Giovanni Battista Draghi

(c. 1640—1708) musical performer and composer

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(b ?Rimini, c.1640; d London, 13 May 1708). Italian composer and keyboard player. He was possibly a brother of Antonio Draghi and like him may have trained in Venice, though nothing definite is known of him until the autumn of 1662, when he joined an Italian opera company that had recently arrived in London from Dresden. In 1764 he wrote his first known theatre music for Thomas Shadwell's version of Shakespeare's The Tempest, and subsequently contributed songs to plays by Aphra Behn and Nahum Tate, among others. Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn both testify to his powers as a keyboard player and organist, and in 1773 Catherine of Braganza, the wife of Charles II, appointed him organist to her private chapel in Somerset House. In 1687 he was appointed organist to King James II and is believed to have taught his younger daughter, the future Queen Anne. In later life he was supported by pensions awarded by successive British monarchs. Most of his large-scale works are lost. His extant keyboard music is widely regarded as among the finest produced in Restoration England, equalling that of Purcell.

From The Oxford Companion to Music in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Music.

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