Giovanni Gabrieli

Italian Composer and Organist (Venice c.1554-1557 – Venice, 1612)

Giovanni Gabrieli was a Venetian composer and one of the masters of the Italian Renaissance of the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

Giovanni Gabrieli was an organist at St. Mark's Cathedral. He was extremely talented, notably in the sphere of orchestration, and represents an important composer of the transition from Renaissance music to Baroque music.

Giovanni Gabrieli was the pupil of his uncle Andrea Gabrieli (an organist and composer) before going to Germany to complete his musical studies at the Bavarian court, probably with Roland de Lassus, a composer whom Andrea Gabrieli knew well and deeply respected. Giovanni Gabrieli published his uncle’s works after his death, due to the intense family and artistic bond he felt.   

Gabrieli asserted himself as a renowned composer in Europe and a respected pedagogue: he taught Heinrich Schütz. He played a key role in the development of music, innovating existing practices. He worked with several choirs, introduced instrumental parts into vocal music, used tone and developed nuance. The varied, colorful music of Giovanni Gabrieli is a testament to the splendour of life in this period of the Italian Renaissance: his grandiose music reflects the color and movement of the paintings of the time, and is typical of the Venetian style.

Six Landmark Dates in the Life of Gabrieli :

• Circa 1557: Birth of Giovanni Gabrieli
 • 1572  : Death of Giovanni's father ; the 5 children of the family were taken under the wing of their uncle Andrea Gabrieli.
 • c.1574  : Travelled to Munich where he met Roland de Lassus.
 • c.1580  : Returned to Venice where he remained until his death
 • 1585  : Won a competition to become Second Organist of the Saint Marc cathedral.
 • 12 August, 1612  : Died in Venice, where his tomb can still be found

Six Key Works by Gabrieli 

• 1575: first works appear in a service for the Duke of Bavaria.
• 1587: Concerti, collection containing 5 motets and 5 madrigals by Giovanni.
• 1590: Dialoghi musicali, collection of madrigals for 7 to 12 voices.
• 1593: Intonationi d'organo, includes 11 intonazioni for organ by Giovanni.
• 1597: Sacrae symphoniae, contains 47 motets, 14 canzoni and 2 sonatas.
• 1615: Canzoni and Sonata, a posthumous work containing 21 instrumental pieces for 4 to 22 voices.