Claudio Monteverdi

Claudio Monteverdi was born in 1567 in Cremona, a town in Northern Italy. During his childhood, he was taught by Marc Antonio Ingegneri, who conducted important worship services for the Roman Catholic Church. Monteverdi learned about music by joining the cathedral choir at the Cathedral of Cremona, and he soon was studying at the University of Cremona.
Monteverdi published his first compositions of secular madrigals in 1587. By then he was working for the Court of Mantua, first as a singer and violist, and by 1602 he was working as the music director. In 1613, he was appointed music director at Saint Mark’s in Venice (the most important church position in Italy).The rest of his life was devoted to music, the church (he became a priest in 1632) and his revolutionary operatic compositions.
Monteverdi’s work is often regarded as revolutionary. In his madrigals and church music, he developed individual styles of composition that had never been seen before – the new ‘basso continuo’ technique, and the heritage of Renaissance polyphony. His contribution to opera, or musical drama, was also essential for its growing popularity of the time.
His work formed a musical bridge between the 16th and 17th centuries, and the late Renaissance and early Baroque periods. He was a substantial influence to other composers of the time. Monteverdi’s works could be split into three categories, all of which are composed for voices: madrigals, church music and opera.
Monteverdi composed his first opera, L’Orfeo, at the beginning of the 1600’s. It was not the first opera to be written, but it was the first mature opera and a revolutionary stage in the history of musical drama. His second opera, L’Arianna was one of the most influential specimens of early Baroque opera, and during the last years of his life, he composed opera that contained not only tragedy and romance, but comedy (a new development in opera), and exemplified warmer melodies than had ever previously been heard.