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Adriaen Willaert

c.1490-1562. Flemish composer. A pupil of Jean Mouton, an outstanding follower of Josquin Desprez, Willaert went to Italy early in his career, like so many of his countrymen. There he was active at Rome, Ferrara, and Milan, being closely associated with the Este family. In 1527 he was elected Maestro di cappella at St. Mark's in Venice. In his compositions he strove for the utmost perfection, and exemplified the humanistic desire for complete clarity of the text. He experimented with the expressive use of chromaticism. In Venice, partly because of the placement of his choral forces in the basilica, Willaert gave special attention to writing for multiple choirs, a feature that was further developed by his successors there. He is considered the founder of a distinct Venetian school. Zarlino, the greatest theorist of the time, was his pupil, and transmitted his master's ideas in his writings. Andrea Gabrieli also studied with him, carrying on his traditions at Venice, becoming a great organist also, and the teacher of his illustrious nephew Giovanni Gabrieli. Willaert was equally important as a composer of instrumental and vocal secular music.

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