The Kennedy Center

Alfonso Ferrabosco the younger


Alfonso Ferrabosco the Younger was an English composer and viol player of Italian descent. His music spans the Renaissance and Baroque eras.  Bekieved to be born in 1575, he was the oldest son of Alfonso Ferrabosco the Elder, an admired Italian composer who had a great influence on English music.  Deserted by his father and left in the care of the court of Queen Elizabeth I, he was cared for by another one of her musicians, Gomer Van Awsterwyke. Van Awsterwyke never received any financial help from the boy father.  Only after the death of his father did the Queen provide assistance for the son's education and a living allowance. Ferrabosco the Younger remained with Gomer van Awsterwyke until van Awsterwyke died in 1592.  At this time he started a long career as a court musicianand as the private music tutor. 
Ferrabosco the Younger was appointed as a viol player in the court of Queen Elizabeth I and 12 years later served as a private instructor for James I's elder son. As a music teacher to the Crown Prince, the King provided a generous wage.  Also during this time, Ferrabosco the Younger began composing masques for the royal court.  He wrote seven by 1611.  He also published two successful books, a book of airs and Lessons for 1, 2, and 3 Viols.
Ferrabosco the Younger was a celebrated as performer and composer of court masques.   But it was his music-making in the private rooms where he composed four-part fantasias, works that were markedly distinct from the madrigal style that influenced so many English composers after the wave of Italian music introduced by his father.  He married Ellen Lanier who was from a family of artists and musicians. Among their seven children, all three of sons became musicians.  His last job before his death was as Composer of Music in Ordinary and Composer of Music to the King.  When Ferrabosco the Younger died in 1628, his son was named instructor to the royal children and became Composer of the King's Music and King's Musician just like his father.
Alfonso Ferrabosco the younger