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.


Orlando GibbonsMichael PraetoriusJohn Cooper (composer)Claudio MonteverdiThomas CampionGaspar FernandesHans Leo HasslerJohn DowlandCarlo GesualdoPhilippe RogierHeironymus PraetoriusGiovanni GabrieliThomas MorleyAlonso LoboLuca MarenzioGiovanni de MacqueTomás Luis de VictoriaLuzzasco LuzzaschiWilliam ByrdGiaches de WertAndrea GabrieliOrlande de LassusClaude Le JeuneCostanzo PortaFrancisco Guerrero (composer)Giovanni Pierluigi da PalestrinaCipriano de RoreJacob Clemens non PapaClaude GoudimelPierre de ManchicourtHans NewsidlerThomas TallisChristopher TyeCristóbal de MoralesCostanzo FestaJohn TavernerAdrian WillaertThomas CrecquillonNicolas GombertClément JanequinPhilippe VerdelotAntoine BrumelAntonius DivitisAntoine de FévinMartin AgricolaPedro de EscobarPierre de La RueJean MoutonHeinrich IsaacJosquin des PrezJacob ObrechtAlexander AgricolaLoyset CompèreAntoine BusnoisWalter FryeJohannes OckeghemGuillaume DufayGilles BinchoisJohn DunstableLeonel PowerOswald von Wolkenstein


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 c. 1375 1456
Pierre Fontaine c. 1380 c. 1450
Jacobus Vide fl. 1405? after 1433
Guillaume Legrant
fl. 1405 after 1449
John Dunstaple
(or Dunstable)
c. 1390 1453 English
Guillaume Dufay
(Guillaume Du Fay)
1397 1474
Johannes Brassart c. 1400 1455
Johannes Legrant fl. c. 1420 after 1440
Gilles Binchois
(Gilles de Bins)
c. 1400 1460
Hugo de Lantins fl. c. 1420 after 1430
Arnold de Lantins fl. 1423 1431/1432
Reginaldus Libert fl. c. 1425 after 1435
Jean Cousin before 1425 after 1475
Gilles Joye 1424/1425 1483
Guillaume le Rouge fl. 1450 after 1465
Robert Morton c. 1430 1479 English
Antoine Busnois c. 1430 1492
Adrien Basin fl. 1457 after 1498
Hayne van Ghizeghem c. 1445 after 1476
Jean-Baptiste Besard 1567 1625


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 of Polžice and Bezdružice, 1564–1621



  • Jacobus Gallus (1550–1591), 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
Pycard fl. c. 1390 after 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 c. 1370 1445
Roy Henry fl. 1410 after 1410 Very likely to be Henry V of England (1387–1422)
possibly Thomas Byttering
fl. c. 1410 after 1420
John Plummer c. 1410 c. 1483
Henry Abyngdon c. 1418 1497
Walter Frye fl. c. 1450 1474
William Horwood c. 1430 1484 Some of his music is collected in the Eton Choirbook.
John Hothby
Johannes Ottobi
c. 1430 1487 English theorist and composer mainly active in Italy.
William Hawte
William Haute
c. 1430 1497
Richard Hygons c. 1435 c. 1509
Gilbert Banester c. 1445 1487
Walter Lambe c. 1450 after 1504 Major contributor to the Eton Choirbook.
Hugh Kellyk late 15th century 16th 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
1450 1500 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
William Byrd, 1540–1623


  • Edmund Hooper (c. 1553 – 1621), also spelled Hoop; contributed to Michael East's psalter and William Leighton's Teares, and wrote some intensely expressive anthems; has two keyboard pieces in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book
  • Elway Bevin (1554–1638), possibly Welsh
  • William Inglot (1554–1621), also spelled 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 spelled Gyles
  • 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
  • William Cobbold (1560–1639), organist at Norwich Cathedral (from 1594 to 1608); a single piece by him exists in Ravenscroft's 1621 collection
  • Peter Philips (1560–1628), exiled to Flanders
  • Thomas Robinson (1560–1610)
  • 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 six-part In nomine
  • John Danyel (1564 – after 1625), also spelled Danyell; brother of the poet Samuel Daniel (spellings of the names of the two brothers differ)
  • Michael Cavendish (c. 1565 – 1628)
  • John Farmer (c. 1565 – 1605)
  • George Kirbye (c. 1565 – 1634)
  • William Leighton (c. 1565 – 1622)
  • John Hilton (1565–1609), probably father of John Hilton 'the younger' (1599–1657)
  • Francis Pilkington (c. 1565 – 1638), lutenist
  • Thomas Campion (1567–1620), also spelled Campian; the only English composer to experiment with musique mesurée, and the first to imitate the Florentine monodists
  • 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 spelled 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
  • Thomas Bateson (c. 1570 – 1630)
  • John Cooper (c. 1570 – 1626), also spelled Coperario, Coprario
  • Benjamin Cosyn (c. 1570–1652 or later), also spelled Cosin, Cosens; compiler of the manuscript Cosyn's Virginal Book
  • William Tisdale (born c. 1570), also spelled Tisdall
John Bull, 1562–1628


Orlando Gibbons, 1583–1625



  • Robert Johnson (c. 1470 – after 1554), active in England and Scotland
  • Robert Carver (1485–1570), wrote a mass on L'Homme armé (the only known by a British composer) and a nineteen-part O bone jesu
  • David Peebles (fl. c. 1530–1579)


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.[full citation needed]