Fairy-Queen, adapted from A Midsummer Night's Dream. He also composed music to mark royal events, including two of his finest anthems, I was glad and My hear is inditing for the coronation of King James II and a musical setting for Nahum Tate's birthday ode for Queen Mary, Come ye Sons of Art.
Over the centuries which have elapsed since his death Purcell's influence has remained strong, perhaps most notably in the work of Benjamin Britten who created several works based on or influenced by Purcell's compositions.