Willaert, Adrian



Authorities differ as to the date and place of his birth, but it is generally believed to have been in 1480 at Bruges, Flanders. He entered a law school in Paris, but later gave up this study for that of music, Jean Mouton and Josquin Depres were his teachers. In 1516 he went to Rome, but received no appointment there. He had begun his work of composition before this date, for it is recorded he found there a motet of his own being performed, but credit for its composition given to another. After living for a time at Ferrara, then at the Court of Ludwig II. of Bohemia and Hungary, he was appointed chapelmaster of St. Mark's, Venice. Willaert is considered the founder of the Venetian school of composition. He established a school in Venice which under his guidance and inspiration produced such distinguished musicians as Constanzo Porta, Cypriano di Rore, Andrea Gabrieli and the great theorist, Zarlino. Willaert stamped his individuality upon the music of his time by his method of writing for two choirs, suggested to him by the two organs of St. Mark's. He was a prolific composer and a great number of his works are extant, among them several books of motets, a book of five masses, many collections of vesper psalms, madrigals, etc., and several single compositions may be found in collections published by his contemporaries. Willaert died in Venice.