The Kennedy Center

de Macque Giovanni



Biography

Giovanni or Jean de Macque, was a Franco-Flemish composer of the late Renaissance and he was one of the best-known Neapolitan composers of the late 16th century.  He is called the founder of the Neapolitan school of keyboard music and was a very influential contributor in the formation of the Italian Baroque style.  He was known best for his experimentation using chromaticism.
 
He was born in Valenciennes about 1548 and as a child he was a choirboy who sang with the imperial chapel choir in Vienna. There he studied with Philippe de Monte a renowned composer of madrigals.   When his voice changed sometime around 1563 he transferred from the choir and went to study at the Jesuit College in Vienna.
 
In 1574, he traveled to Rome, where he worked a composer and as an organist at San Luigi dei Francesi, from1580 until 1581.  His compositional style during this time was primarily madrigals and he published his first book of Madrigals in Venice around 1575. He produced two books of Madrigaletti et napolitane between 1580 - 1581.  In 1584 he received special attention from the Pope who sanctioned Compagnia dei Musici di Roma, a musical group of which he was a member.
 
His musical career ultimately changed and grew when he moved to Naples in 1585.  He went to work with the Gesualdo family through the academy of Don Fabrizio Gesualdo da Venosa.  He established himself as a renowned and recognized teacher.  Some of his students were Andrea Falconieri, Francesco Lambardi, G.D. Montella, and Luigi Rossi.  While living in Naples he firmly established himself as a composer, teacher and was always being promoted.  This Franco-Flemish composer, teacher and organist made his career in Naples.  In 1590 he was named second organist to Scipione Stella at the Santa Casa dell'Annunziata.  By 1594, he had accepted the post of organist at the chapel of the Spanish Viceroy and was promoted to maestro di cappella.  He died in 1614.
 
Giovanni de Macque became a leading composer of the Neapolitan school.  He published 13 books of madrigals and other works in anthologies in addition to composing many keyboard and instrumental works.  He was greatly influenced by Gesualdo, an associate and cotemporary of his.  His body of work includes a large number of madrigals for the keyboard some of which are known today.
 Giovanni