Henry Purcell 1659 � 1695
Born in Westminster, Henry Purcell arrived on the scene at a crucial moment in English musical history. He was still a baby when, in the spring of 1660, the English Commonwealth collapsed and Charles II returned to London in triumph. Joining the Chapel Royal as a choirboy Henry learned his craft alongside John Blow and Pelham Humphrey and lived all his life in London, surviving the Plague and the Great Fire to become one of the city�s busiest and most sought after composers. By the time he was 19he had already been appointed organist at Westminster Abbey and he went on to write with equal skill and imagination for the Church, the Court, for his royal patrons and for the theatre. Such was his gift for expressing the beauty of the English language it was to Purcell that the nation turned to provide music for the great state occasions such as Coronations, Weddings and Funerals. He died suddenly at age just 36from tuberculosis and is buried alongside the organ at Westminster Abbey where his epitaph sums up a man of extraordinary genius;�Here lies Henry Purcell Esq., who left this life and is gone to that blessed place where only his harmony can be exceeded�.

Henry Lawes 1595�1662
Born at Dinton in Wiltshire, Lawes received his musical education from Giovanni Coperario, a famous composer of the day, and in 1626was received as one of the Gentlemen of the Chapel Royal. He published many fine collections of vocal music and composed an anthem for the coronation of King Charles II as well as incidental music to a masque written by his great friend, John Milton, who in return immortalised him in a famous sonnet lauding his talents. Lawes� melodic invention, skilled use of counterpoint and an ability to perfectly match musical and metrical accent cause his songs to be regarded by some as being on a level with those of Schumann or Liszt. Like his countryman Purcell, he too is buried in Westminster Abbey.

Edward Pearce fl 1614
Little is known today about him, but he could certainly write a damn good tune!

Johann Ernst Galliard 1687�1749
Born in Zelle to a French wig maker, Galliard studied composition under Farinelli, director of music at the Court of Hanover. He began composing at age just 15and as a talented Oboe and Recorder player frequently performed his own compositions, earning a position first with George, Prince of Denmark and later, after a move to England, chapel-master of the Somerset House. Despite becoming a familiar face in high society, Galliard fell short to such greats as Handel and Bononcini and refocused on writing instrumental music, joining Handel�s Italian Opera in 1713as an Oboe soloist.

Andrea Falconiero c. 1563�1626
An Italian composer and Lutenist also known as Falconieri. He lived in Parma from 1604 until 1614 and later moved to Rome and then back to his native Naples, where, in 1647he became maestro di capella at the royal chapel.

John Dowland 1586�1656
Born in London, John Dowland was a prolific composer, talented singer and accomplished Lutenist, best known for his songs of powerful melancholy. In recent years his music has enjoyed a well-deserved revival, becoming a source for 21st Century musicians from classical guitarists to the �pop singer� Sting. Following his time in Paris during the 1580�s, in service to the ambassador to the French court, he converted to Catholicism, leading to his lifelong embitterment, he claimed, at never being offered a post at Elizabeth I�s Protestant court. When he finally returned to England in 1606 he eventually secured a post as one of James I�s lutenists and went on to write many books of solo lute works, songs for lute and voice, part-songs with lute accompaniment and several pieces for viol consort. His best-known instrumental work Lachrimae, (Flow my tears) was one of the biggest hits of the seventeenth century. Dowland�s music often displays the melancholia that was so fashionable in music of that time, and he wrote a consort piece with the punning title Semper Dowland, semper dolens (always Dowland, always sad) which may be said to sum up much of his work!

Paul Puerl 1570�1625 German Organist, organ builder and composer of music for Lute and Viol.