The Kennedy Center

Giovanni Pierluigi Da Palestrina


Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina's cultural significance lies in the fact that he made the expression of his own soul the vehicle of the counter-Reformation. Born in the age of Michelangelo, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina entered into a world at war with its intellectual and religious heritage. The Renaissance and the Reformation were tearing apart the artifice of traditional European society, an edifice that the Church had so carefully constructed. Palestrina’s music, avant-garde for its day, was, in large part, a defense of the Church’s ability to modernize. Palestrina, in his capacity as the archetypal modeler of 16th century classical, crafted the essential voice of the Italian Catholic Renaissance, a confidant voice of hope and belief in man’s better nature. So profoundly influential was he that Pope Pius IV created him as the choirmaster of St. Peter’s and Composer of the Papal Chapel.
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina