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date: 13 December 2019

Willaert [Vuigliart, etc.], Adrian [Adriano]locked

  • Jessie Ann Owens,
  • Lewis Lockwood
  •  and Giulio Ongaro
  • , revised by Michele Fromson



(b Bruges or Roulaers, c1490; d Venice, Dec 7, 1562). South Netherlandish composer active mainly in Italy. He was one of the most important and influential composers and teachers of his time.

Lewis Lockwood, revised by Giulio Ongaro

A contemporary of Willaert’s, Jacques de Meyere, claimed that he was born in Roulaers, while a later writer, Sweertius, gave his birthplace as Bruges. As Willaert’s motet Laus tibi sacra rubens was written for a liturgical ceremony celebrated in Bruges and may have been composed during his visit to Flanders in 1542, Lenaerts has suggested that Bruges seems the more likely.

The little that is known about his musical training and early maturity has come from his pupil Zarlino, in whose writings on music theory Willaert played a major role. According to the Dimostrationi harmoniche, Willaert went to Paris to study law at the university but, turning his attention to music, studied with Jean Mouton, then a member of the royal chapel under Louis XII and François I. Zarlino recounted an anecdote indicative of the young composer’s ability: on visiting the papal chapel during the pontificate of Leo X, Willaert found the singers performing his six-voice motet ...

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