- Palestrina, Giovanni Pierluigi da (b ?Palestrina, ?3 February, 1525 - d Rome, 2 February, 1594)
- Palestrina was a pupil of Mallapert and Firmin Lebel at Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome, where he was a choirboy from (at least) 1537. He became organist of Sante Agapite, Palestrina, in 1544, and in 1547 he married Lucrezia Gori there; they had three children. Following the Bishop of Palestrina's election as pope (Julius III) he was appointed maestro di cappella of the Cappella Guilia in Rome (1551), where he issued his first works; during 1555 he also sang in the Cappella Sistina. Two of Rome's greatest churches then procured him as maestro di cappella, St John Lateran (1555-60), and Santa Maria Maggiore (1561-6), and in 1564, Cardinal Ippolito d'Este engaged him to oversee music at his Tivoli estate. From 1566 he also taught music at the Seminario Romano, before returning to the Cappella Giulia as maestro in 1571.
During the 1560s and 1570s, Palestrina's fame and influence increased rapidly through his published works. His reputation was so great that in 1577 he was asked to rewrite the church's main plainchant books, following the Council of Trent's guidelines. His most well know mass, Missa Papae Marcelli, may have been composed to satisfy the council's requirements for musical cogency and textual intelligibility. He was always in tune with the Counter-Reformation spirit; after his wife's death in 1580 he considered taking holy orders, but instead married a year later. His second wife was Virginia Dormoli, the widow of a wealthy fur merchant, and it was through his investments in her business that his financial strains were eased, and his last years at St Peter's were amongst his most productive.
Palestrina ranks alongside Lassus and Byrd as one of the greatest Renaissance masters. He was a prolific composers of masses, motets, and other sacred works as well as madrigals. In his sacred music he assimilated and refined his predecessors' polyphonic techniques to produce a seamless texture with all voices perfectly balanced. The nobility and restraint of his most expressive works established the almost legendary reverence that has long surrounded his name and helped set him as the classic model of Renaissance polyphony.