John Bull (1563 - 1628)
John Bull was among the most distinguished English keyboard players of his time, and his career forms a link with the developing keyboard tradition of the Netherlands. Bull was in the service of Queen Elizabeth and her successor before taking refuge in the Netherlands to avoid various charges levelled at him in England. He was known as an organist and virginalist, and as a maker of both instruments (the virginal, or virginals, being a form of keyboard instrument with a mechanism for plucking rather than hammering the strings).
Bull wrote keyboard compositions based on both sacred and secular models. The best known of his works must be The King’s Hunt, with a series of dance movements, fantasias and song-variations, some of which make considerable demands on the performer.