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Andrea Gabrieli

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Biography

Andrea Gabrieli (1532/1533? – 30th August 1585) was an Italian composer and organist of the late Renaissance. The uncle of the somewhat more famous Giovanni Gabrieli, he was the first internationally renowned member of the Venetian School of composers, and was extremely influential in spreading the Venetian style in Italy as well as in Germany. He is remembered also as the teacher of the Dutch composer Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck.

Details on Gabrieli’s early life are sketchy. He was probably a native of Venice, most likely the parish of St Geremia. He may have been a pupil of Adrian Willaert at St Mark’s in Venice at an early age. There is some evidence that he may have spent some time in Verona in the early 1550s, due to a connection with Vincenzo Ruffo, who worked there as maestro di cappella – Ruffo published one of Gabrieli’s madrigals in 1554, and Gabrieli also wrote some music for a Veronese academy. Gabrieli is known to have been organist in Cannaregio between 1555 and 1557, at which time he competed unsuccessfully for the post of organist at St Mark’s.

In 1562 he went to Germany, where he visited Frankfurt am Main and Munich; while there he met and became friends with Orlande de Lassus, one of the most wide-ranging composers of the entire Renaissance, who wrote secular songs in French, Italian, and German, as well as abundant Latin sacred music.

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