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Girolamo Cavazzoni

1525 - 1577
composed during the Renaissance period
Girolamo Cavazzoni was an important Italian composer from the 16th century who was known for his organ music and sacred vocal works. The son of composer Marco Antonio Cavazzoni, he was also an accomplished organist and one of the leading keyboard teachers of his day.



Despite some confusion that still pervades many sources, one can set, with some certainty, Cavazzoni's date of birth as occurring in the period 1524-26. He was likely born in Padua or Venice. His father Marco was a highly respected organist and composer who taught his son on the keyboard and probably the necessary skills for composition as well.



By 1542 young Girolamo was already a talented organist and composer, whose skills were widely recognized. The Venetian Senate issued a special proclamation to enable him to publish his first volume of works, which appeared the following year.



Later that same decade a second volume appeared. Cavazzoni's rather limited published output in these two books is comprised of a mixture of brilliantly-crafted works, both for organ (ricercars, canzonas, etc.) and in the sacred vocal genre (Masses, Magnificat settings, etc.). The appearance of the second volume attests not only to his rare talent and growing reputation, but confirms the composer's connections in high places: its dedicatee was Cardinal Benedetto Accolti of Ravenna. Moreover, by the 1560s, Cavazzoni had developed a friendship with the powerful duke of Mantua, Guglielmo Gonzaga.



Cavazzoni lived in Mantua from around 1565 to at least 1577. It was in that city that Cavazzoni was appointed supervisor of construction of the organ for the Church of St. Barbara during the period 1565-66. He served as organist there as well for the next twelve years or so. After 1577 there are no existing sources of information regarding the activities or whereabouts of Cavazzoni, and it is therefore believed he lived for only a short while longer. ~ Robert Cummings, Rovi
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