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List of Renaissance composers

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List of Renaissance composers

This is a list of composers active during the Renaissance period of European history. Since the 14th century is not usually considered by music historians to be part of the musical Renaissance, but part of the Middle Ages, composers active during that time can be found in the List of Medieval composers. Composers on this list had some period of significant activity after 1400, before 1600, or in a few cases they wrote music in a Renaissance idiom in the several decades after 1600.



Guillaume Dufay, 1397–1474 and Gilles Binchois, c. 1400–1460
Gilles Joye, 1424/25–1483
The Burgundian School was a group of composers active in the 15th century in what is now northern and eastern France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, centered on the court of the Dukes of Burgundy. The school also included some English composers at the time when part of modern France was controlled by England. The Burgundian School was the first phase of activity of the Franco-Flemish School, the central musical practice of the Renaissance in Europe.
Name Born Died Notes
Johannes Tapissier
(Jean de Noyers)
c. 1370 before 1410
Nicolas Grenon 1375c. 1375 14561456
Pierre Fontaine 1380c. 1380 1450c. 1450
Jacobus Vide 1385fl. 1405? 1433after 1433
Guillaume Legrant
1385fl. 1405 1449after 1449
John Dunstaple
(or Dunstable)
1390c. 1390 14531453 English
Guillaume Dufay
(Guillaume Du Fay)
13971397 14741474
Johannes Brassart 1400c. 1400 14551455
Johannes Legrant 1400fl. c. 1420 1440after 1440
Gilles Binchois
(Gilles de Bins)
1400c. 1400 14601460
Hugo de Lantins 1410fl. c. 1420 1430after 1430
Arnold de Lantins 1413fl. 1423 14321431/1432
Reginaldus Libert 1405fl. c. 1425 1435after 1435
Jean Cousin 1415before 1425 1475after 1475
Gilles Joye 14241424/1425 14831483
Guillaume le Rouge 1430fl. 1450 1465after 1465
Robert Morton 1430c. 1430 14791479 English
Antoine Busnois 1430c. 1430 14921492
Adrien Basin 1437fl. 1457 1498after 1498
Hayne van Ghizeghem 1445c. 1445 1476after 1476
Jean-Baptiste Besard 15671567 16251625


The Franco-Flemish School refers, somewhat imprecisely, to the style of polyphonic vocal music composition in Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. See Renaissance music for a more detailed description of the style. The composers of this time and place, and the music they produced, are also known as the Dutch School. However, this is a misnomer, since Dutch (as well as The Netherlands) now refers to the northern Low Countries. The reference is to modern Belgium, northern France and the south of the modern Netherlands. Most artists were born in Hainaut, Flanders and Brabant.


Josquin des Prez, c. 1450–1521


Jacob Obrecht, 1457/58-1505
Orlande de Lassus, 1532–1594




France here does not refer to the France of today, but a smaller region of French-speaking people separate from the area controlled by the Duchy of Burgundy. In medieval times, France was the centre of musical development with the Notre Dame school and Ars nova; this was later surpassed by the Burgundian School, but France remained a leading producer of choral music throughout the Renaissance.


Claude Le Jeune, 1530–1600



Jean Maillard, c. 1510 – c. 1570
Guillaume Costeley, 1530–1606



After the Burgundian School came to an end, Italy became the leading exponent of renaissance music and continued its innovation with, for example, the Venetian and (somewhat more conservative) Roman Schools of composition. In particular the Venetian School's polychoral compositions of the late 16th century were among the most famous musical events in Europe, and their influence on musical practice in other countries was enormous. The innovations introduced by the Venetian School, along with the contemporary development of monody and opera in Florence, together define the end of the musical Renaissance and the beginning of the musical Baroque.


Zacara da Teramo, 1350/60–1413/16



Carlo Gesualdo, 1560–1613


Orazio Vecchi, 1550–1605
Jacopo Peri, 1561–1633







Diego Ortiz, c. 1510–c. 1570



  • Teodora Ginés (c. 1530 – 1598) Not to be confused with the later Cuban singer and former slave of the same name




During a period of favourable economic and political conditions at the beginning of the 16th century, Poland reached the height of its powers, when it was one of the richest and most powerful countries in Europe. It encompassed an area which included present day Lithuania and Latvia and portions of what is now Ukraine, Belarus, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Germany. As the middle class prospered, patronage for the arts in Poland increased, and also looked westward - particularly to Italy - for influences.

Considered by many musicologists as the "Golden Age of Polish music," the period was influenced by the foundation of the Collegium Rorantistarum in 1543 at the chapel in Kraków of King Sigismund the Elder. The Collegium consisted of nine singers. And although it was required that all members be Poles, foreign influence was acknowledged in the dedication of their sacred repertory, "to the noble Italian art" (Reese 1959, p. 748).


Kryštof Harant z Polžic a Bezdružic, 1564–1621



  • Jacobus Gallus (1550–1591) Slovenian. Also known as Jacob Handl. Active in Moravia and Bohemia






Oswald von Wolkenstein, 1376/77–1445


Hans Leo Hassler, 1564–1612


Michael Praetorius, c. 1571–1621




John IV of Portugal, 1603–1656


Due in part to its isolation from mainland Europe, the English Renaissance began later than most other parts of Europe. The Renaissance style also continued into a period in which many other European nations had already made the transition into the Baroque. While late medieval English music was influential on the development of the Burgundian style, most English music of the 15th century was lost, particularly during the Dissolution of the Monasteries during the time of Henry VIII. The Tudor period of the 16th century was a time of intense interest in music, and Renaissance styles began to develop with mutual influence from the mainland. Some English musical trends were heavily indebted to foreign styles, for example the English Madrigal School; others had aspects of continental practice as well as uniquely English traits. Composers included Thomas Tallis, John Dowland, Orlando Gibbons and William Byrd.


Name Born Died Notes
probably John Forest
13651365/70 14461446 Dean of Wells. One credo setting and six antiphons by him survive in the second layer of the Old Hall Manuscript; two anonymous settings may also be by him.
Pycard 1370 fl. c. 1390 1410after c. 1410 Has works preserved in the first layer of the Old Hall Manuscript and elsewhere. His identity is unclear; probably English, but possibly from France.
Leonel Power 1370c. 1370 14451445
J. Cooke
probably John Cooke
1385c. 1385 14421442? Nine pieces attributed to him in the Old Hall Manuscript.
almost certainly Thomas Damett
1389c. 1389 14361436/7 A significant contributor to the second layer of the Old Hall Manuscript where nine of his works are preserved.
Robert Chirbury 1400fl. c. 1400 c. 1400 Wrote one Agnus Dei to the Old Hall Manuscript
Roy Henry 1390fl. 1410 1410after 1410 Very likely to be Henry V of England (1387–1422).
possibly Thomas Byttering
1390fl. c. 1410 1420after 1420
N. Sturgeon
almost certainly Nicholas Sturgeon
1393fl. 1413 14541454
Richard Smert 1400c. 1400 14781478/9 Has eight carols for 2 or 3 voices attributed entirely to him in the Ritson Manuscript; a further four are jointly credited to Smert and John Trouluffe.
John Plummer 1410c. 1410 1483c. 1483
Henry Abyngdon 1418c. 1418 14971497
John Trouluffe
John Treloff
1428fl. 1448 1473c. 1473 Represented in the Ritson Manuscript, by three settings of Nesciens mater for three voices and by four carols. Richard Smert is jointly credited.
Richard Mowere
possibly the same as Richard Mawere
1430fl. 1450 1470after 1470 Has two 3-voice settings in the Ritson Manuscript.
Walter Frye 1430fl. c. 1450 14741474
William Horwood 1430c. 1430 14841484 Some of his music is collected in the Eton Choirbook.
John Hothby
Johannes Ottobi
1430c. 1430 14871487 English theorist and composer mainly active in Italy.
William Hawte
William Haute
1430c. 1430 14971497
Richard Hygons 1435c. 1435 1509c. 1509
Gilbert Banester 1445c. 1445 14871487
John Tuder
John Tudor
1450fl. c. 1470 1470after 1470 A number of his works are found in the Pepys Manuscript; the most extended piece, a setting of Lamentations, is incomplete (only one voice part is preserved).
Walter Lambe 1450c. 1450 1504after 1504 Major contributor to the Eton Choirbook.
Henry Prentyce
Harry Prentes
14501450s 15141514 Has an extant 5-voice Magnificat setting in the Caius Choirbook.
Hugh Kellyk 1460late 15th century 150116th century? has two surviving pieces, a five-part Magnificat and a seven-part Gaude flore virginali, in the Eton Choirbook.
Edmund Turges
possibly the same as Edmund Sturges
14501450 15001500 Has a number of works preserved in the Eton Choirbook; at least three Magnificat settings and two masses have been lost.



Thomas Tallis, c. 1505-1585
  • Hyett (fl. before 1548) Represented by a single work in the Gyffard partbooks
  • John Ensdale (fl. before 1548) Represented by a single work in the Gyffard partbooks
  • John Hake (fl. before 1548) Represented by a single work in the Gyffard partbooks
  • Walter Erly (16th century) Has a single work in the Peterhouse partbooks
  • Arthur Chamberlain (early 16th century) Also spelt Chamberlayne. Has a single work in the Peterhouse partbooks
  • John Ambrose (fl. 1520 to 1545) Few pieces survive
  • William Shelby (? – 1570) Also spelt Shelbye, Selby, Selbie, Selbye. Two liturgical keyboard pieces, a Miserere and Felix namque, survive in The Mulliner Book
  • Robert Okeland (fl. before 1548) Also spelt Hockland, Ockland. Represented by a single work in the Gyffard partbooks
  • Thomas Tallis (c. 1505 – 1585)
  • Christopher Tye (c. 1505 – ? 1572)
  • John Wood (fl. 1530) He is represented by a single work, an Exsurge Domine et dissipentur inimici, in the Christchurch partbooks
  • John Merbecke (also Marbeck) (c. 1510 – c. 1585) Produced the first musical setting for the English liturgy, publishing The Booke of Common Praier Noted 1549. Surviving works include a Missa Per arma iustitie Almost burnt as a heretic in 1543.
  • Osbert Parsley (1511–1585) Also spelt Parsely Wrote a set of Lamentations for Holy Week
  • E. Strowger (fl. early 16th century) Only a single piece for keyboard, a Miserere in a British Museum MS, can be attributed to him
  • Thomas Knyght (fl. 1530 to 1535) Presumably also spelt Knight. Has a single work in the Peterhouse partbooks, and three works in the Gyffard partbooks
  • Philip Alcocke (fl. before 1548) Represented by a single work in the Gyffard partbooks
  • John Sheppard (c. 1515 – 1559)
  • John Thorne (died 1573) Exsultabunt sancti in a British Museum MS
  • Edward Kyrton (fl. 1540 to 1550) Miserere for keyboard in a British Museum MS
  • John Black (c. 1520 – 1587)
  • Thomas Caustun (c. 1520/1525–1569), or Causton
  • John Blitheman (c. 1525 – 1591)
  • Richard Wynslate (died 1572) Also spelt Wynslade. His keyboard piece Lucem tuamis in a British Museum MS
  • Henry Stenings (fl. before 1548 – after 1600) Also spelt Stonninge, Stoninge, Stoninges, Stoning, Stonings. Surviving consort works on MS are three five-part works - a Miserere, a Browning and an In Nomine - and a simpler, four-part In Nomine. A four-part Latin Magnificat is found in the Gyffard partbooks
  • Richard Allwood (fl. c. 1550–1570) Also spelt Alwood
  • Richard Edwardes (1525–1566) Also spelt Edwards
  • Hugh Sturmys (16th century) Has a single work in the Peterhouse partbooks
  • Thomas Wright (16th century) Also spelt Wrighte. He is represented by a single work in the Gyffard partbooks, a Nesciens mater
  • Thomas Whythorne (1528–1595)
  • William Mundy (1529–1591) Father of John Mundy His output includes fine examples of both the large-scale Latin votive antiphon and the short English anthem, as well as Masses and Latin psalm settings; his style is vigorous and eloquent. He is represented in The Mulliner Book and in the Gyffard partbooks.
  • Robert Parsons (c. 1535 – 1572) Latin music includes antiphons, Credo quod redemptor, Domine quis habitabit, Magnificat and Jam Christus astra. Also three responds from the Office of the Dead, songs (including Pandolpho), In nomine settings for ensemble, and a galliard.
  • John Heath (16th century) Contributed a Morning and Communion Service to Day's Certaine Notes, of 1560. Probably the composer of a Christe qui lux for keyboard in MS, ascribed to 'Heath'
  • Robert White (1538–1574) Also spelt Whyte
  • Clement Woodcock (1540–1590) Also spelt Woodcoke, Woodecock. His Browning my dear is one of several pieces of the period based on a popular tune, also known as The leaves be green
  • John Cuk (16th century) An extant mass on Venit dilectus meus in the York MS
  • William Byrd (c. 1540 – 1623)
  • Richard Hunt (16th century) Has two works in the Peterhouse partbooks
  • Anthony Holborne (c. 1545 – 1602) Also known as Olborner
  • John Johnson (c. 1545 – 1594)
  • Thomas Woodson (d. ? 1605) Forty Wayes of 2 pts. in one is found in a British Museum MS, canonic settings of Miserere
  • Thomas Warrock (fl. 1580–1590) Also spelt Warrocke, Warwick. Two pieces in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, Nos. 97-8
  • John Baldwin (before 1560–1615)
  • John Cosyn (died 1609) Published Musicke of six, and five partes in 1585
  • Edward Martyn (16th century) Has a single work in the Peterhouse partbooks
  • John Northbrooke (16th century) Has a single work in the Peterhouse partbooks
  • Picforth (fl. c. 1580) An In nomine survives in MS, unusual in that each instrumental part consists of notes of only one time-value throughout, the values differing in each of the five parts
  • Poynt (fl. c. 1580) Works survive in manuscript
  • Thomas Oldfield(?) His Praeludium is No. 49 in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book
  • Jehan Oystermayre (?) Almost certainly German origin. Represented in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book
  • Francis Cutting (1550-1595/1596)
William Byrd, 1540–1623


  • John Marchant (? – 1611) There survive a Pavan in a Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge MS, an Allemanda in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, No. 187; The Marchants Dream in a MS in the British Museum, and a Pavan and Galliard in another British Museum MS.
  • Richard Martin (fl. c. 1610) His only surviving song Change they mind since she doth change was included in Robert Dowland's A Musicall Banquet of 1610
  • Thomas Fardyng (16th century) Three rounds in a British Museum MS (MS 31922)
  • Edward Collard (d. c. 1600?)
  • Edmund Hooper (c. 1553 – 1621) Also spelt Hoop. He contributed to Michael East's psalter and William Leighton's Teares, and wrote some intensely expressive anthems. He has two keyboard pieces in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book
  • Elway Bevin (1554–1638) Possibly Welsh
  • William Inglot (1554–1621) Also spelt Inglott. Two keyboard pieces in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book; there is also an untitled keyboard piece by 'Englitt' in a MS in the British Museum
  • John Mundy (c. 1555 – 1630) Son of William Mundy. Published a volume of Songs and Psalms in 1594, contributed to the Triumphs of Oriana, composed English and Latin sacred music, and is represented with five pieces in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book. His Goe from my window variations are a particularly fine example of the genre
  • Thomas Morley (1557/1558–1603)
  • Nathaniel Giles (c. 1558 – 1634) Also spelt Gyles
  • Matthew Jeffries (c. 1558 – c. 1615)
  • Ferdinando Richardson (1558–1618) Also known as Sir Ferdinando Heybourne. There survives a keyboard Pavan and Galliard, each with variation, in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book
  • Richard Carlton (1558–1638)
  • Richard Allison (c. 1560/1570–before 1610)
  • William Brade (1560–1630) Active in Denmark and Germany
  • James Harding (c. 1560 – 1626) Also spelt Jeames Harden. Two keyboard fantasias, possibly arrangements, in a British Museum MS; a setting by William Byrd of a Gagliarda in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book. Galiard by 'Mr. James' in Berlin State Library
  • Peter Philips (1560–1628) Exiled to Flanders
  • Thomas Robinson (1560–1610)
  • Robert Hales (fl. 1583–1616) His only surviving song O Eyes, leave off your weeping was included in Robert Dowland's A Musicall Banquet of 1610.
  • John Bull (1562–1628) Exiled to the Netherlands
  • John Dowland (1563–1626)
  • Giles Farnaby (c. 1563 – 1640)
  • John Milton (c. 1563 – 1647) Father of the poet John Milton. Composed madrigals, one of which was printed in The Triumphs of Oriana, as well as anthems, Psalm settings, a motet, and some consort music including a 6-part In nomine
  • John Danyel (1564 – after 1625) Also spelt Danyell. Brother of the poet Samuel Daniel (spellings of the names of the two brothers differ).
  • Mallory (fl. c. 1580) Works survive in MS
  • Michael Cavendish (c. 1565 – 1628)
  • John Farmer (c. 1565 – 1605)
  • George Kirbye (c. 1565 – 1634)
  • William Leighton (c. 1565 – 1622)
  • Leonard Woodson (c. 1565 – 1641), wrote verse anthems (nine are published in John Barnard’s First Book of Selected Church Musick, 1641). Other surviving pieces include instrumental consort works (four In Nomines a 5) and Mall Sims.
  • John Hilton (1565–1609) Probably father of John Hilton 'the younger' (1599–1657)
  • Francis Pilkington (c. 1565 – 1638) Lutenist
  • Thomas Campion (1567–1620) Also spelt Campian. The only English composer to experiment with musique mesurée and the first to imitate the Florentine monodists
  • Edward Gibbons (1568 – c. 1650) Brother of Orlando Gibbons
  • Richard Gibbs (1568 – c. 1650) Also known as R. Gibbs. 'Allmaine' and 'Corant' in a Christ Church, Oxford MS
  • Philip Rosseter (c. 1568 – 1623)
  • Tobias Hume (c. 1569 – 1645) Responsible for the earliest known use of col legno in Western music
  • Nicholas Strogers (fl. 1560–1575) Also spelt Strowger, Strowgers. Three (probably four) keyboard pieces in a Christ Church, Oxford, manuscript, and a Fantasia in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book (No. 89); an In nomine exists in a Bodleian manuscript
  • Edward Blancks (fl. c. 1590–1620) Also spelt Blanke, Blanks, Blanckes
  • Thomas Bateson (c. 1570 – 1630)
  • John Cooper (c. 1570 – 1626) Also spelt Coperario, Coprario
  • Benjamin Cosyn (c. 1570–1652 or later) Also spelt Cosin, Cosens. Compiler of the manuscript Cosyn's Virginal Book
  • William Tisdale (b. c. 1570) Also spelt Tisdall
  • Henry Lichfild (died 1613) Madrigalist
John Bull, 1562–1628


Orlando Gibbons, 1583–1625



  • John Lloyd (c. 1480 – 1523) Welsh. Also spelt Lloidd, Floyd. Active in England. Works include the complex Mass on O quam suavis
  • Philip ap Rhys (fl. 1545–1560) Probably Welsh. Also spelt Ryce


See also

There is considerable overlap near the beginning and end of this era. See lists of composers for the previous and following eras:


  • Reese. 1959.
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