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Michael Altenburg

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Biography

Michael Altenburg (27 May 1584 – 12 February 1640) was a German theologian and composer.

Altenburg was born at Alach, near Erfurt. He began attending school in Erfurt in 1590; he began studying theology at the University of Erfurt in 1598, and was awarded a bachelor’s degree in 1599 and a master’s in 1603. From 1600 he taught at the Reglerschule in Erfurt; he was Kantor at St. Andreas from 1601 and rector of the school at St. Andreas in Erfurt from 1607. In 1609 he quit teaching to become a pastor, moving to Tröchtelborn and preaching there until 1621. During this period Altenburg published music, and was compared to Orlando di Lasso.

After 1621 he moved to Sömmerda, working at the Bonifaciuskirche. While he continued to publish and was respected for his compositions, the Thirty Years War sapped his efforts. In 1636 a massive plague wiped out most of his congregation, and his wife and ten of his children died before himself. He returned to Erfurt in 1637, where he remained as deacon and, from 1638, minister at St Andreas.[1]

Much of Altenburg’s compositional output consists of vocal concertos, motets and chorales.

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