Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

From Wind Repertory Project
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina


Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c. 1525, Palestrina, Italy – 2 February 1594, Rome) was an Italian Renaissance composer of sacred music

Documents suggest that he first visited Rome in 1537, when he is listed as a chorister at the Santa Maria Maggiore basilica. He studied with Robin Mallapert and Firmin Lebel. He spent most of his career in the city. Palestrina came of age as a musician under the influence of the northern European style of polyphony, which owed its dominance in Italy primarily to two influential Netherlandish composers, Guillaume Dufay and Josquin des Prez.

From 1544 to 1551, Palestrina was the organist of the Cathedral of St. Agapito, the principal church of his native city. In 1551 Pope Julius III appointed Palestrina maestro di cappella of the Cappella Giulia, the choir of the chapter of canons at St. Peter's Basilica. Palestrina dedicated to Julius III his first published compositions (1554), a book of Masses. It was the first book of Masses by a native composer, since in the Italian states of Palestrina's day, most composers of sacred music were from the Low Countries, France, Portugal, or Spain.

Palestrina was the best-known 16th-century representative of the Roman School of musical composition. He had a lasting influence on the development of church music, and his work has often been seen as the culmination of Renaissance polyphony. He left hundreds of compositions, including 105 masses, 68 offertories, at least 140 madrigals and more than 300 motets. In addition, there are at least 72 hymns, 35 magnificats, 11 litanies, and four or five sets of lamentations.

Works for Winds