John Dowland (1563 - 1626)

One of the greatest lutenists of all time, and England's finest composer of lute songs.  He lived a most exciting life, having been involved, at least peripherally, in a plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I.  Of his instrumental music, the "Lachrimae" is perhaps the best known, and its opening melodic gesture was widely imitated by other composers of the period.  His compositional style also allows him to be considered a Baroque composer.