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date: 25 August 2019

Sweelinck [Swelinck, Zwelinck, Sweeling, Sweelingh, Sweling, Swelingh], Jan Pieterszoonlocked

  • Randall H. Tollefsen
  • , revised by Pieter Dirksen


(b Deventer, ?May 1562; d Amsterdam, Oct 16, 1621). Dutch composer, organist and teacher. He was not only a famous organist and one of the most influential and sought-after teachers of his time but also one of the leading composers, of vocal as well as of keyboard music.

Sweelinck was the elder son of Peter Swybbertszoon and his wife Elske Sweeling. Swybbertszoon, Sweelinck and Sweelinck’s son Dirck were successively organists of the Oude Kerk, Amsterdam, almost uninterruptedly from about 1564 to 1652, and Sweelinck’s paternal grandfather and uncle were also organists. For as yet unknown reasons Sweelinck adopted the family name of his mother, first using it on the title-page of his Chansons of 1594. From his early youth until his death he lived in Amsterdam. He never left the Low Countries and was never away from Amsterdam for longer than a few days at a time (except perhaps for a stay in Haarlem for study); the oft-repeated tale of his study in Venice with Zarlino, first related by Mattheson in ...

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