The Kennedy Center

Andreas De Silva


A Spanish singer and composer, who was employed by Pope Leo X in Rome and from 1522 by the Duke of Mantua.  An innovative composer who was influenced by styles of his generation and was well regarded both during his life and later.  His body of work includes six masses, at least 31 motets and a chanson.

Uncertainty exists concerning his ethnicity, although it is believed he was of Spanish origin.  His early musical training was in French "court circles" and later in northern Italy. While in the employment with the Pope and the Medici family his work was highly esteemed and valued.  Several of his works, were the basis for parodies by Arcadelt, Francesco Cellavenia, Lupus Italus and Palestrina.  His most productive and creative years were 1510 thru 1530.  Along with many of his contemporaries they designed and gave creativity to a generation that combined the late 15 century Netherlands style together with the French to form a more modern style. His adaptive style made his masses distinctive showing use of chanson melodies and melodic parts and variation.  His compositions are best described as short, simple and contemporary.

His works include: Omnis pulchritudo Domini, Illumina oculos meos and Ave regina caelorum, ave domina angelorum. Only a small number still exist but are viewed as some of the best pieces of the early 16th century sacred music.
Andreas De Silva