Jean-Baptiste Lully's original name was Giovanni Battista Lulli; born in Florence in 1632 he lived in France until his death in 1687 (in Paris).
Although Italian by birth, his whole career was French, more precisely in the French royal court: in
1652 he joined the court band as a violinist, in 1658 he began to compose music for the court ballets, and by 1662 he was royal composer and music master to the royal family.
In 1674 he bought certain royal letters of privilege: this meant no opera could be performed in the whole of France without Lully's permission !
A men desirous of power, and not afraid to do what was necessary to obtain it, he died in a strangely fitting manner: to direct the royal band, Lully used a big heavy stick that he banged against the floor to mark the rhythm.
In one occasion he hit himself on the foot, the wound got infected and he died, to be succeed by Marin Marais and, much later, Francois Couperin.
He wrote music for some of Moliere's works, like Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. His court music includes the ballets Atys, Isis, Roland, various suites . He also wrote sacred music.
Lully figures prominently at the beginning of the 1991 movie Tous les matins du monde.
Some of his work has been recorded by Jordi Savall for the Astrea, Audivis and Altavox labels.