Claudio Monteverdi was an Italian string player, composer, choirmaster, and priest. His pioneering work in the development of opera and his letters, which gives an insight into the life of Italian musicians from the era, makes him a significant historical figure. He is also considered an important transitional figure between the two important periods of music history, Renaissance and Baroque.
Gwalior-born composer Tansen, also known as Ramtanu Pandey, was an iconic figure of Hindustani classical music. Best known for his dhrupad and raga compositions, he was one of the navratnas, or nine gems, of Mughal emperor Akbar’s court. He also invented a stringed instrument named the rabab.
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina was an Italian composer who had a long-lasting influence on the evolution of secular music in Europe. He is also credited with the development of counterpoint. His life and career inspired a 2009 Italian/German music film titled Palestrina - Prince of Music.
Josquin des Prez was one of the most influential Renaissance composers. Known for his motets, masses, and chansons, he is revered as the main figure of the Franco-Flemish School. Details of his early days are vague, and he was, for a long time, mistaken as another singer, Josquin de Kessalia.
Giovanni Gabrieli was an Italian organist and composer. One of the most popular musicians of his generation, Gabrieli's works were popularized throughout Europe by his association with the prestigious Scuola Grande di San Rocco, where he was appointed as an organist.
One of the most influential 16th-century composers, Tomas Luis De Victoria had begun as a choirboy. He went to Rome on a grant from Spain’s King Philip II and later became a Catholic priest. A skilled singer and organist, too, he developed the concertato style of the Franco-Netherlandish school.
17 John Blanke
18 Jacopo Peri
Renaissance composer Jacques Arcadelt, one of the most significant figures of the Franco-Netherlandish school, is best remembered for his madrigals and his secular compositions. He was influenced by a variety of music, such as frottola and the music he heard as a choir member of the Sistine Chapel.
Adrian Willaert was a Netherlandish composer who is credited with founding the Venetian School. Apart from being remembered as a versatile composer, Willaert was also the most influential musician in Europe during his time. Also renowned for his teaching skills, Adrian Willaert taught students like Cipriano de Rore, who went on to become respected composers in their own right.
Luca Marenzio was a 16th-century Italian composer and singer active during the late Renaissance. Counted among the most renowned composers of madrigals, he composed some of the most famous examples of the form in his era. Around 500 madrigals are attributed to him. He spent most of his career in Rome and was employed by several aristocratic Italian families.
Italian traveler Pietro della Valle, known for his voyages to India and Persia, was also a talented musicologist and composer. In Baghdad, he married a Syrian Christian woman, who died in Persia. He later also touched Surat and Calicut in India. His three-volume treatise on his travels focuses on Turkey, Persia, and India.
Juan del Encina is largely regarded as one of the pioneers of Spanish drama. He had been the court poet/dramatist for the Duke of Alba. Some of his best-known works were compiled in Cancionero. His églogas often dealt with mythological themes that were previously found in the Italian works.
39 John Farmer
45 Jean Mouton
Luis de Milán was the first to publish music on the vihuela, which is a Spanish version of the lute. His best-known work remains El Maestro, which was the first in a series of books on the vihuela. Some of his works were also dedicated to King John III of Portugal.