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John Sheppard


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John Sheppard (c. 1512 or 1515 – December 1558) was an English singer and composer.

In 1554 he supplicated, apparently unsuccessfully, for the degree of Doctor of Music at Oxford University, stating that he had studied music for 24 years and had ‘composed many songs’. If his study period began in 1530 it is probable that he was born early in the second decade of the sixteenth century. At Michaelmas 1543 he was appointed informator choristarum at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he remained until 1548. By 1552 he was a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal, a post which he may have acquired directly after his departure from Magdalen. Research by David Chadd has revealed that his will was made on 1 December 1558 and that he was buried in 21 December, though he was awarded liveries for the funeral of Queen Mary on 13 December and even for the coronation of Elizabeth I on 15 January 1559, evidently in ignorance of his death.

Sheppard was one of the finest English church composers of the Tudor era, his achievements matched in his generation only by Thomas Tallis. The two most extensive sources of his music are the so-called Gyffard partbooks (GB-Lbm 17802-5), a set of four manuscript part-books probably copied during the 1570s for Dr Roger Gyffard (research by David Mateer) and GB-Och 979-83, five surviving part-books from a set of six copied after 1575 by the Windsor singingman John Baldwin.


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  • Shrink125

    As for the video link...

    14 Sep 2010 Reply
  • Shrink125

    I don't know who the picture is of (although it looks suspiciously like Sir Christopher Wren), but it is from at least 130 years after the death of this composer. Check the wig folks! :)

    17 Jun 2009 Reply