Often confused with his cousin Jean Baptiste Loeillet (aka 'Loeillet de Gant'), John Loeillet of London played a leading role in the musical life of England's capital at the beginning of the 18th century. Renowned as a master and teacher of the harpsichord, he introduced the music of Corelli to London and associated with Handel and William Croft, in addition to composing much instrumental music.
Born in Ghent and baptised as Jean Baptiste Loeillet on 18 November 1680, John Loeillet was probably brought up by his uncle, Pieter Loeillet, following his father's death in 1685. In 1705 he settled in London where his Christian name was anglicised and his surname often altered to 'Lully' or 'Lullie'. In 1707 he is mentioned as a member of the Drury Lane Orchestra and, a few years later, as principal oboist and flautist at the Queen's Theatre, Haymarket.
By 1710 he was giving weekly concerts at his house in Covent Garden and in 1714 gave the first performance of Corelli's op. 6 set of concerti grossi. In 1722, as a respected keyboard player, he tested a new organ at St Dionis Blackchurch along with Handel and William Croft. John Loeillet died on 19 July 1730 and left all his music books and instruments to his uncle in France.
Of his music, the nine suites of lessons for harpsichord are unremarkable, though his instrumental sonatas (in the sonata da chiesa pattern of movements) are more innovative. His most adventurous music is probably contained in the trio sonatas for two violins, which are reminiscent of Corelli and Vivaldi.